On Saturday the Delta Historical Museum hosted a tribute to two sisters for their many contributions to the community.
Nellie Clark and Sula Mathews have lived in Delta since 1932 where they have spent a lifetime of community service -- at the library, the schools, the church, and a variety of other worthy causes. This week Nellie turns 97 -- her younger sister is only 89.
The sisters married and had families, but their husbands are now dead and most of the kids moved away. So the two decided to live together in a house designed by Nellie to accommodate their diverse interests. They each have a separate apartment, including kitchens and sitting rooms, but they share a living room and deck looking out toward Grand Mesa. The unique arrangement has allowed them to get along for more than 20 years.
As Sula explains, “The reason we live the way we do is because she’s a perfectionist, and I’m not. I always had my things the way I wanted them, and she had hers. And it’s worked well until I got so I had to have help. So when she started helping me…she just thinks her way…and that’s why we were living different so we’d never go through this. And so we both grit our teeth and try to do the best for each other.”
Nellie’s four daughters and Sula’s daughter and son attended the event. Jim Matthews remembered his mom and aunt’s long history of trying to improve things.
“I remember when I was a little kid, they were in the BBC club, the Build a Better Community Club, that they started,” says Mathews. “So as long as I remember, they were doing stuff for the community.”
Nellie talked to a friend about the volunteer work she still does at Delta Memorial Hospital. “I fell and I broke some bones in my back,” she said. “And I hadn’t gone back, I couldn’t get up and down much. But I’ve gone back the last three weeks. I found me a spot that wasn’t very hard work.”
A friend of Nellie's asks her if she still walks out there. “I seen you out there one day,” she says. “I seen you go out the front door, you had your little cart behind you and away you went.”
Nellie responds, “I push that thing – it has one wheel that must be wrong because it won’t go straight. It goes this way or that way. Actually, you have to allow for it. To go in a straight line you have to push it crooked.”
Trying to go straight by pushing it crooked, I’m Marty Durlin for KVNF News.