Most readers probably already know that Helping Hands celebrated its 20th anniversary last Friday, April 3! And some, at least, wonder what comes next? My wish is to do away with weekly deadlines — that is my first choice! I shall try to finish a number of things I want to share during this month and then go to two articles a month to be printed as the editors see fit. There are a lot of things in my files and things I want you to share with me. You may expect me to be more specific about that in the next two, three weeks.

Just a few days ago I was asked how our present volunteering and sharing, etc. in Barstow today compares with that of 20 years ago. I think I have enough files (more than 100) to work on to make a good statement, but I'll need a little time to work on that!

Today I want those of you who have provided me with lots of special information during these last 20 years, to accept my generous thanks.

Some were great to provide those extra "little details" and "in going the extra mile" and I am grateful. Thanks again! Some provided more than I had space to use, or it was received too late, but I probably have it saved and maybe it will be appropriate to use, even yet.
I would also like to make special mention of the helpful editors who received my weekly articles. Lisa Sommerville Arges moved away somewhat soon after I began. I submitted my work to her when I began. The late Carole Myers was great and I was honored to be able to share a page with our columns framing a page, one on the right and the other on the left. The current Community Editor Kay Lovato is greatly appreciated by me. Thank you!

Right now I would like to tell you about my first computer — a gift acquired after I started Helping Hands! A friend, George Jones, had been insisting that I had a great need for a computer for "that weekly article". I didn't think I could possibly be smart enough to learn "all that stuff" and took only a wee bit of interest in a computer. However one evening Jones and his wife, Patty mentioned "my computer" again. They had just bought another new computer. They both had computers now with one left over and they wanted me to have it. Nothing was finalized, but in a week or so, George called one morning to ask what I was doing when I had just started writing that week's article on my trusty typewriter. He said, "Bring your work down and we'll do it here on your computer". I picked up some notes and went there!

He got me started on the computer and told me to call if I needed help or when finished. In due time, I was finished. He stood behind me and asked  to do just what he told me to do. I thought I did, but soon the screen was blank and he couldn't fix it! I called my husband and said I wouldn't be home for lunch, called to cancel my hair appointment, and called Carole Myers, lifestyle editor at the Desert Dispatch to tell her not to worry but I'd be "a little late" with Helping Hands that day. And I was still unsure about needing a computer.

However, I finally got the Jones' computer, enrolled in the next Computer Beginner's Class at BHS Adult School and was glad I did. Since then I've purchased two more computers and in spite of some differences of opinion between me and my computer, I am glad to have. I am finally willing to call it a 2lst Century requirement for me!

More information about Helping Hands next week.
Helen Bendure is a correspondent for the Desert Dispatch She can be contacted at