So, this woman walks into a bar. Well, no, not actually a bar. It’s Swabbies, a restaurant on the American River in Sacramento. She likes the place for its live music. She’s a fan of bands. Her favorite is U2. And if she could go back in time, she’d love to be rockin’ out to the Mamas and the Papas at the famous Monterey Pop Festival, and other favorites, like Simon & Garfunkel and Janis Joplin.
But she’s in Sacramento, where she always is (except when she isn’t— and we’ll come back to that). Sacramento is home. She grew up there. Both her dad and grandfather worked for the Southern Pacific Railroad. As a youngster, she loved being with her grandfather in his white VW bug. “Awesome to ride in!” she’ll tell you. Some of her happiest childhood memories connect to family, like going to her grandparents’ house. Her grandmother made the best noodles! And she and her sister got to cut them up! Her grandfather made pancakes, and he’d take her to the park to feed the ducks.
Those family connections, they matter a lot. She’s become the family historian (and it’s kinda cool that on her dad’s side she’s related to President Andrew Jackson). And if Monterey’s Pop Festival isn’t back far enough on the time-travel itinerary, she’d like to spend a day with her family in the 1840s, coming across the country on the Oregon Trail. She loves genealogy. Also her dogs, reading, and photography (mainly landscape). And she loves to travel!
When she wants to get outta Dodge, she really wants to see the world. The whole world. As a kid, she wanted to be an astronaut (loved seeing the space shuttle), and get a look at the planet! So, like, that didn’t happen, but she’s seen a lot of this world from ground level. She’s just so curious! Ask her about Cambodia. Or her destination for a special birthday (if you guessed Machu Picchu, you’re right!).
Since the astronaut thing wasn’t likely, by high school she knew she wanted to work in the medical field. And knew she loved photography. Voila! Xray tech! Happily employed by the Sutter Medical Center, for the past 22 years she’s written Radiologic Technician when forms ask her occupation. After starting off as an Xray tech, she enjoyed ten years as a CT (cat scan) tech, then five in Interventional Radiology, and now she’s with the Cardiovascular Lab, scrubbing in and assisting surgeons.
But, wait, we didn’t leave this woman walking into a hospital lab, she walked into a restaurant! And not Swabbies. She waked into the (drum roll, please) Tree House Cafe! Meeting her best friend there for lunch she’d walked past a sign: Washington Commons. And then on the cafe’s counter she saw postcards for Washington Commons. She’s just so curious, remember? So she asked what’s Washington Commons. The counter lady told her they were “awesome people” creating a community (take a bow, Anne!), and she should check it out. So she did.
In her own words: “Shelly gave me hope for a better future. To return to a time where I knew my neighbors and everyone was willing to help. I love this vision for my future.”
Meet your neighbor: Jenny Palmer.