Dream Big: Doris Had a Dream

Date: Dec, 7 2022

Doris had a dream... and her dream was to share her wonderful artwork with the world. Adoray’s Hospice Volunteer, Leann, helped her with that dream and interviewed Doris about her artwork. Doris was proud of her lifelong accomplishments and was happy to describe her creations. It brought back memories for Doris, and she often laughed while telling stories. The two began their life review by going through paintings, prints, and photos that she had saved in her apartment - talking excitedly about each one. Leann asked Doris questions about her artwork along the way and below is a small account of the special conversation these two friends shared.

Doris has been blessed with an interesting life. She grew up in Bay City, attended school, and graduated from Ellsworth High School. Afterward, she married Cashmere Gardas and had three children with him. Years later, she cared for Cashmere during a five-year journey with Parkinson’s, which included hospice care.

Doris also was lucky to have many different jobs during her lifetime. She lived in Alaska as a new bride and worked at a photography studio in a dark room. Doris said, “In the winter it was dark going to work, dark at work, and dark going home.” Doris also worked many years at Red Wing Pottery and Jostens in Red Wing.

Beyond work and family life, she golfed, sang, and painted for entertainment. She also was a dedicated community volunteer. Doris received an award in 2007 from the Bay City American Legion for her work in helping the Post with fundraising. Her husband Cashmere had been in the Army. One of her biggest accomplishments at the local Legion was putting on a chicken feed for five years. She recalled preparing the chicken with buttermilk and batter and frying them on a giant cast iron pan that fit on top of four burners. Additionally, Doris was voted the Most Admired Senior Citizen Award in Pierce County in 2010 at the Pierce County Fair. She was nominated for all her accomplishments including her fundraising for the American Legion, her help with the Brown Field in Hager City, and her painting.

During their conversation, Leann asked Doris, “When did you start to draw?” Doris shared her memory of how it began:

“I’ve been drawing for as long as I can remember. When I was in first grade, I was scolded for drawing in the margins of my workbook,” Doris commented.

The teacher said, “You’re supposed to do your math.”

Doris replied, “I don’t want to do math. I want to draw.”

She loved to draw during high school, also, but took her first real art class when her daughter went to college in River Falls. Doris wanted something to do and registered herself for an art class at the college. She was the oldest in the group. Paintings were critiqued by the other students, and she was told by a student that hers looked like a “paint-by-number.”

The fellow student stated to Doris, “Well, I could never paint horses.”

Doris said, “I should have told him to take a paint-by-number class, but I didn’t.” Doris even shared with Leann the notes that she still had from her first painting class.

Leann asked Doris, “What do you like to paint most?”

Doris excited answered, “Oh I love nature!”

Doris created paintings from memory and photographs - she would take her camera wherever she went. She shared, “My husband loved to hunt ducks and deer, any wildlife, so I went with him with my camera and took pictures.” Doris would look at something and say, “That’s going to be a painting!” Her paintings include landscapes, rainbows, waterfalls, bridges, flowers, and animals of all kinds.

Leann asked Doris, “What did you use to paint?” Doris replied that she used canvas for acrylic paint and paper for watercolor drawings.

Doris also loved to explore the woods with an ax and hammer to get shelf mushrooms. Bringing them home, she cleaned and baked them to get rid of insects, otherwise the worms would eat right through her paintings. She painted creations on the mushrooms, adding a wood, bark, or pinecone base. She sold her works at art shows, mostly recalling the Red Wing Art Show held in early October.

She also often gave away drawings to family, friends, or for fundraisers. During Leann’s visits, Doris’ daughter-in-law showed four beautiful pencil drawings of her children as infants (Doris’ grandchildren) that the artist gifted them.

Leann asked Doris, “What or who inspired you most as an artist?”

Doris responded, “Oh probably the other artists at the art shows. I would love to walk through the shows myself and enjoy the beauty and talent of the other artists.”

Leann asked Doris, “Which painting is your favorite and why?”

“The painting of the bridge and water with the winter scene because it reminds me of the Trimbelle River by Hager City where I lived,” she answered. Another favorite of Doris’ was the painting of her grandson blowing bubbles. Doris loved painting Red Wing because she felt it was so picturesque. She has a frame of several old watercolor drawings of Red Wing, including the old bridge across the Mississippi River. Doris’ favorite paintings are on her wall, facing her easy chair in her apartment.

Doris and Leann finished out their afternoon singing Amazing Grace. Doris has a beautiful voice and sang the Silvertones in Red Wing for a number of years.

As they wrapped up the interview, Doris’ daughter-in-law laughed and said, “I could tell you more stories.” Doris replied quickly, “I’ll pay you not to.”

It was a wonderful afternoon of sharing memories for Adoray Hospice patient Doris and Leann. As a Hospice Volunteer, Leann is an integral part of Doris’ Hospice Care team. Leann visits weekly and the ladies have become friends who sing together, chat, and watch TV.

Through Adoray’s Dream Big and Hospice Programs, special moments like these are possible. Adoray’s Dream Big program gives gifts of hope that inspire good memories and enhance the emotional, social, and spiritual health of our patients and their loved ones. Adoray is committed to honoring our most cherished generation in their final days, helping dreams come true through incredible experiences that our patients and their families will never forget.

Personal touches like this are why more families have turned to Adoray Hospice for over 27 years. Our certified team exceeds state and national benchmarks in quality hospice care – striving to create an experience that is uniquely personal to your loved one’s story.

Click to read the full article in the Newspap

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