Mary, 89, of Brookdale El Camino in Pueblo, Colorado, was born in Texas and raised in New Mexico. She grew up with her two sisters on a farm with no electricity or running water. Recalling having to milk 30-40 cows a day and haul water from natural springs in addition to attending school, Mary calls it “the hard life.” However, it was when she lived on the farm as a teenager that her parents first got her a battery operated radio. Her passion for singing and playing the guitar started at a young age because she was a lover of country music, and her family would often get their instruments out to preform together. Her Wish of wanting to sing in a recording studio started very early on in her childhood, when she and her sisters would sing on the radio once a week. Mary’s passion for performing continued throughout her adulthood, not only when she would sing at the community church, but also as she sang and played the guitar at nursing homes and assisted living facilities on and off for 20-30 years.
The only thing that slowed Mary down was having respiratory problems and being forced to quit playing the guitar when her carpal tunnel got really bad. However, her love and passion for performing encouraged her to “toughen her fingers back up,” so that she could rebuild the muscles in her fingers to be able to play again. Mary said that she practices playing the guitar in her room to keep the calluses from softening. Although her voice has changed over time, she offers private performances from her room to the residents and staff of Brookdale. Mary was able to perform her favorite song, “The Burglar Song”—a song that that her mother sang to her as a child and that she sang to her own kids—at this years’ Colorado State Fair Silver Queen Pageant. Here, Mary was crowned the second runner-up. Her son and nominator both say that Mary still wears her tiara from the pageant.
Thanks to Wish of a Lifetime, Brookdale Senior Living and ‘Perfect World’ Studio, Mary’s lifelong Wish to sing in a recording studio was fulfilled. She was able to sing, perform and record 3 songs. “I couldn’t have asked for anything better,” she said.