Clovis News

Clovis Senior in the Spotlight: Bonnie Elfstrom

Bonnie Elfstrom
Bonnie Elfstrom

My name is Bonnie Elfstrom, born in 1934 in Luck, Wisconsin to Adolph and Gertrude Olesen. Adolph was a man of all trades. Gertrude was a mother to all and served her church. They had nine children: three boys and six girls. We had our own ball team and great parties, plus hundreds of relatives.

My dad made our skis, toboggans, sleds, furniture and Christmas decorations for the town’s people to enjoy. He rang the bell on the Danish Lutheran church every Sunday morning. Mom made the best cinnamon rolls — superior to all of today. She cooked for 11 people three times a day and made a cake every day for our snacks.

One of the best parts of that part of the country was the four seasons. The lakes froze and trucks pulled the ice house out on the lake for ice fishing. All the teenage boys did their speed skating all over the lake. What a sight to see!

I sang from an early age in schools, churches, weddings and small conventions. The ladies church society would let me sing “Jesus Loves Me.” My favorite farmer, Uncle Harvey, would not let me sing near his chicken house, as he said it made them lay their eggs irregular. From junior high to senior year, I won many medals and certificates competing in schools around the state. I was 16 when I won the Key Award and cash from the New York Art Institute.

I married my friend Chuck Elfstrom in the spring of 1953. Two months later he was sent to North Africa at an Air Force base until November of 1954. In January of 1955 we were sent to Castle Air Force Base in Merced. Our first daughter Julene was born in 1955. In 1956 we moved to Fresno so Chuck could further his career and go to college. In 1958 our son Bill was born and we moved into our new house. In 1959 our daughter Betty was born. In 1960 our daughter Cullie was born.

I still sang everywhere I was needed. I was a Girl Scout leader, cookie lady, home room mother, sang in the church choir and I served on the PTA, church council and the church ladies’ group.

In 1978 I received my degree in cosmetology and opened my own beauty shop located at the rear of my home. Everything legal, of course. I did hair designs on young and old.

My daughter Julene was employed by EECU for 33 years. She passed away at the young age of 53 due to cancer.

My son Bill is in construction and his wife Carol is a court reporter. They gave me three grandchildren and five great-granddaughters.

My daughter Betty retired after 20 years in the Air Force. She is employed by MGM. She gave me two grandchildren.

My daughter Cullie is employed by Lowe’s. She gave me three granddaughters and five great-grandchildren: three boys and two girls. I enjoy them all.

My husband Chuck passed away in 1991 due to a long illness. He was a fine military man, husband, father, grandfather and friend to all who needed him.

In 1995 I moved four miles north from my home into the City of Clovis. I bought a condo in a gated community.

I belonged to the Clovis Historical Society. We brought the Tarpey Depot back to Clovis. My son Bill and two grandsons, Sean and Derrick cleared the lot where the depot now sits. We bought a brick with our name on it to be placed in back of the depot. I also belonged to Edison Social Club, Moose Lodge, Elks Emblem Club the Clovis Legion Post 147. I took a chair or post in each of these organizations.

Twenty years ago I started to date and travel. I have traveled to Hawaii three times, Manhattan Island three times, cruised three times, crossed the country, West Coast to East Coast, plus flying back and forth to Wisconsin too many times to count and bus trips with the Clovis Senior Activity Center.

I am a firm fan of all Fresno State sports, regardless of the score — go Bulldogs!

I still crochet pot scrubbers and Afghans to donate to charity. I have reacquainted myself to the senior center. Some of the people I know and met 20 years ago. They provide us with food, fun and frolic. Yes, you should see them dance. Everyone has a smile and greets you. Seniors serving seniors.

I am grateful to the City of Clovis for giving us this establishment. There are no strangers.