Rose, Retired and Still Cookin’

San Francisco “is good, but not to raise a family.”

Rose at the Fresno Chile Festival


Meet Rose. While retired, she spends her days cooking for friends and family.

I met Rose at the Fresno Chile Festival. She struck a conversation with me as I ate, with indifference, a tamale I bought from a vendor. Well, I shouldn’t say we directly talked to each other. Rose and I quickly admitted to each other that we rarely use our hearing aids. Comfort is not included in the hefty price of a hearing aid. Ben, my recurring photographer, served double-duty as our translator as Rose and I strained to communicate over the live music in the background.

Besides bonding over hearing aids, she and I got to know each other as Fresno natives can. Born and raised in Fresno, she moved to San Francisco soon after she married. While she enjoyed the city, she didn’t think it was the best for her children. Rose says that life on the peninsula was “good, but not to raise a family. I felt too cooped up in the apartments.” She added that there was little room outside for her kids to run around even when they were small, and that they only had the chance when she took them to a park. After living in San Francisco for eight years, Rose and her family moved back to Fresno.

Rose also talked about her background working at local hospitals. She has worked at Fresno Comunity Hospital, Saint Agnes and Valley Children’s Hospital. It’s wonderful listening how she worked her way up from doing the laundry to being a surgical technician.

After thirty years working at local hospitals, Rose finally retired. Instead of taking it easy, she spends her time cooking several hundred tamales each week for her friends and family. “I can’t stay still for long,” Rose says. She doesn’t make too much money, she says. That’s not the point. Instead, it’s about doing something nice for everyone in her neighborhood. In any case, she says it’s best to stay active when you are retired.

If I ever get to be her age, I hope I have half her energy. It was wonderful talking to Rose and easily one of the day’s highlights.

Have a lovely day in Fresno!

Veronica Stumpf

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