Sally Bernstein: Always on the Move

September 23, 2019

Sally Bernstein has been all around the world. Name a place, and she’s probably been there: she’s traveled through Europe, visited Japan and south- east Asia, ventured down under to Australia and New Zealand, and toured through South America. When asked how many countries she’s actually been to, she can’t answer – there are too many to remember.

But when she’s asked why she wanted to visit so many places around the world, Sally has an answer at the ready. “I wanted to see as much of the world as I could,” she says, “and I wanted to see it when I could.”

Being on the move has been something of a constant in Sally’s life. Originally from a North Dakota town of 6,000 people, she spent two years at the University of North Dakota and two years at the University of Minnesota studying to become a dental hygienist with the encouragement of her father, who was a dentist. When she graduated, Sally made the decision to move to San Mateo even though she didn’t know a soul in the Bay Area. “I wanted to get away from the weather,” she says, laughing.

Sally spent the next 48 years as a dental hygienist, getting to know generations of patients along the way. “I treated parents, their children, and then their children’s children,” she says. “I knew them all.” After retiring, Sally volunteered her time to organizations helping veterans and it quickly became her passion. She belongs to the Daughters of the American Revolution, the American Legion, and donates her time to veteran’s hospitals in the area.

“I always say ‘thank you’ to any veteran I see,” she says. “The way we treat our veterans in this country isn’t right. I want to do whatever I can to help.”

Through it all, Sally never lost her enthusiasm for travel. She visited China in 1971 just as it was opening its doors to the rest of the world. She counts Turkey as one of her most favorite places to visit, saying, “The people there were very nice, and it was an interesting country to see.” Traveling the world also instilled in her an appreciation for what she has in the United States. “You see how others live, the different conditions,” she says. “We have so much here. You appreciate what you have so much more when you get back home.”

Sally now calls Sterling Court home and couldn’t be happier about it. She’s made great friends since moving in last September and enjoys many of the activities and classes that are offered. “I’m a big history buff,” she says, “so I really enjoy the history classes they have here.” She also enjoys the chair yoga classes and spends time on the exercise bikes in the fitness center. Always one to take care of herself, Sally still goes to the gym twice a week.

Living at Sterling Court has other perks, according to Sally. “I love that I don’t have to cook or clean!” she says with a laugh. She’s also thankful for the staff. “I love all the people here, they couldn’t be nicer. You’re here one day, they already know your name.”

Having lived such an eventful and adventurous life already, it’s fair to wonder if Sally has a philosophy she espouses or a mantra to live by. Turns out she does, and it applies to her perfectly.

“You just have to keep moving,” she says. “That’s all.”

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