December 18, 2008 in City

Margaret Varner

Kathy Plonka photo

Great-grandmother Margaret Varner, who visited the Christmas Bureau on Monday, has survived three husbands. She says she has no plans to find a fourth.
(Full-size photo)

To donate

• By mail: Spokesman-Review Christmas Bureau, P.O. Box 516, Spokane, WA 99210

• Online: Online donations can be made with a PayPal account or credit card (a processing charge of 2.9 percent plus 30 cents will be deducted from such donations).

• In person: Deliver your donation to the guard in the lobby of the S-R offices in Spokane at 999 W. Riverside Ave. or in Coeur d’Alene at 608 Northwest Blvd.

Editor’s note: Christmas Bureau recipients come for food vouchers, toys and candy. Reporter Rebecca Nappi is collecting recipients’ stories.

Age: 86.

Lives in: Spokane.

I heard about the Christmas Bureau through the East Central Community Center. I go there three times a week. They always have things going. They keep us busy and laughing. We came here by van this morning – five of us plus the driver.

I had three children. They are now 67, 64 and 57. I have six grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.

I have macular degeneration. I’m legally blind. I use a walker, because I have problems walking. My mind’s sharp and I hope to keep it that way. I like to travel but I can’t drive anymore, so I depend on my girls to take me places.

What’s the secret to my long life? I don’t know. My mom was only 76 when she passed away. I had four older brothers. They are all gone. All their spouses are gone. I’m real proud to be the last one standing. I was a premature baby, so I never thought it would be me. We built a house in 1972, and we got a 30-year contract on it, and I never thought I’d live to see that 30-year contract paid off. I paid it off in 2000.

My first husband passed away in 1977. He died of cancer. He lost an eye to glaucoma. He just always seemed to have something wrong. My second husband died in 1986. We were only married 3½ years. He died of a massive heart attack. The doctor said if he’d been sitting right next to him, he couldn’t have saved him. There was a third. He had hip surgery. He got blisters on his heels. He had poor circulation and it finally developed into blood poisoning and he passed away in 2005. No, I haven’t been tempted to find a fourth.

At Christmastime, I think of all my husbands. I miss them all. I really do.

I still enjoy life. I have a daughter who lives in Canada. They opened some casinos where she lives. I was up there in November. We went twice. I came out $77 to the good.

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