Creating at the Sherwood Senior Center
Al Quatrocchi, 95, grew up during the Great Depression, and his family couldn't afford many luxuries.
"I barely knew what toys were," he joked while sitting at a table at the Marjorie Stewart Community Center, an array of handmade wooden toy cars and trucks arranged in front of him.
Since moving to Sherwood with his wife in 2003, Quatrocchi has donated these handmade toys to the Butterfly Boutique, the gift shop inside Sherwood's senior center. He said he makes sure the toys are sold at affordable prices, and also donates them to charitable causes like Dorenbecher Children's Hospital, so that all kids have the opportunity to enjoy them.
"A lot of kids can't afford toys," he said. "So I'm glad to do it, and I enjoy it."
Quattrocchi is one of the many Sherwood senior citizens giving back to their community through arts and crafts. The Butterfly Boutique, near the entrance of the Center, isn't much larger than a broom closet, but it's brimming with vintage and handmade jewelry; knit and crocheted scarves, blankets, sweaters and more; more wood products like Quatrocchi's toys; and other whimsical wares.
The Butterfly Boutique sells its products on consignment, and keeps 15 percent of its proceeds. That money is funneled back into the Center, funding trips, decorations and more.
"It stays right here in our center," said Jenny Reiser, a volunteer who runs the shop. "It doesn't go out of the building."
Fran Newham knits soft, colorful baby blankets for the Boutique. She's been knitting and crocheting since she was a young girl growing up in England.
"I remember when I was about 4, I came back from my great aunt's house — she was a huge knitter — and got some string and a couple of pencils, and taught myself how to do it," she said. "And I've been doing it ever since."
Reiser recounted one of Newham's recent sales, to two women searching for a baby shower gift. They hadn't been able to find what they were looking for in Tualatin, so they wondered into the Center and were taken with a particular blanket. Reiser called Newham to tell her she'd made a sale, and mentioned that the recipient would be named Vitoria Rose. It turns out that Rose was also Newham's mother's middle name.
"They were so excited, and they said, 'We're going to tell this new mother that she's naming the baby after the English mother,'" Reiser remembered.
Center volunteer Anne Poe also contributes knitted goods to the boutique, as does Norma Gronholm, whose doll and baby clothes are sometimes modeled by Barbies.
Woodworker Alan Pearson, a retired professor, doesn't sell his products at the Butterfly Boutique, but he does teach an informal woodworking class at the Center once a week. Pearson took up the hobby after retiring about 11 years ago.
He recently completed a collection of canes with intricately detailed handles, and gave them out for free to anyone at the Center who needed one.
"This one I kept for me," he said, holding up one of his canes. "This is a gargoyle. I'm kind of into fantasy figures."
The people who frequent the Marjorie Stewart Community Center may no longer have formal jobs, but Pearson's handiwork, and the products for sale at the Butterfly Boutique, are proof that these seniors are still hard at work.