April 16, 2012
The following story was written by Zorina Thomas, from Edmonton, Alberta. Zorina has recently been enrolled in a literacy program at P.A.L.S., in Edmonton.
Zorina Thomas was born 4th in a family of 14 kids in Oakville Ontario. Her mother was Spanish and English and her father was Blackfoot Indian and Zulu African. Her mother was a nurse's assistant and her father was a rig driver. It was a busy household and she mostly remembers her mom pregnant and washing dishes. Her parents both worked full time and the kids mostly raised themselves. They were very strict and she was raised to be respectful of her elders.
Zorina was a tomboy and enjoyed volleyball and running as a young girl. She was a good student and did well at school. As a teenager she dropped out of high school in grade 10 and went to work on the assembly line at the E.D. Smiths Cannery in Wiona, Ont. She hates canned peaches to this day.
She met her first husband in Bancroft Ontario while visiting her parents and was with him for 10 years from 18 to 28. She had one son with him she named Daniel. Her husband worked as a miner in uranium mine and had a drinking problem so the relationship was difficult. Zorina tried hard to make the marriage work but she and her son moved to Edmonton in the 70's to start over.
She worked in home care in Edmonton for about 6 years. She married her second husband, Richard and had another son she named after his father. Her boys are 10 years apart but were very close. Zorina has been working for years around Edmonton in retail; she stopped working about 2 years ago because she has cancer of the liver. Her memory and short term recall hae been affected by the medication she takes and she is finding taking classes with P.A.L.S. in math very helpful. She is also waiting for a literacy tutor.
Zorina is looking into taking Tai Chi and Yoga to help with her balance and spends a lot of time at the Don Wheaton YMCA to improve her physical condition and balance. She is separated from her husband of 34 years but spends a lot of time with her sisters and the family that followed her here from Ontario. Her youngest son is attending University back east. She is very proud of him.
Zorina enjoys P.A.L.S. and volunteers with Students for Students and in the library. She thinks P.A.L.S. is great and really enjoys coming. She says that people at P.A.L.S. are very nice and supportive. We all need help in some way. Everyone should come here!