Bonnie Gardiner came to Mount Carmel / Blessed Sacrament from another parish and has found a home. After working hard for a living, she has found volunteering in our parish a blessing. She says our people are very welcoming, and she tries to be a reflection of their care and concern.
You worked for New York Telephone for a while and then 25 years at Indium Corp. of America, performing a variety of tasks. Tell us about what you did.
I made solder paste while the department was just beginning in 1984. In my 25 years with Indium I did various jobs: cleaning punched metal parts and packing them and labeling. When they opened the plant in Clinton, I did packaging and labeling of different solder paste product and powder (metal).
It sounds like a lot of grueling work. You did it for more than two decades. How rewarding was that work?
I never thought of it as that. The women I worked with were welcoming and sharing of their knowledge of the job. It was important and necessary work, also, well paid. My bosses appreciated our dedication and expertise. College educated people don’t think that what we do matters, but without us, computers wouldn’t have come into being.
Were there many women working alongside you at the time and how was the work environment?
Our plant(s) were well kept and clean. The maintenance men were adept at their jobs of keeping our machines running and serviced. It was much like a family at Indium; even the bosses were liked and included in our everyday work. These people had a long history with each other, so I was glad to so welcomed. There were as many women as men with the company at that time in Utica and Clinton. It’s a worldwide company, has been for about 30 years, maybe more.
When you retired in 2009, you volunteered at the Presbyterian Home with Mollie Crumrine’s Bell Choir. Please describe what that was like.
Bell Choir at Presbyterian Home was fun. These residents were our friends and dedicated to playing and being with each other. We took pride in them; it meant a lot to them to have practice once a week and concerts twice a year. Their families enjoyed this, too, and were proud of their accomplishment.
You like to read, and during the spring and summer you do some gardening at your nephew’s home on Kayuta Lake. What does gardening do for you?
Gardening meant a lot when I owned my own home. Now I share myself with family and friends. Years ago, I did some gardening on the church grounds, but it’s not possible now that I’m older.
In our church, you sang with the choir, cantored and now are volunteering registering people for Saturday Mass and funerals. You also are a Eucharistic minister. What does volunteering do for your mental and spiritual well-being.
A year ago was the last of my cantoring. I probably should have given it up sooner but thought I needed to “help out” with our lessening of people who were cantors. Clearly, with my voice aging and the other cantors doing so well, I’m not needed. I loved the congregation smiling back at me (especially when I slipped up.)
You mentioned the camaraderie with members of the choir also helped you through a difficult time in your life. Please tell us about that and what those people mean to you?
When I first came to choir, I was newly divorced. I’m a lot older than most of these kids, but they were very accepting. I always thought of that time as a second or third childhood.
You were a parishioner of Sacred Heart Church and now call Mount Carmel / Blessed Sacrament home. What has our parish meant to you?
St. Mary of Mount Carmel / Blessed Sacrament is my family. Everyone smiles back, and like the sign says, “All are welcome.” It should say, “All Are Welcoming.”
How would you like Bonnie Gardiner to be thought of by others?
I’d like people to think of me as welcoming, too.
- Age: 78.
- Education: Whitesboro High School, class of 1960.
- Occupation: Retired; worked at New York Telephone and Indium Corp. of America.
- Family: Brother Bill and Donna Miller; sister Dorothy and Tom Suba
- Things you like to do in your spare time: Read mostly Regency Romance, but I just finished “Backlash” by Brad Thor.
- Favorite movie: “White House Down.”
- Favorite TV show: “NCIS.”
- Favorite musician: Barry Manilow.
- Favorite book: Bill O’Reilly’s “Legend and Lies: The Patriots.”