West U Holds Lifetime Of Memories For Lifelong Friends
For Edna Wright and Irene Sanchez, one of the best things about living in West University Place is having each other as neighbors.
“She is the sweetest person,” Edna said. “She checks on me.”
Edna, 96, and Irene, 83, have been neighbors since 1955, when Irene and her husband, Alfonso, moved in two doors down from Edna and her husband, Bud on University Boulevard. Edna and Bud moved into their home in 1947.
Now, 55 years later, Edna and Irene, both widowed, are grateful to have each other and talk or see each other every day.
“We have to talk to each other,” Irene said.
When the two get together, they often reminisce about their lives in West U.
Edna moved to West U with her husband, Bud, from Bradford, Penn. in 1947 to their home on University Boulevard and has lived there ever since. She said they bought the house because it was quiet, but it’s not as quiet as it used to be.
“I fight to keep staying in my home,” she said. “It doesn’t look as nice as it did, but its home.”
Edna said if she had the money to tear down her house and rebuild, she wouldn’t. She likes her home just the way it is.
Edna and Bud were married in 1931; they were high school sweethearts.
Edna and Bud were never able to have children. She said they tried to adopt once, but she was told she was too old. She was 32.
She said if the Lord wanted her to have children, she would.
One of their favorite things to do together in West U was go square dancing. Bud wouldn’t dance with anyone but her. When people would ask them why he only would dance with her he would say, “She’s the only one who helps me.”
“He was a good man,” Irene said to Edna while they sat and chatted together one afternoon. “They’re hard to find.”
Edna’s mother, Anne Hoffman, lived with her and Bud until the day she died. Edna said Bud did so much for her mother.
“I couldn’t do enough for her,” she said.
Bud never liked Edna to wear slacks. She said she never wore slacks until after he died.
“I was a lady,” she said. “I was so proud.”
Bud worked for Dresser Manufacturing and was transferred to Houston. Edna worked for Southern States Optical for 20 years, and retired after Bud died from heart trouble in 1979.
“I feel so thankful to be here [in West U],” she said.
Irene was born and raised in Houston, but has lived in the home she and her husband, Alfonso, bought on University Boulevard since 1955.
Irene and Alfonso met after seeing each other walking downtown and waiting at the bus stop. Eventually he asked her to be his girlfriend and they married in 1946.
They have four children, Wayne, 56, Al, 52, David, 48 and Patricia, 43.
Irene and Alfonso enjoyed dancing together and would often get dressed up and go to Fiestas Patrias Grand Ball.
“She dressed beautifully,” Edna said of Irene.
Alfonso was a tailor for Norton Ditto and was always exceptionally dressed. Edna remembers seeing Alfonso mowing the lawn in his tailored clothes.
Irene worked for Marsh and McLennan where she handled casualty policies. She retired in 1987 and started working for Belmont Constructors. She handled their insurance and workers compensation claims. She retired in 1991 because Belmont Constructors went broke. She said she’d still be working for them if she could.
One of Irene’s favorite things to do was travel. Some of the places she visited include New Zealand, Germany and Bali.
“I love Germany,” she said. “It’s so beautiful.”
Irene has made friends all over the world and still writes letters to many of them.
“If she could go, she would,” Edna said of Irene’s passion for traveling.
Irene was widowed in 1986, after Alfonso died of pancreatic cancer.
“You have to be independent,” she said. “You can’t depend on someone your whole life.”
Both Edna and Irene feel privileged to live in West U because of the services that are provided for seniors and being able to be such close neighbors for so long.
“I’m still young,” Irene said. “I don’t feel old.”