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Interview with Eunice Queen, April 19, 2006 | UNCW Archives and Special Collections Online Database

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Interview with Eunice Queen, April 19, 2006
April 19, 2006
In this interview, Eunice Queen discusses her volunteer work at the New Hanover Regional Medical Center's hospitality house and with the New Hanover County Disaster Preparedness Program, among others. She also talks about her personal motivations for volunteering and shares anecdotes from her volunteer work.
Phys. Desc:

Interviewee: Queen, Eunice Interviewer: Zarbock, Paul Date of Interview: 4/19/06 Series: SENC Volunteers Length 46 minutes

Zarbock: Good morning. My name is Paul Zarbock, a staff member with the (clears throat) University of North Carolina--Wilmington's Randall Library. We're doing a series of videotapes on notable volunteers in the Wilmington area. Today is the 19th of April in the year 2006, and we're at the home of Ms. Eunice Queen. Good morning.

Eunice Queen: Good morning, Paul.

Zarbock: How are you this morning?

Eunice Queen: I'm just fine.

Zarbock: Ms. Queen, could we start off by-- let me ask you; tell me a little about your background, youth and development and that type of thing. As much as you choose and as little as you dare.

Eunice Queen: Okay. Well, I'm the oldest of 13 kids. My parents were sharecroppers in Southern Maryland. And we farmed tobacco, corn, wheat. I went to the rural public school in Maryland. In fact, I started off in the _______ school. Would you believe that? From the first to the fourth grade, I was in a _______ school. Then they closed that school and we eventually went to a larger school. And I finished school in Maryland, and I left Maryland and went to D.C., where I raised five children; three boys and two girls. I started working for the post office. That was my career. It began at a post office for two years.

Zarbock: Now, what year was that?

Eunice Queen: Uh.. 1967 I started working at the post office. I worked there for two years. And I went on to the treasury department in 1970. And I worked at the treasury department until I retired in January of 2003.

Zarbock: What did they have you doing in that treasury?

Eunice Queen: Well, we was in marketable securities where we sold treasury bills, treasury bonds, notes and the treasury department also sold treas-- savings bonds. But I always dealt mostly with treasury notes, bills and bonds.

Zarbock: Was it an interesting job?

Eunice Queen: Very interesting. Uh.. I spent the rest of my government career at the treasury department working in the same field.

Zarbock: Did you live in the district or did you live in Virginia or Maryland?

Eunice Queen: I lived- I lived in the heart of the district for 27 years, until my job relocated to Parkersburg, West Virginia. I relocated to Parkersburg, West Virginia in June of 1992. And I lived there until I retired in January of 2003.

Zarbock: Do you miss your work?

Eunice Queen: I missed work when I first retired. I missed getting up every morning and going to work. But by around 5 o'clock in the afternoon, I didn't miss it. (laughs) Uhm.. you know, I had things that I liked to do after work, like my hobbies. And so I just planned on working with all of my hobbies when I retired. So that's what I spent my time doing for the first year after retirement.

Zarbock: What kind of hobbies are you talking about?

Eunice Queen: I like basketweaving, patch-quilting, knitting, crocheting and just anything that you could recycle and make something out of, I would do.

Zarbock: Well, since we're doing notable volunteers, the question is obvious. When did you volunteer, where did you volunteer and why did you volunteer?

Eunice Queen: Well, I started-- the crafting just took up more space than I had, and after a while, you had no space to put them. So I decided that I needed to go out and do what I had planned on doing when I first retired was to do some volunteering. My goal was to do one day a month. So I went to the senior center over there on College Road and signed up for their retired senior volunteer program. And I started volunteering there on Thursday afternoons for three hours.

Zarbock: Doing what?

Eunice Queen: Their receptions desk and answering the telephone, welcome visitors and giving them the tour of the facilities. And that was very interesting. Then they found another area that they thought I could be useful at. And so is started tutoring the kids at the Greenfield Village Community. And I did that for maybe six months.

Zarbock: What is the Greenfield Village Community?

Eunice Queen: It's a place where kids can come after school and help-- to get help with their math and reading. And they were from kindergarten up to the sixth grade.

Zarbock: So you were doing tutoring, then?

Eunice Queen: Yes, I did. I did. And then...

Zarbock: I'm sorry, but as the mother of, what, five?

Eunice Queen: Five, yes.

Zarbock: Well, as the mother of five, that probably came as kind of a natural for you, didn't it?

Eunice Queen: Of course. Of course. Of course. And plus I like kids anyway. So that was a good experience for me to be around those kids, because I missed my grandkid-- grandson-- my youngest grandson a lot because he was around that age too; just starting school. And my oldest grandson, he was in junior high school. And so he was, you know, more busy-- too busy to call me and for me to have to spend time with him. So by them being in Maryland and I'm being down here, I didn't get to see them that much. So being around the kids at Greenfield really filled that vacancy of missing my grandkids. So that was good. But it wasn't as challenging as I was looking for. Being new to the community at Wilmington, I didn't know too many people, so I was just meeting the kids. And I wanted to meet other people in the community and get to know more about the community. So I decided to go to another site that they had that had been looking for volunteers. And that was the Village Value thrift store on Castle Street, which support domestic violence. So I went there, and I started working two days a week down there. Well, I did that for a whole year. I did Tuesday afternoons-- five hours on Tuesday afternoon and five hours on Wednesday.

Zarbock: Ms. Queen, the time is beginning creeping up on you, isn't it?

Eunice Queen: Yeah.

Zarbock: You went from, what, a half a day...

Eunice Queen: I went from two hours on Thursdays and two hours on Tuesdays to five hours on Tuesdays, five hours on Wednesdays and three hours on Thursdays.

Zarbock: Aha.

Eunice Queen: So-- and I did leave Mondays and Fridays for myself until August of 2005.

Zarbock: What happened then?

Eunice Queen: In August of 2005, I went to the hospitality house and signed up to volunteer for three hours on Monday evenings.

Zarbock: Tell me-- tell me about the hospitality house.

Eunice Queen: The hospitality house is uh.. run by the _______ from New Hanover Medical Center. And the hospitality house is a place where when you have critical patients, and the hospital at Cape Fear, New Hanover, all the coastal rehabilitation that the families are from out of town, where the families are provided room there to stay. And what I do there is uh.. greet them. You know, assign them a room and make them comfortable, and keep coffee going for them and keep them _______ for them and just make them feel comfortable and at home. And so there goes my Monday afternoons. Monday evenings. So I was volunteering Monday evening, Tuesday afternoons, Wednesday afternoon and Thursday afternoon. And I did that up until October. In October, the store on Castle Street, the Village Value on Castle Street, closed on Tuesday and Wednesday. So that left me without something to do on Tuesday and Wednesday. But that didn't last very long. Uhm.. I also worked with the disaster preparedness program. And I've been doing that for three years. And that's part of the RSVP program too. So I started meeting on Wednesdays to get prepared to go into the schools and put on this little skit that we do to teach the kids how to get prepared for hurricanes. So that gave me something to be busy with. And right now, I am volunteering Monday evenings. I'm now working for the hospitality house at night. I work two nights a week.

Zarbock: As a...

Eunice Queen: I stay over.

Zarbock: As a paid...

Eunice Queen: As a paid- paid volun-- well, not a volunteer, a paid employee now.

Zarbock: A paid staff member.

Eunice Queen: Staff member. And I was very pleased that they wanted me to do that. I mean, they asked me to do this right after I started volunteering. And that made me feel good that they had that much confidence that I could handle that position at night. And you do basically the same thing that you do as a volunteer, except at night you have to make sure all the doors are locked and you have to put on the security alarm and you have to make sure that everything is safe for the guests that we have there. So when they go to bed, they'll all be safe.

Zarbock: Ms. Queen, when you say work at night, do you mean work all night?

Eunice Queen: All night. I don't-- I work all night. We can, if everything is okay, go to bed at 11 o'clock. But I'm up at 4:45, and I'm getting coffee-- have coffee ready at 5 o'clock. And I have the doors unlocked at 6:00 so the guests can come and go.

Zarbock: I think one of the interesting things about the hospitality house is the hospital doesn't own it.

Eunice Queen: That's right.

Zarbock: The volunteers own it.

Eunice Queen: That's correct.

Zarbock: And the volunteers put the money together to construct this and have this built; I guess it was used as an office building or something before. But the volunteers bought it from the previous owner, probably fixed it up some, changed some of the design and now make it available for what, members of families of the patient, is that...?

Eunice Queen: Yes. I'm almost sure that they told me it was once owned by a doctor who-- that's how they got-- it was donated to the hospital, so-- and then the auxiliary-- volunteer auxiliary purchased it from the hospital and-- or from the real estate, and they have been keeping it up. And it's basically run by donations. As a matter of fact, they're getting ready to celebrate their 20th anniversary.

Zarbock: And as I understand it, you do not charge people who stay there?

Eunice Queen: We do not charge. But we do accept donations from those who can give a donation.

Zarbock: Do you provide them any meals?

Eunice Queen: Uh.. they do uh.. we don't provide meals per se, but we have food donated to the pantry and from Second Harvest, and they have the use of anything that's donated that's in the pantry. However, sometimes the volunteers will prepare meals for them, or the girl scouts will come in and prepare meals. And occasionally, in the mornings, sometimes I take food in and donate it and get up and prepare breakfast for them occasionally. But, you know, they are away from home. They have a sick one in the hospital, and their mind is on the person that they have in the hospital. So to really eat a nutritious meal and have a good breakfast--it's so important to have a good breakfast in the morning. They just be getting up, thinking about going to the hospital, so it's so nice for them to get up and smell breakfast and someone tell them; I prepared breakfast for you. And it makes their day even better, you know? And plus it makes me feel a whole lot better. You know, whenever I can do something for someone, it just makes my day a better day.

Zarbock: From what I understand, having chatted briefly with other volunteers, what you just said is often repeated. That they feel good by helping other people. And this is your feeling too?

Eunice Queen: Yeah. And everybody that I volunteered with, it seems that's the reason why they volunteered; it's something to make them feel good, you know, about themselves. And they feel they're needed out there. We're needed to assist those who are trying to get their job done every day and every bit of help they can get, you know, it makes their job even works better. Things work better for them. They are able to accomplish what their goals are. And we're able to help them. It's nothing like doing something for someone and making someone feel good and making their day.

Zarbock: Have you always been this way, Ms. Queen? Have you always been a helping person?

Eunice Queen: I guess I always have been. I tell you, my daughter, my oldest daughter, Tina [ph?] was in the talented and gifted program when she was in the ninth grade. And one of their things were they had to do community service. And of course, I was busy working, but she had to do community service. And I went with her to help do community service. And we started volunteering at a senior center, where we helped seniors to go-- when you go to the grocery store with them. We even did exercise-- jazzercise with the seniors. And even with my job, I also was a union rep-- and unpaid union rep. And so I helped people that had problems. So that's sort of volunteer work in itself, you know, to spend your time to help someone else with a problem.

Zarbock: Was this your first experience volunteering?

Eunice Queen: You mean here?

Zarbock: No, no. When you were with your daughter.

Eunice Queen: Yeah. Yeah. That was my volunteering. Never-- I was younger then, too, but volunteering never crossed my mind. But it was something that she had to do. And she had to do it after hours after school so I wasn't going to let her be up there all by herself. So I went with her.

Zarbock: So that's where you got your toes wet.

Eunice Queen: It was so rewarding, you know, to see the seniors be so appreciative to have someone to help them do the things that they needed to do, and they didn't have another means to do it.

Zarbock: Was it all good experience, Ms. Queen? Or were there sometimes uh..

Eunice Queen: I've never had a bad experience. And even if it was bad, it wasn't bad, because I was able to do something, you know? It just wasn't bad to me, you know? It may not have always turned out the way I envisioned it to turn out, but I gave the best of myself, and I'd try to make things better for that person who I was trying to help.

Zarbock: One of the things that other people have mentioned, and I wonder if you'd comment about this, they said, well, I knew how to do this, that, and the other thing, but once I began to volunteer, I had to learn other things. So it was not-- not only was the person volunteering, the person was also learning. Has this been your experience too?

Eunice Queen: Well, you always learn, every day, no matter what you do. You might think you know something-- the perfect way to do something or to comfort someone, you know? I've learned that the best way you can comfort someone sometimes is just not to say nothing, but just be there and just listen to them. And you can't always find the right words to say what needs to be said, but just being there, just being near them and just letting them talk, I've learned-- and I'm a talkative person. But I have learned that I need to just listen, and just listen and then it'll make everything even better for the person who was having that problem. But just listen to them. And uh.. I've learned that people, no matter what people say, there are people out there that are just so nice. And all they want is someone to just be there for them. And I've learned that since I've been-- especially since I've been a volunteer here.

Zarbock: You know, really it's a lonesome world, isn't it?

Eunice Queen: It is. It is. And me being a single person living here alone in Wilmington and don't know too many people. I've met people, but I've met most of my friends through volunteer work. And having this volunteer stuff to do keeps me alive and keeps me going, you know? And helps me not to dwell on anything. You know, people can sit around and negative stuff can pop up in their mind. But I don't have time for that. Because I'm out there with people who needs my assistance and need other people's assistance and people that's just making me feel good, too, just by themselves. Just what they do and what they say and the fact that they need me to help them. It's-- that's so rewarding.

Zarbock: But, you know, you said something that other people have said, too. That many of their friends are drawn from a population of other volunteers.

Eunice Queen: That's correct.

Zarbock: You've got a lot in common with them. It's sort of an emotional aspect of being-- sharing. But there's uh.. there's the pleasure in giving.

Eunice Queen: Yeah. It's definitely the pleasure of giving. I wish I had more time to give. I really do. I mean, I may have regularly scheduled volunteer time, but I always end up substituting for someone who can't make their time. And I mean, sometimes I want to say no. But then I'm like, what do I have to do that I can't do later? You know? What do I have to do that I can't do later? So I just, you know, I might need them to substitute for me sometime, you know? So, you know?

Zarbock: How many hours a week do you volunteer?

Eunice Queen: Oh wow, let me see. Well, I can tell you how many hours I volunteered last week.

Zarbock: Okay.

Eunice Queen: I volunteered last week, I would say, three on Monday night, four on Wednesday morning, uhm.. oh, I forgot, last Monday morning I did a volunteer shift from 8 to 12 o'clock. So actually last Monday I did seven hours of volunteer work. Wednesday I did 3-1/2-- or was it four? Maybe four. And then Thursday, I did three. And then Sunday I did three.

Zarbock: You know, you're almost up to 20 hours a week.

Eunice Queen: At one time, I was doing 17 hours a week. At one time I was doing 17 hours a week. So I lost track of-- I don't count the number of hours.

Zarbock: Is your volunteer work uh.. emotionally rewarding enough that when you get up in the morning, and you know you've-- you're going to volunteer that day, that you look forward to it, or is it an "Oh, I've got to..."

Eunice Queen: Yes. I look forward to it. You know? I know how my day is planned when I know I have to volunteer. Uh.. the days that I don't volunteer, which is probably Saturdays, because Sun-- Friday is a day that I don't really have anything scheduled for volunteering, but I get off of work on Friday morning at 9 o'clock. Then by the time I get home and do a little housework and run a little errands, I'm ready to take a nap. So that's-- I don't have to plan for Friday. Friday's already really planned for me. So I don't really have to plan my days when I know I have to volunteer, because I know my schedule. I don't have to find things to keep me occupied.

Zarbock: Did I hear you correctly? On Friday, you were up by 4:30 in the morning?

Eunice Queen: Yeah. The nights that I spend at that hospitality house, I am up by 4:45 and I have coffee ready by 5 o'clock. And some nights I might get into the bed at 1 o'clock. And some nights I might get in the bed maybe 12. And then I might get interrupted during the night, because I might have to let a guest out to go to the hospital or the hospital may call and say we have someone who-- a family member here who is someone who's critical in the hospital that came into town, they don't have a place to stay. And I have to get up and let them in. So that's part of my job. So, you know, some nights I might not get but two hours of sleep. And if I ever get any real sleep, because you don't sleep sound because you listen out for your guests. But it's rewarding anyway, you know? It's not like I can't come home and take a nap and rest up. But I don't-- I never feel tired. I don't feel tired. So that right there tells me something that, you know, I'm doing good work, because I don't feel tired.

Zarbock: And you've always got something to talk about.

Eunice Queen: Oh, I-- my mouth runs too much sometimes (laughs). But, you know, I like people. I like people. I like being around people and uh.. I go to church on Sunday mornings, and I come back, and sometimes I get together with a friend to go to dinner. And then on Sunday evenings, if they need someone to fill in for a while as a volunteer, I go and volunteer, you know? I'd rather be around people than to be just sitting alone. I like alone time there. I like to read a book and look at TV, look at something on TV, but you know, that long-- a long time comes-- will come to you a lot, you know? But spending time with people-- I like to spend as much time as I can with people.

Zarbock: Ms. Queen, I wonder if you can uh.. do this. Without-- please, without telling me the name of anyone, but can you tell me a story about a situation or situations that you remember as a volunteer at the hospitality house or any of the other experiences that you've had that really stuck in your mind?

Eunice Queen: Uh..

Zarbock: Sadness or happiness or...

Eunice Queen: Oh, there have been some sad ones. Like the-- well, the saddest one was a couple weeks ago. Uhm.. a lady had been staying with us for maybe a month. And I really didn't know too much that was going on, because the one thing- I don't ask people about what's going on. I knew her husband was in the hospital. And she comes in every evening. She'd look really exhausted. And we were speaking. I was saying, "How's things today?" And she would say, "Well, not too well. And I'm so tired and exhausted." And she would go to bed. Well, I didn't realize her husband was that ill. And uh.. one Thursday night I was in, and the hospital called because they knew it was time for me to put the security alarm on the door, and wanted to know if her son would be able to get in. And he was coming over here to see his mother. And I said, "Oh sure, I'll be up for a while." And I said do he-- "She know he's on his way to pick her up?" Because I was going to go upstairs and knock on the door and let her know that he was on his way over to pick her up. And the nurse told me, "No, he wants to come over there and tell her that his father had just passed; her husband just passed." So I realized right then and there that no, I wasn't going to be the one to tell her. But that was real sad too, you know, you get to know these people when they're in there, and you get-- you see them. They become part of the family there. Part of the family there. So when he got over there, oh, I wanted to just put my arms around him to see him in-- with tears. His eyes were so red, and he had been crying and stuff. And to see a gray-headed man with gray beard and just in such bad shape is just-- it was very touching. And I asked him was there anything I could do for him? Did he want a cup of coffee or something to drink before he went to see his mom? And he said, "No, just give me a few minutes." And he thanked me for keeping the door open for him and stuff. And he said uh.. then he told me a little experience that he had had in the room with his dad, that something just made him wake up and he reached over and touched his dad and said, "Pop, I love you." And his dad said "I love you too." And then he was gone. He was gone. And so I took him to the elevator and took him on upstairs to her room and I knocked on her door. And she answered, and I told her that someone was out there to see her. I didn't tell her who it was. And I wanted to make sure she was okay. And when she opened the door, I just stepped back and left them there. You know? So-- and she was expecting him to expire, but I didn't know that, you know, until then. But that was really, really, really touching. And then some of the-- I hear about some of the other stuff. I won't be there when it happened, but I hear about it when I go in. And then there was another young lady there; her mother was ill and she was there for so long. But she was so sweet and she realized it was my birthday one night I was there, and she wanted to give me some earrings that she made. And she said it's pink, and she noticed that I wore pink and that pink looked good on me. And so she gave me some homemade earrings. And I gave her one of my handmade baskets. And so we uh.. we talked a lot. She talked a lot. She was one that talked a lot with me. And uh.. I wasn't there the day that her mother passed, because we had talked about keeping in touch because we were both crafters and stuff. But I hope one day she contacts me again so I can keep in touch with her.

Zarbock: Ms. Queen, would you tell me a little more-- I'm going to back up into the other part of the interview-- earlier part of the interview. Tell me a little bit more about your disaster preparedness work.

Eunice Queen: Okay. The New Hanover County has a disaster preparedness program. And it's running out of the hospital, Red Cross, and the senior center. And the senior center has uhm.. a group of people that is on their special needs list. And that special needs list is created from those that we provide Meals on Wheels to. And those other folks who may be on oxygen or in wheelchairs that don't have anyone can look out for them when they are-- when a hurricane may come or some other type of disaster. And I and a group of other senior center-- senior citizens are in a group called the preparedness, where we put on a-- we wrote this little skit that we put on at the elementary schools to try to get the kids interested in getting prepared for hurricanes. And our main goal is to provide them information that they can take home to their parents. And this is our third year of doing it in the elementary schools. And we do it from, I think it's third grade to the fifth grade.

Zarbock: What kind of information would you like the children to take home to their parents?

Eunice Queen: Well, we were trying to tell them to get prepared. Like, get a bag together with extra clothing. Get your water. And we try to impress upon them that you need at least a gallon of water a day for each person. And at least for three days supplied. And we try to encourage them to get canned goods, and you've got to have a can opener that don't work with electricity, because you might lose power. And a radio that worked by batteries. And we-- extra batteries, and we tell them to make sure that they have flashlights, and a first aid kit, which is important. And we also tell them to make sure you have shoes that cover your feet. Because you never know; you might need, you know, when you-- after hurricane came over, you need protection on your feet. And we tell them if you're going to go to a shelter, you might want to carry a blanket and you carry your toothbrush, toothpaste and maybe some soap. Personal stuff like that. And just to get them encouraged enough to bring that to their parents' attention. And the skit is kind of funny. You know, it starts off where the radio announced that a hurricane is coming, and we have grandpa, momma and two children. And three kids, really. We have a fellow next door. And see, the program at the senior center; what we do is 72 hours before a hurricane is scheduled to hit here, we'll go into the senior center, and we call all the people that's on the-- on that list to see if they getting prepared for the hurricane; if they have made arrangements of what they're going to do; whether they're going to stay at home or they're going to go to a shelter. And if they plan on going to a shelter, will they have transportation? And we call that whole list. It's a group of us that just call-- they call it a call-down, and we call. And the people that may need transportation or may need another call-back, we put them in one group. And then when the preparedness group get together at the hospital 24 hours before the hurricane get here, then they call that group of people back again. So uh.. that is very rewarding too, you know? I mean, you get out there, you've got to get prepared yourself, but you've got to make sure these other folks are prepared too. And it's very interesting. It's very interesting. But they're-- the school kids really get a kick out of us. You know, we tell them about taping up the windows, putting plywood on the windows, uh.. securing the things outside that may blow away. And getting your bag ready and getting your food; your canned good, your can opener and your extra batteries and your radio and your flashlight and your first aid kit. And we, you know, young kids; that stuff stick in their mind.

Zarbock: Do you mention pets?

Eunice Queen: Yeah. We mention that. Uh.. of course, the momma in the family wants to take her dog and her bird with her to the uh.. the shelter, and we tell her that she has to call a veterinary or animal hospital or-- to find shelter for her pets during a hurricane; that she can't take them to the shelter with her. Yeah. Yes. Because kids have pets, and they don't want to leave their pets at home. It's- it's really rewarding to see the kids. You know, they pick up too. They remember what you tell them.

Zarbock: Yeah, but it's the small things in life, like if a hurricane came along and you scooped up your favorite dog Fido, and you got to the shelter and they said no, no, we can't have a dog.

Eunice Queen: And you might not have time...

Zarbock: And you're stressed and you're concerned and you're worried, and now you're mad.

Eunice Queen: Yeah. Yeah. Yep. And nobody-- that's why a lot of people don't leave to go to the shelter. They don't want to leave their pets at home. They do not want to leave their pets at home. And uh.. and uh.. some of them don't realize that they can call a hospital-- animal hospital or veterinarian to see if they can leave their pets there.

Zarbock: Well, what other projects?

Eunice Queen: Well, I work with-- I was a volunteer with-- on the Wednesday mornings during tax season with the Divider program, where they do free-- do the income taxes free at the senior center for the-- residents of New Hannover County. And where I go in and I sign them in, have them fill out a form getting ready for the tax preparer. And uh.. I do that from first of February until the last day they do taxes. And uh.. that's- that's real interesting too; very rewarding, you know, to be able to assist in that program.

Zarbock: It sounds like you're the lubricant that makes the wheels of...

Eunice Queen: Only one of many. Of many, many, many. I'm only one of many that helps that program and the other program too.

Zarbock: If you couldn't volunteer for some-- I'm just, you know, trying to get a little response from you here. If you couldn't-- you can no longer volunteer; what would you do?

Eunice Queen: Probably stay in the mall shopping all day. I'd just-- probab-- I don't know what I would do, because the projects, the crafting projects are not as rewarding as they were in the past, you know? It's-- I don't-- you can only make so many things and your family only want so many of the same thing that you have as a gift. And when I really did a lot of crafting in Parkersburg, when I'd lived in Parkersburg, West Virginia, I did craft shows. So I was able to sell my craft items. But uhm.. I just don't have that desire to do the craft shows thing. So uh.. I don't-- I hope I never have to give up volunteering. I really do. And I can't imagine nobody not needing a volunteer. So I haven't even thought about what I would do if I didn't volunteer, because I really believe that I'll be volunteering the rest of my life. I mean, I just went to a luncheon and sit with people who were 90 years old-- who was in their 90's; who were still doing volunteer work. And I wouldn't have known they were 90. So I attribute that to the fact that they keeping theirself busy. And keeping busy, doing things for other people, and that's what was making them look so young and keeping them so active. So I have no idea what I would do if I could not get up every day and go do something for someone else.

Zarbock: So the secret of your life is really not much of a secret. You're-- it seems to me that if it was a secret, it would be that giving is much more important to you than acquiring wealth or...

Eunice Queen: Well, I am wealthy.

Zarbock: prominence or something like that.

Eunice Queen: I don't know what that would even be like. But I consider myself wealthy with friends and the things that I'm doing, you know, I mean, talk about money, I mean, all-- if I had money, all I do is spend it. I spend what I have now, you know? I spend less when I'm volunteering. So, I mean, uh.. you can't take money with you. And people not going to remember you for your wealth. They remember you for what you do for others and for them. So I want to be remembered as someone who did good. And I think I leave some impression on everyone that I come across. I believe that.

Zarbock: I'm going to ask you to-- we're-- I don't want to squander the last time-- the time that we have here on the tape. So I'm going to go back again and ask you to recount, if you can; you told two very sad stories. Can you think of anything to balance that off of? A funny thing, a curious thing; something-- or, if you've got another sad story, let's hear another sad story.

Eunice Queen: Well, not so much sad stories. The most rewarding stories, and I see that a lot is we have a lot of guests who stay there who have preemies; newborns that are born that need to be in the hospital, and they need to stay there to be near their babies until their babies are moved into a room from the NICU; neo-incubator area, you know, into the room. And then they end up staying there until the babies get large enough for them to take home, or weight enough for them to take home. And that's so rewarding to-- for to hear a guest come in and say, "Oh, I can stay at the hospital tonight because my baby's getting moved to his own room, and I can stay there." And you know that that baby is on its way to going home with its mother. And these new mothers that just have these babies and have to-- and some of them already have kids. So they have to leave their other kid with someone else to be there near that baby. You know? And the sooner that they can go home to be with their complete family, take that baby home; it makes us feel good as well as making them feel good. And that is rewarding enough.

Zarbock: So not everybody who leaves hospitality house leaves in sorrow?

Eunice Queen: Oh no. Oh no, no. Uh.. we have uh.. we have cancer survivors, cancer patients that are receiving treatment at the clinic. And they stay there for when we have people who are in re-- close to rehabilitation, their family stayed there. And their family stays there until they are able to leave the rehabilitation place. So no; all of it is not-- everybody that leaves there don't leave there sad.

Zarbock: I think we ought to get this on the record. How many beds do you have in your facility?

Eunice Queen: I think that we have 36 beds. We have at least 36 beds. Maybe more than that.

Zarbock: And sometimes you're filled?

Eunice Queen: Oh, sometimes we have to turn people away. And that's the sad part, too. We don't have space for them. But we do have a procedure where we give them a 1-800 number where there's a hotel in this area that will give them a discount until we can get a room for them. But we never know; sometimes we think a guest might stay three days. They estimate they might stay three days, and things don't go as well as they expected. And they end up staying here five days, seven days. There are some guests who think they might stay a week, and they end up staying two or three weeks. So you can't predict when you going to have a room available. And so we just have to put them on a waiting list. And until we get a room available, and we give rooms by first come, first serve. You know, that's the way they give the rooms out. So-- but uh.. no, the hospitality house, there are some sad ones. There are some people with loved ones there who leave and go home because their loved one has expired. But there are others, more than those that go home with good news, you know, because their loved one got better and can go home. So it's a rewarding place to work at, you know? It really is.

Zarbock: And you have discovered that the secret of a conversation is...

Eunice Queen: Listen. Most of the time, to listen. So even though I like to talk- I like to talk. But I've learned. And I've learned this before I started volunteering too. I learned that as an employee and uh.. as a superior, you know, when I had employees, I had to listen to my employees. But I learned to do more of it since I've been volunteering at the hospitality house, because people that are-- I knew when I was going through a similar situation, I didn't want people just talking to me. You know? You just-- you want to talk when you want to talk. And you don't want-- you've got your own thoughts in your mind and you just sometime want it quiet. So you-- I learned that at the hospitality house; that that's the good way you can serve the guests, too, is just be there for them. If they need an ear, give them the ear. And if they want conversation with you, you know, because of the way they are talking to you. So you know when to talk to them, when to give them that feedback. You know? When to ask those questions, when to put an arm around them. You know, sometimes I ask them; do you want a hug? And then they say yeah, and I gave them a hug. So yeah.

Zarbock: (clears throat) Uhm.. off camera, I told you, Ms. Queen, that we're happy to give you uh.. extra copies of your interview to be distributed as you see fit. And you said you'd like to send some to your children. So uhm.. would you sort of look over your shoulder for a minute about your life, and then tell the camera and the people who will be watching this, and your children who will be watching this; what have you all learned in this life? What, if you had to boil it down to a few simple comments, what would you say to your children? What would you say to the camera and the people who are listening?

Eunice Queen: The one thing that I have learned, and I hope my kids are learning, I think I've seen from what they are doing with their lives is better to do for others and you will receive your own reward. And you've always got time for someone else. You've always got time for someone else. There is nothing that you have to do this minute that you can't take time for someone else.

Zarbock: Ms. Queen, it's been a pleasure to meet you. Thank you.

Eunice Queen: Thank you, Paul.

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