Transitions is the poetry book she wrote almost two years ago. At 93, LaBerta Altermatt is going through more transitions in her life. Her dear friend, Jim is acting as her caregiver. If you know LaBerta, you know that she’s been independent, spunky, and a “Hot Rod” most of her life and allowing someone to take care of her is probably the most challenging transition she’s had.
Recently I took a friend of mine for a visit with LaBerta and Jim. LaBerta greeted us from the deck with Jim, where she was wearing a Hot Rod magazine ball cap. Only LaBerta.
The visit was as wonderful for us, as it was for LaBerta. As I listened to the banter, debate, and conversation happening between the three of them, I witnessed a visible change in LaBerta – the woman I met, admired, and fell in love with began to return. I saw a spark in her eye, watched her kick Jim and grin, and heard Classic LaBerta laughter. I realized that it wasn’t the stroke that quieted LaBerta’s spirit, but it was the lack of conversation, intellectual challenge, opportunities to flirt, and most of all – laughter. How wonderful to see that the damage to her spirit was not permanent and that friendship, conversation, and entertainment is all that she needs.
Where the Wildflowers Grow by Donna DuCrest. Performed in LaBerta’s home.
My friend enjoyed her time with LaBerta so much that she returned the following day. She purchased LaBerta’s book (available at Virgin Goods & Books in Virgin and the Park House Cafe in Springdale, Utah), then headed to Apple Valley, where she visited with LaBerta and Jim again. Both my friend and LaBerta reported back that the visit was enjoyable.
LaBerta recently turned 93. Can you imagine what history she holds? A self-proclaimed “lapsed Mormon,” born in Hurricane, Utah. A gardener, teacher, poet, and artist. Her poetry book, Transitions includes photos of her sculptures and paintings and can be purchased ($12 or 15?) through Virgin Goods. Their phone number is 435.635.7730 and have a Facebook Fan Page – Virgin Goods. I’m sure they would be able to mail the book to you, as the post office is located in the same building.
The video was taken at LaBerta’s home in January 2011, when friends gathered to share in conversation, a potluck, and music. Donna DuCrest wrote the song, Where the Wildflowers Grow. LaBerta has known Donna since she was a teen.