Loretta: Make a Change

Loretta. Faces of the Festival 2019. Steven Meckler photo

I grew up in New York City, on the Lower East Side of the village. Sunday was Washington Square. I went to school with Mary Travis of Peter, Paul, and Mary. Josh White and Belafonte used to come—we’d all sit and sing folk songs. I lived a sheltered life—all girls grade school, all girls high school. You were either a teacher or a nurse in those days. Neither one appealed to me. So I joined the Air Force. I was in the Air Force for three years, got married, and started a family. I’m a mom of six adult children who all have jobs. I have a retired Marine Corps Brigadier General. I have a retired Master Sergeant in the Air Force. Two girls in California. One daughter does costuming, fittings, works with all the fashion houses. I’m running to keep up. I was married once for 16 years to a military man. I was Harriet Housewife. My children used to tell their teachers, ‘My mom’s not doing anything. She’ll be the room mother!’ So in Hawaii, I was in room mother for four rooms and I went on every field trip imaginable. You make cookies, cupcakes, the whole nine yards. When I was no longer Harriet Housewife, I had to get out and get a job. I had fantastic jobs, worked for the government, retired from NASA. I was the assistant to the office manager at Vandenberg and saw lots of launches. The director used to come from the cape and bring guests for the launch and introduce people and say, ‘This is Loretta. She runs this place.’ Since I retired from NASA in California, I volunteer. My son-in-law calls me a serial volunteer. I’m here as a VISTA Corps, AmeriCorps volunteer. I was at the Texas Homeless Network, in Victoria, Texas. Before that, I volunteered at the USO Lounge in San Antonio. In August, I was 82. You can’t hit a moving target. I still have my health—you know, a few things—but I’m still moving. People don’t understand they need to get out and do stuff and give back instead of complaining and saying, ‘Oh poor me’ or ‘Poor them.’ Make a change.

-Loretta

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