Story of Marijane Guth & Doris Harvey: Getting Off the Rocking Chair

Northwest  |  April 19, 2019
Article & Photo: By F. W. Huang Translate by Shu-Hui Phreya Wu

“Come and meet two super cute grannies!” exclaimed one of the Tzu Chi volunteers helping at the Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) in Paradise. 

Marijane Guth and Doris Harvey looked like two happy children as they licked the lollipops they’d just received from a volunteer. Everyone could sense the large room’s somber atmosphere becoming more cheerful.

 Then Marijane’s happy face began streaming with uncontrollable tears, as she sobbed her gratitude for the Tzu Chi volunteers’ selfless attention. She kept thanking them for all their emotional support and care.

 On Nov. 30, 2018, Marijane visited the DRC in Paradise to keep her friend Doris company while she applied for a cash card. A volunteer named Y. Huang told Marijane would need to come back in two days in order to receive her own cash card, so the two women made a friendly date to meet again on Dec. 1.

 Marijane arrived that day with a big smile that spread to her eyes when she spotted Volunteer Huang waiting for her. “You kept your promise, and came back to see me!”

 It was like the reunion of two long-lost relatives. The 87-year-old Marijane struggled to express her appreciation.

 “Every volunteer has interacted with us in his or her own way,” she explained. “Each brings a unique sense of inspiration and encouragement, unlike anything I’ve experienced before.” 

 She continued passionately: “The fire has made me decide to stop worrying and keep moving on. Our only option is to refuse to worry.”

 Volunteer Huang replied in a thoughtful voice: “Constantly worrying is like sitting on a rocking chair: You can only move back and forth without actually getting anywhere.”

 “Wow! Now you inspire me!” Marijane smiled back.

 Marijane added that she and Doris had been planning to leave town on Dec. 12, but Doris didn’t have an appointment to receive the cash card and so their departure was postponed. She was concerned that the appointment might not be until after they had to leave.

 As the grannies were about to say goodbye, another volunteer named Curtis stopped to say hello. Volunteer Huang explained the women’s situation. Curtis regretted that the older women had to make several more trips to the DRC.

 It was late in the day and few people remained, so Curtis started checking Doris’ processing status. He said they should be able to rearrange things so the ladies could avoid having to make another trip.

 The ladies were overjoyed and said excitedly, “How can you guys be such angels? This is completely outrageous!” Doris’ eyes were becoming teary.

 The volunteers waited with Marijane and Doris until the processing was completed and Doris had received her cash card. The grannies posed for photos with the volunteers and began their new life with new hope and optimism. 

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