‘Very excited church basement women’ embody strong Iowa tradition

Happy hour entertainment at the Perry Lutheran Home Spring Valley Campus includes throw-back clothes worn by volunteers, from left, Lois Hoger, Ginny Peters, Kathy Fox and Marilyn Herrick. Not pictured is volunteer Sally Radke. Photo courtesy Lois Hoger

A group of local ladies who provide volunteer entertainment at local nursing homes and assisted-living facilities brings a dramatic flair to their charity.

Calling themselves “the very excited church basement women,” the local ladies entertained residents this week at the Perry Lutheran Home Spring Valley Campus during the campus’ Happy Hour.

To bring the quickly disappearing past to life, the ladies don the standard uniform worn by Iowa farm wives and domestic matrons for much of the 19th and 20th centuries. The outfit is still in evidence around the countryside today.

The volunteers include Lois Hoger, Ginny Peters, Kathy Fox, Marilyn Herrick and Sally Radke. They said they find joy in visiting the community’s elders.

“For those who knew my mother, Sylvia,” Hoger said, “Yes, I am very much like her! She and Aunt Elaine would have been smiling and proud. And I am wearing Grandma Stark’s dress. It even fits me.”



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