For 90-year-old Merna Priestley, knitting hats is now muscle memory.The Millard Good Samaritan Society resident first learned how to make hats eight years ago when she took a class at the facility.Since then, she’s knitted hats and afghan blankets and made a profit.Before the pandemic began, she’d knit hats with her late friend’s daughter every other Monday, but since March, it’s been a lonely year for Priestley. So she pulled out her yarn, and made dozens of hats.”I like to keep my hands busy,” she said. “I get kind of tired being shut in the room.”Normally, Priestley would set up a table and sell her work to visitors and residents, but that’s not possible with the pandemic. The home’s activity director, David Castillo, stepped in to help and put the word out on social media.”We started getting calls left and right. I was answering these calls, putting orders together and making sure that I met people outside to get those hats to them,” Castillo said.In a matter of time, Priestley was sold out.”They sold my hats. They’re all gone and I could’ve sold more,” she said.Priestley is taking a break from knitting because her fingers are feeling the strain.”I’m frustrated is what I am, I can’t work on them,” she said.She said she’s made enough money from her projects to buy an iPad. She’s using that to FaceTime her family for Thanksgiving. She prefers that over phone calls.”It’s much more fun to do it that way,” she said.Castillo said the home is handing out Thanksgiving meals to residents and livestreaming fun activities for them.”It is very important to me that individuals have the opportunity to grow, the opportunity to continue to have that normality in their lives,” he said.He said he enjoys finding creative ways to help residents from window visits to helping people like Priestley put out her product.”At the end of the day, it’s all about Merna. Her listening to those calls and those stories, it really brought that positivity. It really put a smile on her face and I think that’s very important especially during these times,” the activity director said.Priestley said she’s thankful for where she lives and donates part of her earnings back to the facility.”This is home to me,” she said. “They’ve been real good to me. They’re real good to me.”In the meantime, Priestley eagerly awaits for when she can get back to work on her hats. For now, she’s spending her free time reading.

For 90-year-old Merna Priestley, knitting hats is now muscle memory.

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The Millard Good Samaritan Society resident first learned how to make hats eight years ago when she took a class at the facility.

Since then, she’s knitted hats and afghan blankets and made a profit.

Before the pandemic began, she’d knit hats with her late friend’s daughter every other Monday, but since March, it’s been a lonely year for Priestley. So she pulled out her yarn, and made dozens of hats.

Homemade knitted hats by Merna Priestley

Good Samaritan Society Millard location

Homemade knitted hats by Merna Priestley.

“I like to keep my hands busy,” she said. “I get kind of tired being shut in the room.”

Normally, Priestley would set up a table and sell her work to visitors and residents, but that’s not possible with the pandemic. The home’s activity director, David Castillo, stepped in to help and put the word out on social media.

“We started getting calls left and right. I was answering these calls, putting orders together and making sure that I met people outside to get those hats to them,” Castillo said.

In a matter of time, Priestley was sold out.

“They sold my hats. They’re all gone and I could’ve sold more,” she said.

Priestley is taking a break from knitting because her fingers are feeling the strain.

“I’m frustrated is what I am, I can’t work on them,” she said.

She said she’s made enough money from her projects to buy an iPad. She’s using that to FaceTime her family for Thanksgiving. She prefers that over phone calls.

“It’s much more fun to do it that way,” she said.

Castillo said the home is handing out Thanksgiving meals to residents and livestreaming fun activities for them.

“It is very important to me that individuals have the opportunity to grow, the opportunity to continue to have that normality in their lives,” he said.

He said he enjoys finding creative ways to help residents from window visits to helping people like Priestley put out her product.

“At the end of the day, it’s all about Merna. Her listening to those calls and those stories, it really brought that positivity. It really put a smile on her face and I think that’s very important especially during these times,” the activity director said.

Priestley said she’s thankful for where she lives and donates part of her earnings back to the facility.

“This is home to me,” she said. “They’ve been real good to me. They’re real good to me.”

In the meantime, Priestley eagerly awaits for when she can get back to work on her hats. For now, she’s spending her free time reading.

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