By Mary Kay Hopkins
I have been painting at the Dunmore Senior Center for 13 years now. Where does the time go? I was wandering around trying to decide what to do with my life after having been diagnosed with breast cancer.
I decided to try my hand at painting, and I was welcomed with open arms by Jill Swersie, our teacher, and her students, who changed my life. The years flew by. I blossomed, as all of Jill’s students did.
Then COVID reared its ugly head. The Center had to shut down. My husband of 55 years was hit by a car and died 13 days later from his injuries. A year later, I was once again diagnosed with breast cancer. This time, I relied on my painting ability to get me through.
Jill is not currently teaching at the Center due to the virus, but a few vaccinated students still get together there to paint. We miss Jill and wait for her return. She always knows what colors to mix together or to add to a painting to make it pop!
I am proud to have some of my paintings displayed at the wonderful Mansours Restaurant in Scranton’s Hill Section. Because there are so many in need right now, all my sales are being donated to the local food bank.
I am now working on a portrait of one of my dogs, aptly named “Trouble.” Happily, I am also in full remission and enjoying life.
Note from Dolly Michalczyk: When I joined the oil painting class at the Dunmore Senior Center, I only knew one person there, and I had never painted before. When I saw the beautiful paintings that people were working on, I was quite intimidated.
Mary Kay Hopkins was like a Welcome Wagon, encouraging me, giving me suggestions, and loaning me items that I didn’t have. I was so uptight.
She would greet me with a smile and throughout the class ask, “Are you having fun, yet?” I would answer with a crabby, “No!”
Because of Mary Kay and the welcoming people like her, I stuck it out, and, yes, and after 12 years, I can say that I am still painting and having fun! In so many ways, Mary Kay is an inspiration to us all.