15 Jun Seniors in Action – Dolores Nash
Marilee Marrero Stefenhagen
Former County of LA Public Library Administrator is having the time of her life as a retiree; meeting fascinating people who are active seniors, and volunteering for Soroptimist International of Norwalk and other women’s groups.
Senior in Action – Dolores Nash
as told to Marilee Marrero Stefenhagen
Dolores: “My last name is Nash, spelled just like the classic car. I once drove a 1941 Nash, the model that had a pull-down bed in the back seat, and used it for weekend trips to Mammoth. In my home, there’s a framed photo of a 1931 Nash, the year I was born. I call myself an “April fool” because I was born on April 1st. As an Aries, I love to try new things and appreciate diversity, cultural arts, and exploring new areas from mountains to beaches.”
“My life has been blessed with many special and interesting friends. Somehow, I never found the love of my life, so I never married. I‘ve taken many college classes to pursue special interests but didn’t complete a college degree. Once,I was offered a scholarship to become a teacher, but decided it was not the career for me. I was in a hurry to get into the workforce and make money. I worked as an Executive Assistant for the President of many companies, including Architectural Digest, and for executives in the music business. I’ve never held a boring job; I don’t DO boring. I retired from a CPA firm at age 65, but helped out part-time off and on. For over a decade, I worked on charity events with a friend. We participated in silent auctions, selling his beautiful antique and estate jewelry and raising money for many causes.”
Q: Tell me about early influences in your life.
Dolores: “I was born in Montreal, Canada and most of my family still lives there. My mother emigrated from Spain; a bit of a flapper with lots of class. Mom was a very good dancer, so I lean towards my Spanish side. Dad is English/Scottish. They enrolled my brother and me in Catholic schools so we had twelve years with the nuns. I’m grateful for the academics, especially the love of languages they instilled in me while learning Latin and French in high school. This led to my annual habit of attending the French and Italian film festivals hosted by the Director’s Guild.”
“I left Canada at age 24. While vacationing in Maine, I met a young woman seeking a companion for a road trip from Boston to San Diego. I thought I’d just get a green card and stay for a while; however, I lived in San Diego for a year, then relocated to Los Angeles permanently. I haven’t been to Montreal for 2 ½ years because of the pandemic, but I used to make annual trips home. I had one brother, a cancer survivor who passed away in August. He is survived by 3 wonderful daughters and a son. I enjoy my role as great-Aunt, and great-great-Aunt to his grandchildren and great-grandchildren.”
“I LOVE road trips! I’ve visited all but five U.S. states. Drove down the entire eastern seaboard, and traversed America three times. It’s such fun to taste unique regional recipes and visit little out-of-the-way museums or shops. I flew to NYC almost every year for the theaters, parks and restaurants. I love the Metropolitan Museum of Art and went each time I was in Manhattan. My global travels included Bangkok and Phuket in Thailand; Barcelona, Madrid and Majorca in Spain; Paris, France; and a cruise on the Danube River. The only problem with the river cruise was time ran too short in each city. I ‘d have liked to spend a week rather than just hours in Vienna and Prague.”
Q: What part of Los Angeles do you call home now?
Dolores: “I live in West Hollywood in a lovely area near the Sunset Strip in a rent-controlled apartment. I just turned 91 and have friends in their 80s and 90s who are still driving and still have their “marbles.” So far, I have nothing to complain about health-wise. I’m too stubborn to get sick! I love word games, and sometimes beat my cousin who was head of Mathematics Department at the National Security Agency.”
“I’m very active with the Assistance League in Los Angeles. Its been a pleasure to serve on various committees over the past 5 years; preparing backpacks for thousands of homeless and foster children, packaging hygiene kits, and raising funds for scholarships. assistance League friends have been a godsend; they’re the most wonderful group of women, providing hands-on service. I believe in giving back.”
“The highlight of my years in Los Angeles was serving on the Citizen’s Advisory Commission during the 1984 Summer Olympics. I met athletes and delegates from all over the world. I’ll never forget seeing Princess Anne in a yellow dress at the swim meets held at USC. I was hostess for Lord and Lady Cleves from Ireland; an unforgettable, fabulous experience!”
Q: Do you have any remaining “To-Dos” on your bucket list?
Dolores: “I want to visit Italy. I connected with an author who wrote about a 17-year-old boy who saved Jewish lives by taking people over the mountains during WW II. That teen became a ski instructor at Mammoth, and I took skiing lessons from him. After decades, I was able to reach him at his home in Italy and chatted on the phone for a long time. Actor Tom Holland will portray him in an upcoming movie. Life is full of coincidences!”
Q: Any advice you’d like to share with other seniors?
Dolores: “I have lots of advice! I’m 91 years old with no memory problems. Stimulate your brain– I read NY Times bestselling books and do daily crossword puzzles. Keep moving– It helps to be blessed with good health. One key is ANTICIPATION; plan new things so you have something important to look forward to doing. Stay busy and enjoy life-Visit a museum or art show, tour gardens, or try new restaurants. Find a passion- Right now, mine is volunteering with the Assistance League and working with children. Be positive -People find me to be a positive person. Life’s too short to waste time with complainers and pessimists. Spend time at the beach -They say the ocean is the best place to recuperate. It’s good for the body and soul.”