Victoria Vaughan of Belvidere (aka “Ms. Bubbles,” by those who know her best) regularly visits area nursing homes on a mission to spread cheer.
Nursing home residents can always look forward to being entertained by this clever and young-at-heart 83-year-old visitor who often brings along cookies and a bag of tricks to coax out a smile.
Ms. Vaughan takes it upon herself to make the long trip in her old truck from Keith Springs Mountain at least once a week to visit old friends and to make new ones.
“I look at it this way… if you’re lonesome, just go out and do something to make others happy,” said Ms. Vaughan who is tickled to death over her latest scheme to coax smiles out of some otherwise somber folks.
Readers may recall an article in this newspaper about Ms. Vaughan’s pet, a13-yearold Dove named Noah, who tags along on occasion to the nursing homes to help amuse residents. Noah is still tagging along, but he now has some friendly rivalry for the spotlight.
It all started when Ms. Vaughan spotted a talking sock monkey at a friend’s home and instantly fell in love.
The stuffed monkey repeats everything that is said to it. She just had to know how to get one of her own. As soon as her sock monkey arrived in the mail, she and Noah set off to a couple of nursing homes to spread some laughter earlier this week.
“This monkey was well worth the price,” Ms. Vaughan said on Wednesday. “I just came from the nursing home on the Bypass and let me tell you, even the folks who are like ‘zombies’ were able to talk to my sock monkey. That makes me feel so good — those smiles.”
Spreading cheer runs in the family, according to Ms. Vaughan whose sister, Helen Redck of Wisconsin, volunteers at nursing homes in her state often dressing up like various characters to get a reaction.
“She dresses up like an elephant, clown, bunny — you never know what she will do. I tell people we got this from our mother. Our dad was always fun too, but mom was really funny. We couldn’t help but grow up like this,” Ms. Vaughan said while giggling.
“And I’ll keep doing this as long as I’m able to get out and drive,” she says. “To see a smile from a resident just makes my day.”
Ms. Vaughan sets off still giggling with her sock monkey in tow, already planning her next visit to yet another nursing home.