Those who have met Ms. Doris lovingly refer to her as The Purple Lady. The color purple is seen in even the smallest of touches in her room. The roses outside her window may be yellow, but the puzzles, artwork, planters, & even the dresses she wears shine with shades of lavender, and royal purple. Doris Hoogland has been many things throughout her life: a seamstress, a wife, a mother to twins boys & three more children after them, but to the people who call Pines of Sarasota their workplace, volunteer space, or home, she will always be recognized by her signature color, bold personality, & willingness to serve the Sarasota community.
Doris and her husband, Ari, started their life together in Ho-Ho-Kus, New Jersey. The life they had there – at least according to Doris’s descriptions – sounds as picturesque as a life could be. She spent her days building a drapery business from the ground up, creating custom linens for designers in the area, while Ari ran the mechanics shop & convenience store. During their time in New Jersey, Doris & Ari filled a 17 room house with five children, two of which are twins. “My Aunt Helen had twins,” Doris told me. “I blame her for my boys. I was the upstairs maid and the downstairs maid,” she told me knowing that only mothers would understand the loving effort she gave to run her household.
Ms. Hoogland recounted for me the many years and memories made in that home. She told me about the playrooms and barns that housed a horse she hated. “Ari brought that horse right up the front steps of the house one day,” she told me with a chuckle.
“My favorite room in that house was my sewing room.” Behind where Doris was sitting during our chat sat a sewing machine threaded with bright white thread and her latest project draped over the edge of the table. “That’s nothing compared to what I had at one time” she told me. Doris explained to me the layout of what was once a massive workroom where she would design and create drapes.
In 1972 she and her husband left New Jersey for sunnier horizons. Ari built a home for them on a canal in Sarasota where they continued to make treasured memories together. “He should have been an architect,” she told me as we discussed his time as a boat designer and her second career working for a local fabric shop.
If you think, at 94, Doris would be done with the her sewing ventures, you would be incorrect. She still sews – patching pants and hemming garments that are too long for residents and staff alike. She even removes the button eyes from the dog toys Rev. Marilyn brings, so her pup can play safely. Doris’s latest project is hand crocheting nap sacks for the homeless out of recycled grocery bags. After all of these years, her sense of community has held strong. The Purple Lady shows those who come on our campus that anything is possible and caring for others abundantly is necessary.