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JPR Feature
An Active Senior Citizen   
Monday May 16, 2005
By Marjorie O'Harra

Welcome to As It Was: Tales from the State of Jefferson

These days, active senior citizens abound. We think nothing of them flying airplanes, running marathons and living healthy, productive lives well into their 80s and beyond.

But in 1946, Stella Patterson did something remarkable even by today's standards; and downright amazing for her time.

Stella was an author living in San Francisco where she enjoyed concerts, lectures, parties-the refinements of city life. One day, she decided she would leave it all to spend a year in a cabin on her mining claim along the Klamath River in the Siskiyou Mountains of northern California. Stella Patterson was 80 years old.

Life alone in a remote cabin meant taking chances. There were terrible storms, rattlesnakes, and an encounter with a mountain lion. But there were also wonderful experiences with the changing seasons, the garden flowers, good neighbors in the hills, and endearing characters-like Frenchie, a garlic-nibbling, book-reading fellow of questionable background, and Millicent, a little Karok Indian girl who loved to read Emily Post.

At the end of her year-on her eighty-first birthday-Stella concluded that she wanted to continue this good life close to the soil, and so she stayed on, eventually writing a book about her experiences titled Dear Mad'm (madame).

Today's episode of As It Was was written by Marjorie O'Harra, the program engineer is Raymond Scully.  I'm Shirley Patton. As It was is a co-production of JPR and the Southern Oregon Historical Society.  To Share stories or learn more about the series visit asitwas - dot- org

"Dear Mad'm" by Stella Patterson

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