By Sharon Abrahams
I met with Pat Kolle on Friday, December 14, in her lovely home. She was born in Pennsylvania and grew up in Lansdowne, PA. She remembered that she went to kindergarten in Philadelphia, on 52nd and Pine Street, and that she lived only a block away from her school. (There was a park across the street from her house.) She attended the Lansdowne Public Schools and then went to Drexel University, which in those days was called Drexel Institute of Technology.
Pat met her husband in eighth grade and there was an instant connection between the two of them. Apparently, he took his time in asking her out, but Pat noticed that any time she went anywhere, he soon materialized there too. (Fred and his sisters were born in Bolivia and came to the United States when Fred was six. His parents were American. In fact, his father was recognized as the first person to bring modern vehicular transportation to Brazil and to Bolivia.) They married in 1950 and were married forty-six years until he died in 1996.
Pat has four children, ten grandchildren, and two great grandchildren. She volunteered an amusing anecdote concerning her daughters. For years, whenever she would refer to AAUW, her children always thought that she was going to AA.
Pat also revealed that she and Fred were the very first husband and wife to be graduated from Drexel at the same time, in the same class. After they both graduated from Drexel, Pat joined Fred at Quantico, as he had been recalled to the marines for Officers Candidate School. She spent over a year there with him. Then they moved from Quantico to Cherry Point, North Carolina, where they lived over a year and where her oldest daughter was born.
We talked about the places she has traveled to. It’s an impressive list. She has been to England around seven times, Ireland, Scotland, Germany, France, Spain, Portugal, North Africa, the Caribbean Islands, and Bolivia, Chile, Argentina, and Venezuela among other South America countries.
She first learned of AAUW in the second year of its existence. She met Connie Yancy, who introduced her to AAUW. She particularly likes the different programs that AAUW offers. She is very proud of two events that she participated in, many years ago, with a group of other AAUW members, plus members of other local organizations. One was getting the library moved from downtown Yardley to where it is today. The second was the preservation of Five Mile Woods. Builders wanted to purchase the land to build homes. Her group of women, and women from other local organizations, fought to prevent that; and they succeeded.
What are some of her concerns are with regard to today’s society? She answered that there is a pervasive lack of politeness. Also, no one seems to think any more. Children exhibit inappropriate behavior and have too much permissiveness, which never seems to be addressed by their parents.
Pat then was asked what makes her angry and what makes her sad. People displaying poor manners and being disloyal make her angry. What makes her happy is seeing her grandchildren all successful and healthy.
I asked her if she could have two wishes magically granted, what they would be. Her number one wish was to have her husband back. Her number two wish was that her family could always be happy and healthy.
Pat’s hobby is reading. She prefers historical novels and mysteries.
I wanted to inject a fun question, so I asked Pat what she would choose if a great chef would make a dinner gratis for her and her guests, and it could be anything she wanted, from appetizer to dessert. Apparently, Pat is very easy to please, as she likes everything—well everything except two, cooked liver and brussels sprouts. Since she likes all foods, it was hard to pin her down. Finally she decided that she would choose some kind of a shellfish appetizer, prime rib cut very thin, roasted potatoes, any vegetable, and a fruit pie for dessert.
Finally, I asked her what she wished people knew about her. Her answer was that she is an open book. And then she told a sweet story that when she was two and a half, she sang in a church. She then admitted that she hasn’t been asked to sing since.
Pat is a very upbeat and happy person. It was a pleasure doing this interview with her.