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Rachel Lanz's story from Fair Oaks

At Fair Oaks Lodge, Rachel Lanz has a fine story to kick off the new year. Rachel was born in 1933 near Rapid City, S.D. Her father, William, was an evangelical preacher, and her mother's name was Mabel.

By the time Rachel graduated from high school in 1953, the family had moved to a place near Los Angeles. It was while studying nursing at a college there that Rachel met Chester (Chet) Lanz, a theology student. They were married in 1958.

In 1959, Chet's first assignment was far inland to a place in Minnesota called Montevideo. After a time there he was sent to Portland, Ore., where they lived for many years. They really liked the climate there.

Rachel worked as a nurse in a Portland hospital for 30 years, and Chet went from preaching to driving a Portland City bus in 1965. They have three girls and three boys.

Becoming a city bus driver was a real challenge for mild-mannered, quiet Chet Lanz. Dealing with city roughnecks, who often rode the bus to make excitement, was new to him.

When I did Chet's story two years ago, he told me about one traumatic time for him: three husky roughnecks boarded his bus and directly began to act up, picking on other passengers, see? Well, Chet couldn't have that so he asked them to be quiet.

By that time, those rascals knew they had Chet's attention and got worse. Another few miles and he warned them again. Since they weren't listening, he parked the bus, put on a mean face, and stomped back there. He said: "That's enough! You will either behave on my bus or I'll make you wish your had."

Then he went back to driving, sick to his stomach as he realized what he had said, "or you'll wish you had" was a threat, wasn't it?

"What could I, a guy who had never even kicked a cat, do to those big guys?" he wondered. "I drove another tense few miles then breathed a sigh of relief when they got off my bus. You can bet I never did that again."

Chet and Rachel lived in one of the Fair Oaks Apartments before he became a resident in Fair Oaks Lodge. They moved back to Minnesota when three of their children became farmers. Chet died several months ago.

Rachel pays no attention to television. She would rather play a game. She is a whiz at dominoes and misses the times she and several of her friends played for hours.

When Rachel wasn't playing a game she made many granny squares that she turned into afghans and pillows.

Rachel thinks this has been a slow winter so far but she is enjoying family and may even be back in her apartment, who knows?