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VILLAGE MEMBER STORIES

Getting to know Monika Parker of Lee, NH

How long have you lived on the Seacoast and where are you from originally?

My husband and I and our children moved here from Ann Arbor, Michigan in 1982. The United States was not my first home. I was born in Germany to German parents. I was raised in Breslau, but when I was five years old the Russian army invaded. My father had been drafted into the navy, so my mother and I fled on foot. We caught overcrowded trains in confusing conditions to Coburg, where we settled down. When I was nineteen, I met an American army officer there, and after three years, we married and moved to the United States to raise our family.

What did you do before retirement?

My education was in languages and business, and I love young people, so I became a teacher on the Seacoast. I was adjunct professor of German at UNH, taught German and French at schools in Portsmouth, Durham, Newmarket, NH and in Kittery and York, ME. For fun, my family and I did lots of sailing. I enjoyed karate, scuba diving and singing in choirs. My interests are broad: opera, classical music and jazz. I still write poetry and paint. Two longtime interests are the Middle East and Native American cultures.

Why are you considering being a Village member?

A couple of friends thought I might find it useful. I want to stay in my own home as I grow old. My husband died three years ago and I do well living alone. I’m active, healthy and very independent. I belong to a supportive church. I love the programs of the Active Retirement Association in Durham. Since the pandemic began, I miss the book group I belonged to through SAACC (Portsmouth’s Seacoast African-American Cultural Center). I’m not sure if the Village is for me, but I’m exploring what it has to offer.

What aspects of being a Village member do you find most appealing?

So far I’ve attended a few virtual events and especially enjoyed a marvelous presentation on Martin Luther King. I’d like to get help with computer technology. It would be great if a book group could form, to deeply discuss important books. As to how I could contribute, I have experience delivering food to members of my church, so I could give people rides once the virus has died down.

What would you tell someone to encourage them to consider becoming a member?

I’d say the Seacoast Village is for people who want to remain in their homes: their beloved, familiar surroundings, supported by a network of community members of all ages.

Read more member stories by clicking on the images below.


Jan Olmstead, Brad & Cathryn Greeley, and Janet Tucker

Judy Nerbonne

Sandra Bisset

Karl Singer

David Random

Steve Smith