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Carolyn Zolbe has been interviewed by City Paper before. “I was in a bright red coat,” she says. Is that your trademark? I ask. “That’s my winter coat!” she says, laughing.
Zolbe, 74, is out in front of Planned Parenthood on 16th Street NW. Her usual schedule is Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday from 2:30 p.m.-4 p.m. Today she’s here to back up Dick Retta.
She holds a sign that says “SMILE YOUR MOM CHOSE LIFE” on one side and “ABORTION STOPS A BEATING HEART” on the other. Another sign has a photo of a group of women who regret their abortions. “We all regret things we’ve done,” says Zolbe. Sticking out of her purse is a laminated card with the music and words to “Salve Regina.”
Zolbe, a former Arlington County Public Schools teacher, started coming to the Planned Parenthood in D.C. in 2007, after that year’s 40 Days for Life campaign. She met Retta, who was a crozier in a procession from St. Matthews down to the Planned Parenthood building. She was reading the pope’s Jesus of Nazareth then and came down every day after her reading time.
“I don’t say I protest,” she says. “I say I pray at Planned Parenthood.”
She asks my mother’s name. It’s Janet. “I believe in truth and joy,” Zolbe tells me. “I see joy on your face.” Well, we were talking about my mom.