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Distinguished Residents Shirley Donatt

Shirley Donatt

The Gardens at Ocotillo Senior Living

Chandler, Arizona

I remember as a child, running and playing after school until it was either time to eat or too dark or cold to stay outside. Yes, Mom fed us on a fairly regular basis — when she could get us
inside the house.

I also remember that Mom gave us a dime every Saturday to go to the afternoon movie. Remember those double features plus a serial, comics and the news reel? I certainly don’t know how Mom got the dime but I do know why — I was out of the house for several hours every Saturday!

I finished grade school and high school and, by golly, I met the cutest guy I ever saw. I met him in the last semester of my senior year of high school and was deliriously happy when he asked me for a date. We graduated and went off to different schools. I thought I would never see him again, but I was so wrong. We married several years later.

Married life was wonderful. During those early years, my husband was in the Navy for four years. While Don flew around in blimps, I worked as a  registered nurse. After Don’s service, we lived in Illinois, where Don attended the University of Illinois and received the first of his many degrees in math. I received my advanced nursing degree. Life for us became rather routine — if one considers having five children routine. It was interesting and busy, to say the least.

I went on in nursing and was the supervisor of the operating rooms and recovery rooms, and I thoroughly loved my job. The last ten years of nursing were especially good. I had the golden opportunity to develop a surgical nursing operative teaching tool that was approved by the American Nursing Association and the Association of Operating Room Nurses. I was able to take nurses from the U.S. to meet and teach nurses in Russia, China, Spain and elsewhere. If they passed my exam, they received 35 units of continuing education credits. My biggest joy was that I traveled for free. Those were truly the good old days.

When our children finished college and military service, and were grown up and married, Don and I retired and moved to his beautiful state of Arizona. We’ve spent our time hiking the beautiful mountains, golfing at least four times a week and traveling the world. We have made many new friends and enjoy life very much. To greet and love our grandchildren was a joy beyond joys.

As the grandchildren were growing up, I decided that they should know a bit more about their “grandmama,” so I decided to write a book about my experiences as a nurse. I did not want them to think all their grandmama did was play games, bake cookies and take them for golf cart rides. The book was titled, “Surely You Jest,” and it was given only to my grandchildren. It was a fun project indeed.

Don and I celebrated our 65th wedding anniversary on May 1st, 2016, and our Lord and Savior called Don home one month later. We had a gifted, blessed life that I am so thankful for.

Things, of course, are different now. The year 2016 was extremely difficult for me with the death of my husband, breaking my back at that same time and the change in lifestyle. However, with faith in our Creator, I have endured and continue to thrive in the knowledge that His grace is always with us.

My family and I found The Gardens at Ocotillo Senior Living on July 3, 2016, and I cannot express to you how much I enjoy living here and what everyone here means to me. The friendship and kindness I receive is so deeply appreciated.