Some people collect stamps, thimbles or salt and pepper shakers. Kate Clarke, a resident of Monarch Landing senior living community in Naperville collects stories…her own and those of other people, and then generously shares them.
Kate has countless memories, and achievements of her own to tell. A native of South Africa, Kate worked there as a high school English teacher until 1969 when she, her husband and their three school-aged children moved to the U.S. Here, she earned her master’s and then her PhD in social work, and continued to work in the school setting. An avid traveler, Kate has visited fabulous destinations including Russia, Turkey Greece, Sweden, Scotland, England, Costa Rico and more. “I generally go overseas once each year, and travel in the U.S. once each year,” she said.
Since moving to Monarch Landing almost seven years ago, Kate has been privy to the stories of her neighbors, as the columnist for the resident monthly newsletter. Life at the Landing features the story of one resident or couple living at Monarch Landing. Estimating that she’s written about 30-40 residents/couples, Kate said she’s never heard a story that hasn’t drawn her in. “It’s just so fascinating! The people here are so diverse and come here from so many different backgrounds. I have yet to interview anyone who is not amazingly fascinating. We have a retired FBI agent, pastors, CEOs, nurses, teachers…and everyone is so enthusiastic about their careers. And the residents who live here have traveled and come from all parts of the world. There are quite a few immigrants like myself. You find kindred spirits here.”
Kate loves her role as the official storyteller. “I get to know the residents better. It’s fascinating to hear about what people have done. It’s very inspiring and expands my own horizons. And when they talk about struggles or challenges, I really admire their tenacity and emotional strength. I have never sat and talked with someone and felt bored,” she said. “I’ve made close friends through the stories I’ve written. As we live together in the community, we learn from one another and grow!”