Resident Spotlight: Loren Schave's Open House at Middlewoods
This is what Susan wrote:
This is an event that can take your breath away. Many remarkable people reside at Middlewoods, but Loren may be in a class by himself. Walk through his door and you will immediately see what I mean. At the age of twelve, Loren started down a path that he travels to this day – collecting memorabilia. Two major passions, baseball and military history, became the focus. There doesn’t seem to be anything in his collection, however, that doesn’t appear without a thought or story behind it…and we are talking about thousands of pieces. Loren relayed a story about how his wife, Carol, would “test” (perhaps “tease”) him by rearranging miniatures in a display. He always noticed.
When I went to interview him, there didn’t appear to be a single item whose story he could not relate – why he had chosen it and where and when he had procured it. Every inch of his one bedroom apartment has become a display case: the walk-in closet, the bathroom walls, living room walls and floor-to-(almost)-ceiling display shelving in the bedroom. So many of us struggle with the challenge of downsizing to a more modest living space when we move to Middlewoods; here’s a man who manages to live comfortably and maintain a virtual museum on these premises.
Even if you have no interest in baseball – the predominant theme of the Middlewoods collection – it is worth your time to see how a person can express a reverence for life-experiences by selecting and treasuring items to capture a particular moment. Loren augments the collectibles with his own artwork. You will find throughout the displays watercolors that enhance the story of his life’s passions. He also has spent hours painting miniatures in his collection. Most of these miniatures are now displayed at the Hartford Armory. (Loren has been a member of the Governor’s Foot Guard for 47 years. When he moved his baseball collection to Middlewoods, he moved a military history collection of 6,000 miniatures and perhaps 2,000 other items to the care of the Foot Guard.)
The only painted miniature I saw in the apartment was in his Sherlock Holmes collection; but you should note the attention to detail and then contemplate the fact that many of the miniatures at the Armory have been given the same amount of attention.
In Loren’s room, the closet is just a branch of this on-site museum. The two T-shirts are recent acquisitions. The painting comes from his past as an American History teacher (35 years with the West Hartford public school system). Loren challenged his students to design a stamp that would tell the story of an American explorer; the painting is what Loren did for the explorer he chose to celebrate.
Baseball enthusiasts will be familiar with Pete Gray who played for the Saint Louis Browns. Loren knows the story of this one-handed outfielder. He found a picture of that player, then painted a poster to honor the team. These pieces now decorate his bathroom. The living room is not accessible to those of us in wheelchairs, but there are still things to marvel at. On the wall hangs a collage of perhaps 200 Yankee pictures that Loren has collected over the years. This collage was created by Loren’s nephew, Bill Sheridan. As a matter of interest, Mr. Sheridan developed the software program that could transform these pictures into a piece of art. He was hired by Jay Leno to create a similar collage featuring shots of the classic car collection owned by the late night host. Mr. Sheridan hopes to have a patent for this software soon.
It’s amazing to me how organized and creative Loren is. I struggle to fathom that he has painted over 6,000 miniature military figures alone! The patience that goes into that type of work is incredible. It was a treat to learn a bit about Loren’s history and hobbies and to see his passions literally displayed in front of my face.
I think it’s so special that everyone at Middlewoods has a story to tell and that they are given an opportunity to share with the rest of the community their passions and history.
If you have a loved one at a UMH community (Wesley Village, Middlewoods of Newington, Middlewoods of Farmington) who would like to be featured on our Resident Spotlight, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can schedule a time to chat. It’s fun to reminisce on old memories and our interests!
A special thanks to Susan for writing this wonderful piece and capturing such detail on Loren’s story. Your vibrant account of the open house makes one feel as though they attended the event and saw all those distinctive items even if they did not.
About Chelsea Sayegh
I started working as a Marketing Coordinator for United Methodist Homes in October of 2016. I work on public relations, website management and community planning for their award winning independent and assisted living communities. As a graduate of Ursinus College with a degree in Media and Communications and a passion for serving nonprofits, United Methodist Homes has become my home away from home. I spend my days working in a community filled with smiling faces, helpful hands and wonderful residents. I have a passion for assisting seniors and take great pride in being able to promote a company with such a positive mission and values. As an individual committed to learning and growing, I have jumped right into this exciting career!
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