Written by Charlene Martin
I believe that into everyones life comes a special person that will make a lasting difference. Someone that can have a major influence on you. Myself, as well as the community of Los Banos have been blessed to have had such a person in our midst. A giving, thoughtful, kind, helpful, intelligent, compassionate and “always there for you”, kind of friend. I am writing about Carol Beth (Merrick) Booher. Carol came into my life or perhaps I came into hers as a young teen. Many of her classmate girl friends knew her longer than I, as their friendship goes back to their Kindergarten days at Los Banos Elementary School. Some of her best lifelong classmate friends were , Nini (Patricio) Freitas, Doris ( Ferry) Carlucci, Betty (Germino) Brotherson, Gloria (Paradiso) Escallier and Hazel (Dickens) Hird. I lived in the country and attended Volta school, so my first meeting with Carol was in the eighth grade when I joined the Rainbow Girls Assembly. Rainbow Girls was a very active community service organization for teen age girls. Carol and her sister, Glenda and I all served as Worthy Advisors. All through High School Carol attended and sang in the choir of the United Methodist Church located directly across the street from the Merrick home on J street. (This site is now occupied by Wells Fargo Bank.) One day Carol invited me to attend church with her and thus began my lifelong commitment to Jesus Christ, and the Methodist Church. Carol shared much in her life, but this invitation, for me, became life changing and was by far one of the most important acts that she performed for me in my life.
Our friendship continued through High School and beyond. In High School we acted in school plays, played in the band, worked on the school newspaper, planned dances and served on a multitude of committees. Then after graduation, we both went off to college, found our loves, and married. We then returned making Los Banos our home, working and raising our children in a small town atmosphere. We each had four children, two boys and two girls. We both suffered losses and heartache and we were there to console each other through the rough spots. But, we joyfully celebrated with each other in the good times and there were many. Our association continued as I taught school and Carol became the school nurse. We were often assigned to work at the same schools. We were not only connected at work, but socially, as well . Our husbands worked together within the school district and we attended many functions together. The Martins and the Boohers had cabins in the Odd Fellows park above Sonora and spent days in the summer and winter with the children and other Los Banos families.
I always felt like Carol was my own private nurse as she was always on call for me and my family. As a little boy, my son, Chuck suffered from asthmatic bronchitis and under the pediatricians orders from Valley Children’s hospital Carol volunteered to come to our home to give Chuck an antibiotic injection once a month. When Chuck saw Carol’s car come into the drive way, he would scream and run wildly around the house looking for a place to hide from “Shotter Lady”, as he called her. Carol worried that Chuck would grow up hating her. But, as fate would have it, Nurse Carol worked at the school where Chuck became principal and he and Carol were always best of friends.
Carol was such an influence on me that I named my second daughter, Carol. My daughter Carol also became a nurse and Carol Booher became a role model and mentor for her. Carol often mentioned how honored she was to have a name sake.
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