Norma Anderson, community volunteer, exercise leader, and cook extraordinaire, has been named the seventh nominee for the Valley of the Flowers Peace Prize.
Anderson’s efforts in this community are widespread and long-standing. A native of Oregon, she came to Lompoc just out of college with a degree in physical education. Her first job was teaching Phys Ed at Lompoc High School. Although she is involved in many community outreach activities, for 50 years she has been teaching an Adult Education exercise class to senior citizens, some of whom were in the original class.
Also through Adult Education, for 22 years Anderson conducted fitness programs at the Convalescent Care Center and the Meridian Center, leading residents in physical exercises and word games that improve mental fitness.
Anderson is involved in an auxiliary of the Good Samaritans program, which gives support to young women in need. Through her church, St. Mary’s Episcopal, she works with the Senior Saints, a program which invites seniors to come for lunch and talk about their lives.
“I have met some of the greatest people that way. It has been very rewarding to me through the years.”
Also at St. Mary’s, Anderson is in charge of St. Martha’s Guild which provides food for funeral receptions—at no charge—and she heads up a program to provide backpacks for needy children.
It was while holdin receptions for weddings, Mad Hatter tea parties and Mitford tea parties at church that the idea came to provide a catering service. Later, her five years of managing Bob Coe’s Taco Bell led to the establishing of her own restaurant, A Matter of Taste, which she ran successfully for ten years.
However, the present renown of Norma Anderson in Lompoc is due to one thing: pie. She bakes the pies for Sissy’s restaurant. Beyond that, she bakes pies for friends’ dinners, for birthday parties, for non profit functions, for library functions.
“If it’s a worthy cause or a good friend, I’ll do it.” Usually there is no money involved, other than an occasional payment for cost of ingredients.
“Whenever there’s some activity I really care about, I’ll do the pies.” Or cakes. Or tarts. Or brownies. Or cheesecakes…
And in so doing, Anderson feeds the body and nourishes the soul—surely, laying a foundation for peace to reign.