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Lifestyle & Human Interest

86-Year-Old Woman Uses Stimulus Check To Create 'Zoo' in Front Yard

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Many who received a stimulus check had immediate needs the extra money could cover, or some personal item they wanted.

For Nancy Connor of Pawtucket, Rhode Island, the stimulus check went to a kind of community project.

The 86-year-old woman was disheartened to see so many people passing by her house looking down in the dumps.

“I went through World War II which was tough but it’s nothing like what’s happening now everything is so sad,” she told WJAR-TV.

“People are walking up and down the street looking very sad and I thought well what can I do? I’m handicapped. I can’t go out there and do anything, but people love animals.”

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She had some extra money thanks to the stimulus check, she had an Amazon account and she had a yard, and that’s all she needed to come up with a creative way to bring a smile to passers-by.

“I took my stimulus money and I built a zoo in my front yard,” she explained. “I used every penny of it on the animals and I’m happy I did.”

“The bigger they are, the more expensive they are,” she added.

The front yard now boasts a menagerie in the form of dozens of “wild” animals. Zebras, big cats, orangutans, birds of prey — you name it, she probably has it or is planning to get it.

Connor has noticed an uptick in the number of smiling people ever since she decorated her front lawn, and for her, that’s fuel enough to want to continue adding to her collection.

“Many, many, and they come every day,” Connor said. “They come by, they walk and point, and the kids smile. It’s worth all the effort I’ve put into it because everybody looks happy that comes by.”

“I’m usually sitting in the window doing crossword puzzles to keep my mind active. I wave back at them, [it] makes me very happy.”

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Connor also said she’s accepting stuffed animal donations and plans to keep the zoo open until October.

She’s especially eager to see more families with children come by and enjoy her work.

“Just get more people to come by with their kids,” she told WJAR.

“It’s worth everything,” she said. “It makes me happy to see people happy again, even if it’s only for a couple of minutes.”

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Amanda holds an MA in Rhetoric and TESOL from Cal Poly Pomona. After teaching composition and logic for several years, she's strayed into writing full-time and especially enjoys animal-related topics.
As of January 2019, Amanda has written over 1,000 stories for The Western Journal but doesn't really know how. Graduating from California State Polytechnic University with a MA in Rhetoric/Composition and TESOL, she wrote her thesis about metacognitive development and the skill transfer between reading and writing in freshman students.
She has a slew of interests that keep her busy, including trying out new recipes, enjoying nature, discussing ridiculous topics, reading, drawing, people watching, developing curriculum, and writing bios. Sometimes she has red hair, sometimes she has brown hair, sometimes she's had teal hair.
With a book on productive communication strategies in the works, Amanda is also writing and illustrating some children's books with her husband, Edward.
Austin, Texas
Languages Spoken
English und ein bißchen Deutsch
Topics of Expertise
Faith, Animals, Cooking