One Small Voice
by Laura McGaffey
Articles originally published in "The Voice in the Desert"

Lola Baker
May 2005

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Because my brother was born one week before my second birthday my parents invariably celebrated with one party and one cake on the Saturday between "our" days. I hate to admit that I didn't handle it too gracefully when I was young! Lola Baker, however, has always enjoyed spending her birthday with her younger sister. They were born two years apart and for the past 83 years they have been together on March 19 to celebrate their lives.

Lola Baker was the fourth of ten children, seven of whom are still living. She was born in Birmingham, Alabama, then her family moved to Phoenix when she was 17 months old. She was married to Roscoe Baker for 53 years. After Roscoe retired from 35 years with MJB Coffee and their four sons and two daughters were grown they moved to Sunsites on June 19, 1978.

One wall of Lola's lovely home is covered with photos of her large family. One photo is particularly special to Lola. It is of a lovely young woman - a grandchild who was kidnapped by her father when she was two years old and who found her way back to her mother and grandmother only two years ago. When the young woman went to the Social Security office to ask about her relatives she was told that they could not give out any information even though she knew names and limited details about where they lived. Fortunately, the clerk at the office told her to write a letter to her family and he mailed it to the addresses he had on file. Because a clerk at the Social Security office took a risk, Lola's granddaughter was reunited with her family. By the time you read this Lola and her family will have celebrated not only the return of this long lost angel but a wedding none of her family ever thought they'd see.

When the weather cooperates Lola goes for long morning hikes around the Sunsites neighborhood with her friend, Judy. On most Wednesdays, by 9:00 a.m. she is at the Sunsites ceramics club meeting room in the building behind the Sunsites-Pearce Fire Department. Lola is the club instructor and coordinator. The club owns a commercial grade kiln and scores of molds into which clay "slip" is poured to create everything from dolls to vases. Lola teaches various finishing techniques. The cost to do a project is quite reasonable.

Lola's home is an inspiration. It is filled with her exquisite art and craftwork. Lola is an expert at sewing and macrame and her ceramic creations look like museum pieces.

I want to thank Carol Skillman for writing to The Voice about Lola and introducing me to her. Next year I hope to meet Lola's younger sister and celebrate their birthday with them. They aleady have the occasion scheduled on their calendars.

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