Women of the Northwest

Bonnie Lively-Threads of Resilience: Weaving Life's Challenges into Yarn

July 25, 2023 Bonnie LIvely Episode 73
Bonnie Lively-Threads of Resilience: Weaving Life's Challenges into Yarn
Women of the Northwest
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Women of the Northwest
Bonnie Lively-Threads of Resilience: Weaving Life's Challenges into Yarn
Jul 25, 2023 Episode 73
Bonnie LIvely

KMUN radio programs
Join Bonnie LIvely and me as we unravel the remarkable journey of her journey  from knitting hobby to wholesale yarn profession,

Facing financial hardships as a widow and single mom, she navigated the complexities of debt, discovering a deeper understanding of the logistics of debt management.

She transformed her life through sheer determination and resourcefulness. Discover how she merged her passion for fashion and background in sociology to thrive in the yarn industry.

Through her involvement in the National Needlework Association and a pioneering needle arts mentoring program, she empowered at-risk kids in her community, sparking a positive change through creativity. Tune in to explore her experiences running a yarn shop, teaching knitting at the college, and supporting after-school programs for children.

Delve into the inspiring stories of her theatrical endeavors, finding family and a sense of belonging in the world of theater. 

Alongside her daughter, she discovered healing through joint performances, and her commitment to community radio for over 30 years brought continues to bring her great joy. 

Join us on this insightful podcast as we stitch together the tapestry of resilience, embracing life's challenges with strength, creativity, and unwavering determination.

Subscribe to the Women of the Northwest podcast for inspiring stories and adventures.
Find me on my website: jan-johnson.com

Show Notes Transcript

KMUN radio programs
Join Bonnie LIvely and me as we unravel the remarkable journey of her journey  from knitting hobby to wholesale yarn profession,

Facing financial hardships as a widow and single mom, she navigated the complexities of debt, discovering a deeper understanding of the logistics of debt management.

She transformed her life through sheer determination and resourcefulness. Discover how she merged her passion for fashion and background in sociology to thrive in the yarn industry.

Through her involvement in the National Needlework Association and a pioneering needle arts mentoring program, she empowered at-risk kids in her community, sparking a positive change through creativity. Tune in to explore her experiences running a yarn shop, teaching knitting at the college, and supporting after-school programs for children.

Delve into the inspiring stories of her theatrical endeavors, finding family and a sense of belonging in the world of theater. 

Alongside her daughter, she discovered healing through joint performances, and her commitment to community radio for over 30 years brought continues to bring her great joy. 

Join us on this insightful podcast as we stitch together the tapestry of resilience, embracing life's challenges with strength, creativity, and unwavering determination.

Subscribe to the Women of the Northwest podcast for inspiring stories and adventures.
Find me on my website: jan-johnson.com

Jan: Okay, today my guest is Bonnie Lively. She's going to share with us some things about working at our local radio station, KMUN, and some of her hobbies knitting and some other things, and maybe who knows what are the interesting things we'll talk about. Welcome, Bonnie.

Bonnie: Well, thanks for having me. This is really fun. I had a life before KMUN.

Jan: Can you think back that far, really?

Bonnie: I've been with KMU and almost 30 years. Not quite, but before that I lived in Cannon Beach and my husband passed away in 92. And we had an electrical contracting business. So I kind of had to get unstuck from all of that. And then I serendipitously ended up in the wholesale end of the yarn business. And so what became my hobby really became my profession.

Jan: Okay.

Bonnie: And that was really kind of a leap of faith that I would do that. Because the way the industry works is you work on commission for selling yarn. For selling yarn, yeah, to retailers.

Jan: Okay.

Bonnie: So you're going around and they give you a big territory. They gave me Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and oh, so and all your expenses are your own. They don't pay you for your car or your gas or your motel or anything like so I hope that salary was conventional. Well, there was no salary. It was all commission. But the way it works is that if they sell the yarn and they have to reorder, it doesn't have to come through you. They can pick up the 800 number and order to reorder.

Jan: So you just be initial.

Bonnie: Yeah. You garner the shelf space. That's your job, is to sell the product and to get it on the shelf. And basically the best thing is to get the right product to the person, to the shop owner that is going to work for them. Right. Because you don't want to oversell them. Yeah. If you oversell them, then you're undermining your own success. And I always used to tell my shop owners that your success is my success. So if you're doing well with that yarn, I'm going to do well. So that's the goal, is we work together like that because so many people are so they have anxiety with salespeople. They're going to be pushing, and some of them are. I know that there are shop owners that won't allow certain sales reps to come in. And in my industry, there are very few of us. There were only maybe 100 of us nationwide that did this. Because being independent, since nobody's paying you a salary, you're not really a hired employee, you're a contract agent. So that means you can pick up more than one company.

Jan: I see.

Bonnie: So at one point I had like ten companies that I was representing because once you start and people get wind of you and then the shop owners like you, then all of a sudden companies are calling you and saying, can you rep for me? And so that's what happened. But initially it was just one big company and that was the luck of the draw, was that one large company hired me on the get go. And that doesn't often happen. Usually you start with little bitty companies that pay you nothing and if they pay you at. So I was very lucky to end up with Plymouth Yarn, which is a big company from the East Coast and they have probably over a hundred yarns in their line. So there was a lot of product to look know that sort of was good. But my first paychecks were really small and I'm going, oh my goodness, is this worth it? Right? I just remember knowing I was going to be really good at this. I just had that because I used to have a yarn shop in the 80s in Cannon Beach. So when the reps came to see me, I just so remember watching with their little case and they would roll the case out when they left and I just looked at them, I went, yeah, I'd be really good at that. But I had a husband and a daughter and just too many commitments to even think about that and I didn't even know how to do that, how to get well, because marketing, yes. Right. I have a degree from Fesh Institute of Technology, which is in marketing and merchandising. So I had know little nugget. And then I went back to school and got my BA from the University of Montana in sociology and social work. So I had kind of the people skills. So it's kind of interesting how those two industries kind of married each other and being able to counsel shop owners on what was good for them, how to help them. And then I wrote a newsletter and I would put shop tips in there, things like that. So I just had that kind of DNA, I guess that I just kind of had that idea I was going to be really good at this and just stick it out.

Jan: Well, and if you're going from shop to shot, they're all people that are your people.

Bonnie: Yes, exactly.

Jan: You already have that interest and that instant bonding.

Bonnie: That's right, exactly. That's right. They're all wonderful people. They're really naturally nice people that want to help their customers. And so you feel that with them. People would always say to me, oh, I don't know how you could do sales. No, you really have a passion for something, it comes through. Right. So you don't really need to sell that much. You just need to help somebody make the right decision.

Jan: Right.

Bonnie: And once they know that you're on their side.

Jan: And then when you see these certain yarns and you're going, oh, look at.

Bonnie: This, you got to have this. Yeah, exactly. So anyway, there's a whole thing. My daughter, when we start discussing this, and my daughter would say, mom, don't talk about yarn, just don't talk about yarn. Because she knew I'd take off. So I could maybe make a whole three hour presentation on that. But at the time when I started this business, I was in a lot of financial trouble because my husband died, we had no health insurance, so I owed everybody under the sun. And then to take on a job where I wasn't really getting a steady paycheck, that became a problem, and I still had to pay off a lot of debt. The one good thing is I always owned my home, and I sold my home, paid off a lot of that. We owned some property in Cannon Beach. I had to sell that and pay off that. So little by little I chopped away at it. But it took about ten years to get that all taken care of. But in the meantime, I started a program called and this was also accidental connection with a woman from the National Needle Arts Association, which was our trade organization. And I would go to trade shows with my company and sell in the booth and do all of that. We'd have meetings and dinners, and I got involved on that level. And I was having dinner with this woman who was on the education committee. And I had been teaching school kids in my community in Seaside and Cannon Beach. And so I was working with a school counselor, Marilyn North. I don't know if you're familiar with her, but she was the school counselor and she knew what knitting had done for me, and she said, I have at risk kids and would you be willing to come in and teach them? So I said, sure. So anyway, the education committee discovered that and said, would you be willing to start an educational program for the National Needle Arts Association? And so I went, oh, well, okay.

Jan: Why know, when I taught 6th grade, I taught my kids how I made little tiny looms for them. Oh, yeah, sure. So the wildlife was reading to them and doing things they had something to do with their hands. And especially the boys loved working with yarn.

Bonnie: Exactly.

Jan: It's kind of surprising, like you wouldn't normally think that the boys really enjoyed that.

Bonnie: Well, I did a program for the grade school in Cannon Beach when I had my shop, and I knew people in my customer base that were good at certain things. They're good at weaving or they were spinners or all of that. So I put together the school. My daughter's grade school teacher said, can you come in and we'll do a week of all this, just take a couple of hours in the morning. And so I set up all these little stations around the classroom and I had somebody who was carting the wool. Then we did the spinning, and then we had somebody teaching weaving and then the knitting and all of that. And then at the end of the week, they got to pick their favorite thing that they wanted to do. And the boys loved the spinning, the spinning wheel. And so I was really surprised about that. Yeah. And I still had kids up until maybe 1015 years ago, but they would still come up to me and go, oh, Mrs. Lively, I still knit and I still remember you coming to our.

Jan: Class and so why aren't we doing more of that?

Bonnie: Yeah, well, this is exactly what the education committee at Tnna wanted me to do. So I started local and Marilyn and I got a group of my knitting students together that I had been teaching for the college. I taught knitting for the college for a number of years, too. So I had this group of older women and we started a mentoring program. So we called it needle Arts mentoring program. And so I brought the adults into the school system. We started in Seaside and then it expanded and we did one in Astoria. Well, then all of a sudden the National Needle Arts Association got wind of it and then they started writing articles about me and this whole thing nation. So now I had to get an 800 number. Then I was getting phone calls from people that wanted to start a program in their community. And I'd go to Seattle and of course I had the territory. So at night when I was in Seattle, I'd go to a knitting group and I'd talk about it and they'd get something going in one of their schools. So it really expanded in a very quick amount of time. Of course, the National Needle Arts Association supplied all the supplies, so they gave me the books and the needles and the yarn and we did yarn companies have yarn that's stuffed in corners like a lot of us anyway. Well, the wholesalers are glutted with that stuff and they're looking for places to get rid of it. So that kind of ended up being another job on top of repping. So that's what we were doing. We were doing sessions once a week and the schools would we had to go through a lot of hoops, though, to get it in the school. There was liability issues. How are the kids going to get home after it was an after school program, right? But we started in the mid ninety s. And that was when Bill Clinton had the Title Nine thing and he was promoting after school programs for children, so we kind of tapped into that. And then of course, I had to go to the National Neon Arts Association every six months and I'd have to stand up in front of all the wholesalers and give presentations about the progress and then they donated. So my basement became the shipping department with the books because everybody was sending me all the stuff and then I had to ship it off. So I had to hire somebody to help me do that because I was on the road a lot. But at any rate, it kind of got to be more than and I knew where the money was and I knew the money was not in the nonprofit for me. I had to bail myself out of all this financial debt. And I was almost 50 years old by that time. So I was starting over, completely over. So I knew that I had to really make up for lost time if I was ever going to have any retirement at all, right. So anyway, it became kind of a decision making process for me. I developed it. I did make it a nonprofit. I made it a 501 so that people could take the tax deductions when they donated stuff and everything. And so we had a board of directors and we had people from all over the country on the board. So we had one guy, the vice president of Karen International. I don't know if you're familiar with that, but if you go into like Joanne's or Walmart or someplace, their Karen yarns are they're big. Anyway, so I made the decision because then of course I was approached by another big company to pick them up. And so I picked them up and then I didn't really need the money from the nonprofit anymore. They were paying me a little bit to keep it going, but that was not that much. And I kind of saw the dollar signs were not in the nonprofit arena. They were more in the sales. And then of course, the yarn business took off. And then right after 2001, it just blew the roof off of the yarn business because everybody wanted to stay home. They wanted comfort, activity, and it is comforted. Yeah. So that was a good decision. I kind of went in that way and that was good. And then finally when I sold the house in Cannon Beach, I moved up to Astoria and I didn't know anybody up mean, you know, they're a different community. Yeah. And I thought, well, I had listened to KMUN and I wasn't really a member at that time though, but I knew about it and I thought maybe I'll go and take the programming class because that was offered, I could learn something new. Yeah, I signed up for the programming class and I did a lot of theater too during those years. That kind of kept me mentally sane because my daughter was not having a good time. And she was 16 when my husband passed away. So it was a tough time for her and she was really close to her dad. So that was another emotional thing that I was trying to so the theater, the Coaster Theater, I did a lot of theater for them, and that theater family just sort of held me together.

Jan: Because it becomes a family.

Bonnie: It does? Yeah. Every time you work on a production.

Jan: Because you have to get to really know your people and trust that they're going to do their part.

Bonnie: So you can do your part, and.

Jan: You can build it and make it into a yes.

Bonnie: And you have relationships with people on stage. Actually, it's funny, I never really thought about it, but I think that I lived vicariously through my marriages on stage, which is why I never really remarried. I just thought that's good. You can have the best of both worlds. Okay. I don't have to fight anybody about the remote or do anybody's laundry. I just get to have this relationship with this guy on stage, and then I could just go home and have a life of my but and also, the traveling mean, that was usually what it came down to. If I started to have relationships with anybody, it was, well, when are you coming know? Well, I don't know. I'm going to be out in Montana for a couple of that was why I think I transitioned my theater, my love of theater and my performing art into the radio.

Jan: That makes sense.

Bonnie: Yeah. So now I didn't have to have rehearsals every night. I didn't have to memorize. Right. I said to put a show together, which was time consuming. But before we had the RODECaster thing that we were talking about earlier, and everything had to be you had to do it on your iPad or your iPhone and plug it in to the machine into the rodecaster, I would go into the studio and I'd go through the CD library and pull out things.

Jan: What's your show? Tell us about your show.

Bonnie: Well, I do Crossroads on Saturday. Every other Saturday. I have a partner, Tod Lipold, he does the alternate Saturdays, and so we just alternate back and forth.

Jan: And what kind of music do you focus on?

Bonnie: Well, crossroads can be anything. Basically, they call it Americana.

Jan: Okay.

Bonnie: But Americana just goes through blues and not jazz so much. That's pretty specific genre. But country, folk, blues, anything in that vein works. And I've just had a lot of fun doing that. But when I started with KMUN programming, I started with women's music, which I still do. So I do women's music once a month on the first Wednesday of the month. But now I do it also on the fifth Wednesday, which doesn't come up very often. But some months I'm on back to back weeks. So it's the first Wednesday in the month generally for women's music. But I started there, and then they wanted somebody to do Shady Grove, which is on Saturday nights. That's an old time music. Right.

Jan: But that used to be Susie McCleary, right?

Bonnie: It is still Susie. Yeah, she still does it. Yeah, she took a break. I don't think she ever got into the Caster and doing the homegrown radio at all because that was way beyond her ability to comprehend and do know it's a lot. It is a lot. And she doesn't have the Internet at her house like you had to have. So that's part of it. But now she's back doing it, I think twice a month now she does it. But I love her shows because they are true old time music in the back porch tradition. Some of the Shady Grove programmers go more in the bluegrass vein, which is fine, that somebody else. Everybody loves something, which is the beauty of KMUN. That's right. Every programmer does different stuff, and that's what I love about it. But I remember when I first started, I didn't think I really got I didn't I didn't get Shady Grove, really. And Susie wrote me a letter because she was doing it, and then I was doing it, and I think we alternated weeks or something. And she wrote me a letter and she said, you have it all wrong. You're not playing the right music. And of course, at that time, I didn't take offense to that. I thought okay, I'm new. I need to learn something here. But she was really good about guiding me into the real old time music and the back porch tradition. And there's a whole section in the library at the radio station that is devoted just to that. So I just started researching all of that. And you cannot believe the fun that is. That is just totally fun.

Jan: Finding backgrounds.

Bonnie: Yeah. And just kind of getting ensconced in a genre of music that you didn't really know anything about. And that was the fun of it. So I did that for, I don't know, six or eight years or more. And my daughter was doing Crossroads, and she was pregnant with her first child, and so she had to give it up. And so I went at that time, Elizabeth Menetry was our program director, and my daughter and I used to do it together. She started it, but then she said, mom, why don't you come on with me? And that was kind of a really good healing time between the two of you. Between the two of us. It was really time for us to put the past away and really move forward. And so she invited me on, and so we started doing Crossroads together, which was really kind of fun. And I couldn't believe the public response from that was really kind of neat. We would just be walking down the street and people would stop us and go, I just love the way you guys do that show.

Jan: So that about doing things with your kids, though. When we do the bedtime stories with our girls, our son aaron was here for the last two weeks, so he did a bunch of them with just it's it's really special. It is, because you have the interaction with each other, too, so it brings out your personality. And I think that that's right.

Bonnie: Yeah, it's a very wonderful station from the family standpoint. It is a real family station. And that's what makes it so special, really, because a lot of public radio stations or community radio stations go into a genre of music and they just kind of stick there.

Jan: But it's not as personable.

Bonnie: No, it isn't. And I think that's why we've been so successful for these 40 years is that we appeal to a wide range of people. And if you don't like what you're hearing, this half hour, well, next half hour is going to be completely different. Or next 2 hours. But anyway, when she went off with her getting having her new baby and everything, I approached Elizabeth and I said, I would really like to hang on to this show for Heather because I think she'll come can. And we were very popular. So Elizabeth said, well, a show doesn't belong to a person, so I had to kind of lobby for myself. But that was what Dylan now is 16, so that's how long I've been doing it. So my oldest grandson is now 16, and Heather now does the show with her husband on Saturday night called the Sounds of Saturday Night and Sam do a show together. But I've had my hands full this year with putting the helping with the birthday celebration, the 40th year, 40th year, 40 years.

Jan: So you've been involved for all 40 years?

Bonnie: Well, not quite. No. I started in 95. Okay, so almost 30 years. Not quite 40. Like Debbie and Pam Ternari and Debbie Twmbly and Liam John and those guys, they've been involved. That's a commitment. It is a commitment. It's a big commitment. But it's also really know, when I took my training, we were real to real, right? So now when you go in and you see all the technology that we have to even after we came back in, after COVID, they had changed everything in the airroom and they had taken the opportunity to upgrade a lot of stuff. We did a fundraising effort called Radio For Good and a lot of our listeners supported that. And that was because a lot of our equipment was getting antiquated and getting old. This is even beyond becoming digital. We had to do a lot of upgrading then, too. Back in the mid 2005, 2007, we had to go digital and everything was not nothing was analog anymore. We couldn't really get NPR, really, unless we went to digital. And so that became an effort that we had to fund and support. But this Radio for Good was to upgrade all our equipment. So we needed a new board, we needed new microphones, we needed new none.

Jan: Of which are cheap.

Bonnie: Yeah. And so when we came back after COVID, when people were allowed back in the station, then we had to learn all the different buttons that were the station breaks and when to bring them up.

Jan: But did it make things now that you know how to do it, is it easier?

Bonnie: Actually, no. It kind of adds an element of anxiety when you're coming up to the top of the hour. And you know, for me it's the 01:00 hour. What would that be? That'd be 1259. I have to have my music just so that at 1259 I can tune it out and bring up the station break and will up a nature notes and all that kind of stuff. So you kind of have to pay much more attention to the time signature than you used to. Because, okay, if I did the station break at 101 or something, and then I could pull up Willip and ager nodes at 103 or whatever, but the FCC really, that goes kind of against their rules. There's just some things that they've become a lot more strict about. So they want those station breaks to happen on the hour and that's know, you have to do them right at the right time. And especially if you're bringing in things like fresh air and you're bringing in NPR. I mean, you can't fudge around with the time frames for those kinds of things. You have to be exact. But you get used to it.

Jan: It's just part of so you can teach an old dog new trick.

Bonnie: Yes, you can. I guess so. Yeah. Anyway, that radio thing sort of fit with my traveling too, with the yarn business. Then I could saturdays were every other Saturday was doable. I always came home Friday night and I'd put a show together. I'd go into the radio station at about ten in the morning and my show didn't start until noon, but I'd be listening and kind of previewing music and what I wanted to play and all of that. Now what I do is I have spotify download music off of that streaming.

Jan: Instead of just using the CDs.

Bonnie: Yeah. And it's so much easier because now I can sit at home and I can put a show together. Well, I'll spend a half hour picking out music for Crossroads and the half hour turns into be 2 hours.

Jan: How did the royalties work for that?

Bonnie: Well, okay, so now we have when we went digital and we had a choice, we could stream live on the web or we could stay just completely local.

Jan: Okay.

Bonnie: If we stayed local, we didn't really have to worry about too much royalties because we were only broadcasting to a very small group of people. Once you start streaming, all of a sudden you're everywhere. So that became a choice that we programmers had to make. That involves spinatron. Spinatron is the agency that we contract with to put all our music on there, then that gets digitized into that person's. So that person gets paid for when you air their tune and then they're responsible for sending the money to the performer.

Jan: Right.

Bonnie: And so Spinitron, when we first started with that, we had to enter not only were we programming and putting CDs in and the LPs on the turntable and all of that, now we got the computer in there and we have to type in every tune and the time we played it. So that became really an extra job, another layer. Yeah. So now if you were listening to a show and you wanted to know, I didn't hear what she said about that tune. And who was that? You can go on Spinatron.com and you can pull up KMUN and you can pull up the show and the whole playlist will show up there, so you can go, oh, that was probably about this time that I listened to that tune and there's the artist. So it's kind of nice that anybody can go on there and see who's playing what. And that goes for all the stations around the country that are on that. But now with Spinatron, that has taken a leap into the future because now I don't have to type anything in. The minute that tune starts to play, it automatically comes up on Spinatron. So that's how I back announce as I look at that list, I don't have to look at my spotify playlist or anything because it's all and then it tells you what album it came off of, what year that was produced. So there's a lot of information there. I mean, sometimes they don't get it exactly right, but most of the time it's right. And then sometimes they don't recognize something because a lot of our shows, especially my women's music shows, I play a lot of international stuff and generally it's on there. But once in a while there'd be something that's something that's missing. So you do have to pay attention and then you have to type it in and think about, well, when did I play that? Because sometimes I don't notice it until like four or five tunes later, right? And I go, Wait a minute, they skipped something. So then I have to edit while I'm on the air. So it's kind of lots of details. Lots of details. But the other thing that has been really cool about the whole digitized thing and being able to come in with my show all ready to go is that it gives me time when I'm playing a tune to Lurk on the Internet about the artist.

Jan: Oh, yeah.

Bonnie: And so during my breaks, I can talk about so and so, who comes from and or wherever they're from. Or maybe they're from Bali or maybe they're know Madagascar or someplace, know and the Greek singers, I'm really into Greek singers. Lately I've been watching a Netflix what was that? Called Maestro in Blue and Netflix, which beautiful music and great storyline, but the music was so great. So I went on Spotify and I found that they have a soundtrack for some, and it was a Greek show, and so they had a lot of Greek music on there. So I thought that was kind of fun to pick out some of those female artists and put them on there. So that's kind of the fun of it, is that you get to explore a lot of different artists from around the world, and the more you dig, the more you realize how many serious artists there are out there that are never heard of. And yet they have pretty popular followings, because on Spotify, you can tell how many followers they have and how many plays a certain tune gets. And it's kind of fascinating. And people say, well, do you play on women's music? Do you play Beyonce or no, I don't play any of that.

Jan: You can get that anytime, let's discover.

Bonnie: Yeah, that's right. And there's so much good music out there, and even all the country artists that are so popular, I don't play any of them. I just try to find, well, I do play some of them, and some of them have well known names, but they're not the top 40. And I think that was kind of a mandate that I heard when I first started programming, was the station really had I think that's changed somewhat. But they mandated us to not do top 40 stuff. We had to do other stuff that.

Jan: Was their because that's what makes it unique.

Bonnie: That's right. It's been a journey, for sure, through all of this, but yes, I sort of reinvented myself after my husband. Yeah.

Jan: And I think that's inspiring for people to think about. Okay. If you're in a situation like, oh, now, well, where's the turn in the road?

Bonnie: I would hear stories about people who are uninsured on the radio. We went through all this Obamacare stuff, and people would be talking about how they had to claim bankruptcy and all of that, and I went through my troubles. Bankruptcy was not in my vocabulary because my parents were still alive, and they're watching me. And I'm sorry, but that was off the radar, not even happening. So it does become a real juggling act when you have to pay off imaging centers, hospitals, doctors, and then the pharmacy pharmaceutical thing, and it's all these.

Jan: Little pieces that come together, all those.

Bonnie: Little pieces that you had to communicate with. There were things that I wasn't willing to do in my husband's good name. He was a great guy. I didn't want to let that go. But I do have to say that it takes a lot of monitoring. You have to call everybody. Everybody is willing to work with you if you just call them. If you say, I can send you $50 this month. I can send you $25 this month, next month, maybe 75. You just have to keep in touch with them, and then they're willing to go. There was one big hospital bill that I had that was over $20,000. Called them up. Of course they had to, which at.

Jan: The time was a lot of money.

Bonnie: Yes, it was. That's right. You bet it was. And it probably was way more than that. I don't know. I had taken some of it down by selling my property and selling the Cannon Beach property and stuff. I kind of lopped off a lot of it, but there was still, like, $25,000 left or something, and then by now, it's at a collection agency. So I called them and I say, well, I can pay $25. They were happy to take $25 a month, but how many years would that take me to pay that off? Right? Because it would never get paid off. Yeah. So when my parents died, then everything, my brother and my sister and I just split up evenly. Whatever was left. I did the math. I said, okay, suppose I lived so 20 years. So at the time, I was 58, and I thought, okay, suppose I lived to be 75. But I did the math 25 times. Twelve times 15 years or whatever. And it came out to, like, $5,000. And so I called them up and I said, and of course I had an inheritance now. I had the money, right? And I said that, I said, I've done the math. I'm paying $25 a month. And I said I could live to 75 or 80 or whatever, and it comes out to be about $5,000 if I keep paying you the 25. And I said, Would you be willing to take that? I can write you a check for $5,000, and we'll call it good. They called me back and said, yes, we'll take that. And I'll never forget that moment, because I was in my office, and this was what, 2003? My husband died in 1992.

Jan: Okay?

Bonnie: So we're talking eleven years I had been doing this juggling and paying, and eventually got down to that, and I'll never forget it. I just sat at my desk and I just bald. I just started to cry and said, It's finally over. I can finally put this behind me. And it just was like an overwhelming wash of, like, I'm done. Yeah. Freedom. So I just want to encourage people who are going through that that you can make it, you can do it. There's a way out. You don't have to feel like you're so stuck in a place and then give up everything, because bankruptcy. Then you're seven years stuck in a place. And nowadays, you couldn't buy a house, you couldn't do anything.

Jan: And then you just keep spinning the hole, right?

Bonnie: You just keep digging the deeper hole. And nowadays, with down payments and house payments and rent, what you'd have to pay for rent first in the pot. I mean, you got to look at all the different facets of what's going on in the world today, but I say communicate with everybody that you owe something to and work out. It's more trouble for them to do a foreclosure, and if they can get some income out of you, that's better than nothing. Right. And then putting them in a situation where it's going to cost them money to get rid of something, so they don't want that either.

Jan: Yeah. I will put some links to your shows on the show notes.

Bonnie: Oh, good.

Jan: So people can find you. This has been great and inspiring.

Bonnie: Well, good. Thank you so much for me to do this, Jan. I really have had a lot of fun putting it in a nutshell, sort of trying to mean, you know, when you start to capsuleize your life, it's not yeah, yeah, for sure. Thank you so much for doing that.