Sponsor 7 Q+As with Marianne Armstrong of Armstrong Lumber! We heart the Armstrong family big-time—for their incredible community work, believing in us from day one beyond their sponsorship, and sharing Amy with us for inspiration, encouragement, laughter, and taking the stage herself this year!
1. What are you grateful for today?
Today, I am most grateful for a friend’s emergency hip and leg surgery that went well. After hip replacement less than 10 days ago, this second surgery was certainly unexpected.
2. Tell us about one of your friends and what you love about her.
I have been friends with Diann for more than 30 years. The joys and sorrows that good friends share over the years don’t necessarily define a friendship. But, the love and support shared during those times certainly does. Frankly, I don’t know how I would have gotten through the tearful times without that support and her shoulder. Even though we now live many miles apart, I can still count on her to be there. She is my cheerleader when I’m in doubt, my most honest critic when needed, my true “sister” who knows when I might need a hug. Diann is always the first one there to lend a hand even when neither of us knows what we’ve gotten ourselves into—like the time we started a business together! My favorite times with Diann have always been our “girls-only” trips. These trips have ranged from New Zealand—to celebrate retirement, or to Indianapolis—to shop the Grand Opening of The Container Store!
3. Describe one of the best days of your life.
The best day of my life was January 30, 1965—the day I married Dan Armstrong, who still makes me smile when he walks into a room… OK, 99.9% of the time! I’ll let you in on something…. After almost 50 years of marriage, while we’re driving along listening to Prime Country Radio, I sing along. Even though I’m not Dan’s favorite vocalist, we still hold hands!
4. What’s the best lesson you learned from your mother/grandmother?
My mother taught me to believe in myself. If I wanted to achieve it, I would, no matter how many obstacles might come my way. She was so wise, so caring, and yet so independent! I can still remember both Mom and my Gramma protesting heavy truck traffic and the ensuing clouds of relentless dust on Central Avenue in Chicago. At that time, Central Avenue was not a paved road. They organized others and formed a double-line of neighborhood women who, hand in hand, blocked the road to trucks! Traffic was indeed at a standstill. This was in the late 40’s. Certainly not something women should be doing. They were determined—after less than a week of their traffic blockades, and pictures in the Tribune and Sun Times, the trucks were finally rerouted to nearby paved roads.
My grandmother was such a jewel! She taught me to sew and I “taught” her English. As a young child I loved sitting on her lap at her treadle machine. I eagerly watched fabric magically turn into aprons and “house” dresses. I was hooked! Much later on, this skill served me well. When we were newly married, just starting out and on a very tight budget, sewing helped stretch that budget. Now, my sewing and quilting addictions can blow a budget! So much beautiful fabric! Who could say no? I guess that’s why they call your collection of fabric a “stash.” You always have to have enough, just in case ……
5. We’re all unique. What is your special gift?
The thing that immediately comes to mind is that I’ve always been able to hold a primary grade audience captive while reading a great children’s book aloud to them. Say for instance, The True Story of The Three Little Pigs (Jon Scieszka) or Mr Willowby’s Christmas Tree (Robert Barry). We all have special talents, and that’s mine!
6. What could women be doing to make their community a better place?
There are many ways to get involved or vested in our communities simply by sharing the talents we already possess. Have a love of reading or learning? Try to instill that same passion in others who may be struggling. Volunteering to work in a classroom or with children at women’s shelter might just be your match. Have a love of painting, drawing or other arts? Try volunteering at a Boys or Girls Club or at an after school program with simple projects to share with others. The same is true with other talents. Love sports? Volunteer to help with a Baseball for All program or get involved with Special Olympics training. Love to sew? Project Linus is for you. There are also hospitals whose OT or PT departments are in need of people to help with creating or modifying clothing for special needs patients. There is also a need for adapting basic clothing to meet needs of our Wounded Warriors. Love to run? Run for a cause just because you can. Do what you love—love what you do. What you do and share may take you outside your box. That’s a good thing! The more we grow within our community, the more we understand and support the needs outside our own familiar circles. Even more importantly, involvement at any level turns each of us into true “citizens”.
7. What would you do if you weren’t afraid?
If I weren’t afraid, I’d take swimming lessons.