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On cleaning for spring and meeting new people

Vivian Herron, Columnist
ALL | GrassValleyArchive

Washington gets prettier by the week, doesn’t it? I always breathe a sigh of relief, feel a bit victorious when spring rolls around: “Whew! Made it through another winter!”

I celebrated spring by painting all my kitchen cabinets the same color and washing down the outside of my fridge. I think that’s more than enough improvements for this year.



I met some Bigtowners a few weeks ago when I took Coral to that restaurant on Main Street that has the best root beer in the world. She was pretending to play a video game when a young woman came over with another little girl and treated them both to a game or two, which I thought was very nice indeed.




That was Heather Christopulou, 18, and her 4-year-old niece Ashley. Right now Heather is working at Subway and attending Nevada Union Adult Education – she’ll graduate next month. Her long-term goal is to be a kindergarten teacher, and I do believe she will make it. When she spoke of going on to Sierra College, I could see the look of determination in her eyes.

Ashley’s mom is Cheryl Houchin, back in Nevada County for a fresh start and rarin’ to go. She, too, was working in a local restaurant and looking for a job in her field as an automotive service adviser.

Then I turned to Mom to compliment her on her beautiful daughters, and she turned out to be grandma Dolores Houchin, taking all her favorite ladies out to lunch. She was a military wife (husband is Berlin, accent on the first syllable) and moved with him about every three years during his career.

Yeah, we’re strolling through Littletown and I’m talkin’ about Bigtown, and that’s the way it goes sometimes.

I’m not much for joining clubs and organizations and such, but last Tuesday I visited a group called Grandparents and Relatives Who Are Raising Children. I figured these people were organized and pulled together, and I could learn something from them.

When I came in, everybody was calm and quiet and courteous, listening to one member discuss a problem with her granddaughter.

I could’ve sworn I saw steam coming out of her ears. I looked around the table: a neighbor was grinding his teeth, several people were rather wild-eyed, and two others were nodding rapidly with sympathy. Yes, they were definitely in the middle of raising more children.

As the discussion moved here and there, I wanted to leap onto the table and scream, “I know what you’re going through! We’ve been there! Done that! We get to do it all over again! Yippety-dip!” But I remained in my seat, smiling serenely through a gentle fog of newly prescribed, double-whammy Prozac.

It’s Sappy Time again, so go get a snack or check the obituaries or something.

I met some truly unsung heroes Tuesday morning. They’re busy saving a kid’s (or several kids’) life literally 24/7, and at a time in their lives when they’re no longer young, slender and lithe. What they do have in abundance is strength, wisdom and patience.

Only one person there was griping about the situation, and I’m ashamed to say it was me. Not another soul had a word of complaint about what they were doing for their grandchildren and yes, great-grandchildren.

If you’re rowing the same boat or know someone who is, please call 478-6400, ext. 210, and talk to the moderator of these meetings, Mary Jane Ryan-Connelly. Find out when the next get-together is. The people there are warm, funny, upbeat and welcoming – and it’ll do you good.

Vivian Herron is a longtime resident of the town of Washington whose column appears on Saturdays. You can write her in care of The Union, 464 Sutton Way, Grass Valley, 95945.


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