Written by Marlene Pattinson
“I died.” That’s how Arlene Shovald declares she came to live in and love Chaffee County, Colorado, having narrowly survived a severe asthma attack in her hometown of Iron River, Michigan. She was told to move to a warmer, dryer climate if she wanted to live. And today, 45 years later, she is still alive and thriving in Salida!
Arlene spent her first couple of years here working for the Salida Hospital as a Nurse Aide, and writing - always writing. When a reporting job opened up at The Mountain Mail, she quickly jumped on it. She had been an editor for a weekly newspaper in Michigan and this was just the thing for her. She had a weekly cooking column called Arlene’s Cuisine (perhaps you've seen it?) and loved interviewing people for articles. Although Arlene retired from the Salida paper in April, 2022 with a remarkable 50 year career in journalism, she continues to contribute to the paper, and has also written seven books! “Because,” she chuckles, “I just love to write.”
“I always thought I was so dumb; dumb as a box-a-rocks, because I wasn’t very good at math. I’m still not. But then a friend got me to take a free adult education course at CMC (Colorado Mountain College) and I realized just how fun learning can be,” says Arlene with sparkles in her eyes. So, at age 49, while working full time at the paper and raising her family, she started college. More than 10 years later, at 60 years of age, Arlene had acquired a PhD in Transpersonal Psychology (mind, body, and spirit healing methods), Certification in Hypnotherapy, Past Life Regression Therapy, and Reiki Therapy. She combined these and other accomplishments into a business she calls Fresh Start Therapies, LLC in 1998, and which she successfully runs to this day.
Now, if this all seems like a lot for one small, spunky, 83 year old woman, you would be right. But Dr. Shovald is also teaching herself to play the French Horn, and she exercises every day for at least an hour for her scoliosis, (loves to swim at the pool!). She’s also passionate about baking, decorating for all the holidays, having parties, trying to find people who have disappeared, reading, gardening (especially petunias), and being with her children and grandkids. “I'd like to leave the world a better place, like I did something good for somebody, like with the therapy and with the things I’ve written,” says Arlene. She’s certainly succeeding.