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Marilyn's Story

Patient, Wife, Mother

I’m Marilyn Bernice Cooper Werble Nelson. Marilyn is for Manya, my mother’s grandmother’s name, and Bernice is for Beatrice, my father’s mother’s name. Cooper is my mother’s family name. Werble is my father’s. Nelson is my husband’s name, and so I don’t really have any name of my own.

Having grown up in Flushing Queens, New York City, and having studied ballet at the old Metropolitan Opera House in New York, I graduated from Smith College with degrees in microbiology and dance, and after living several years in Manhattan, moved with my husband (a physician), children, and my cat and my dog to an artists’ ranch in the Catalina Mountains outside Tucson, in Oracle, Arizona – [RLV] Rancho Linda Vista. Although I had spent my early years in a suburban home – I was really a child of Golden’s Bridge, a Communist summer colony on a manmade lake in a small town about 75 miles north of Manhattan, where my parents, aunts and uncles visited, and my grandparents lived. It was there I began my life as a communard.

My husband and I have a large collection of art, mostly from folks that were associated with the ranch or from our travels. On the ranch, we raised two daughters and one son (each very talented), and lived with many creatures (puppies, cats, and ranch dogs who found their way to our home). I directed plays at SPATS, the local theater in Oracle, which performed deliciously silly melodramas, taught dance classes at home on the ranch, worked as a nurse, and collected tons of costume jewelry. We hosted many large joyful Thanksgiving dinners and wonderful parties around the rickety yet expanding wooden kitchen table that always had room for one more person. Most important to me are my family and the friends in my life.

About sixteen years ago, I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, and my only inspirational thought to share is that Parkinson’s disease sucks! But – that is as it is!

I’m Marilyn Bernice Cooper Werble Nelson. Marilyn was for Manya, my mother’s grandmother’s name, and Bernice was for Beatrice, my father’s mother’s name. Cooper was my mother’s name. Werble was my father’s name, and Nelson is my husband’s. My name says where I come from and where I went in my life. By keeping their names as mine, I hold these people close to me and have hope that it helps keep their names and teachings alive, well into the future.

Marilyn Nelson, Age 72, USA

Living with Parkinson’s

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