Selma’s Latham is a work in progress

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 11, 2004

Sara Latham, lifetime resident of Selma, is truly a work in progress at age 83.

Her spirit is indomitable, her

wit is ready to charm, she doesn’t miss anything going on around her, she’s got her health and she’d like to do more than she’s doing.

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She’s, well, frisky, and it becomes her.

Right now she’s living at Cedar Terrace Apartments on Citizens Parkway.

“I like this place,” she said.

Three years ago she moved from Epworth House where she was a resident for 14 years.

At Epworth she was an activist for residents and led a highly publicized drive to raise money to get a van for Epworth. “That’s my project,” she said proudly.

The van was purchased in the year 2000 for $41,000, according to a Selma Times-Journal article. United Methodist Homes pledged $10,000 but only $8,500 of

that was needed. The rest was raised by Latham and her friends.

It took five years of labor to get the funds raised, Latham said.

Latham herself collected thousands of aluminum cans for which she and others participating in the project raised a considerable amount of money. “I was the only person going around dumpsters

picking up cans,” she said.

She also, in her own words, went begging for money – anywhere she could find it.

She told some humorous stories of persons, important and not so important, who gave and who chose not to give.

Latham makes no bones about the fact that in her opinion the van is not used enough. “When we got it we were told that the van will take you places when you don’t have a way to go. As it turned out, use was much more limited than I thought it would be.”

Latham also said she got the washed-out footbridge behind Epworth repaired twice through volunteer efforts.

Sara Latham never forgets a conversation, and the way she tells the story brings smiles and laughter to the listener.

Sitting on her living room sofa, she pulls out a scrapbook recently completed, filled with clippings and photos and memorabilia. The time at Epworth and the van are the focus of the book.

Draped around on all the sitting places in the living room are bright and carefully stitched quilts which she took great delight in making, but can no longer make due to arthritis.

Outside on the front porch is her purple “Rascal” scooter – one of three scooters in the neighborhood, she said, but hers was the first one.

Latham has been employed in various places in the community over the years, such as the Good Samaritan Hospital where she worked with babies – and still loves to think about it.

She did live in Orrville for a time but that sojourn was not to her liking. “I like to talk and be around people,” she said, “and there were not enough there for me.”

She also lived in Tuscaloosa for five years, more than 20 years ago because of her husband’s job. He died in 1981. “I’ve been alone a long time,” she said.

In addition to her work, Latham said that she’s done volunteer sitting with the elderly for people who could not afford it.

But a lot of her volunteer effort went into Epworth House where she participated in many activities. She taught quilting, cooked and worked with raffle projects. She’s also hooked rugs and crocheted, in addition to making quilts.

Actually, despite a lifetime of being very active, Latham says, “I’m bored right now and would like to volunteer. But transportation would have to be provided.”

Anybody need a volunteer with strength of character and a lot of true grit?