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For Christmas, most families give their loved ones clothes, games, or sweets, but this Christmas, Don Walkley, a 92 year old resident of Crosby Commons Assisted Living Community, received a 5,923 piece LEGO set of the Taj Mahal. Lining the shelves of his apartment are famous buildings Don’s built from intricate LEGO sets, including the White House, Eifel Tower and the Lincoln Memorial, but none have compared in size to his new Taj Mahal display. Don’s family chipped in for Christmas and surprised him with the $300 puzzle and since December, Don has worked hours every day to complete the massive puzzle.
Marian Taylor, resident of Wesley Village, was born on March 26, 1922. Her father was a Methodist pastor and she moved about quite a bit as a child, living in various parsonages in parishes where her father was assigned. Marian had a happy childhood, though she was constantly changing schools and making new friends. This is the life she knew and it fit seamlessly with the role she would later assume as the wife of a Methodist pastor.
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Is love at first sight really possible? Myrtle Caswell, 6 month resident of Middlewoods of Newington, would say “absolutely” and credits her 68 year marriage to true love. When Myrtle was 20 years old, she was seeing a young man named Bob. One night, Bob asked his friend, Everett, to drive him to see Myrtle. When Bob and Everett arrived at Myrtle’s house she wasn’t home, so they asked her mother where she was. Myrtle was next door babysitting, so they called her up and told her they wanted to come see her. Myrtle said no, and that no one was allowed to come over while she was babysitting. Bob and Everett waited at her house.
This month, our Resident Spotlight is a little different. Instead of interviewing a resident myself and writing a spotlight on them, this blog is written from the perspective of a resident. Loren Schave, 2 year resident of Middlewoods of Farmington, has a unique collection of memorabilia and recently hosted an open house for fellow residents to come and see his collection. Middlewood’s resident Susan Schwager met with Loren and interviewed him on the history of his collectables.
Today, we highlight a woman whose perseverance and strength have gotten her so far in life. With a musical background and a love for theater, it’s no surprise Norma Remele, 3 year resident of Wesley Heights, has a particular fondness of Phantom of the Opera. When Activities Director, Linda Fera, heard about Norma’s interest in this esteemed musical, she jumped into action to see what she could do with the UMH Journey of Dreams program.
As Jean’s father was in the construction business, the family moved often. Although born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Jean lived in a number of states including Maryland, Virginia, Indiana and Washington State. She met her future husband, James Barbour, while attending Ohio State University where she graduated as a Registered Nurse.
My name is Marie Pfannkuch. I am 100 years old and I’ve lived at Wesley Village for 10 years. My husband was German, which is where I get my last name from. My mother was Italian and my father was English and Irish. Before we hear the rest of Marie's story, I (Chelsea) just wanted to say a few words about her. I met Marie when I learned she had received a letter from President Trump after turning 100 years old. She was very excited and wanted to show someone her letter. When I met Marie, I instantly liked her. She was funny, kind, beautiful on the inside and out, and I could tell she had an amazing story to tell. We worked around each other's schedules until finally we could meet up and I could learn more about her life. And I have to say, I thoroughly enjoyed talking with Marie. Her life has been filled with boundless love, family and friends. What more could a girl ask for? Read on to hear Marie's story.
Although he was born in Haugesund, Norway, Arthur K. Hansen, better known as “Chuckken”, grew up in Glendale, Long Island. He attended Newtown High School in New York and was an active cross country runner. Additionally, he played softball and was a very good student. Read on to learn more about Arthur and his time living at the UMH community, Middlewoods of Newington.
Born in New York City in 1920, James, better known as Jim, has had a life full of love, excitement and travel. Jim’s upbringing was very unique because both of his parents were deaf, which taught him many lessons and offered him a different perspective on life. Jim lived in the Bronx in a suburb called Riverdale where he was valedictorian of his elementary school. From there, he attended DeWitt Clinton High School, and then Stevens Institute of Technology. Twenty five years later, he received his master’s degree at the University of Bridgeport. Jim became an Eagle Scout, which is the highest achievement attainable in the Boy Scouts of America Program, and was a member of the Air Force, serving from 1943 to 1946.
As a native to Long Island, New York, Billy Coulter grew up loving weekend trips to his family’s house in Sag Harbor. From Friday through Sunday, he would head there and spend time with his mom and dad. Billy recalls, “My father purchased a boat for us and we used to go sailing often. I remember the warm summer days and the cool summer nights. My mother used to iron my sheets when it was a chilly night in order to warm them up for me.” Billy also reflects fondly on his weekly dance lessons he took with his mother in New York City.
Owen "Buzz" Conway Family and Service Born in the city of brotherly love (Philadelphia), Owen picked up the boyhood nickname “Buzz” that has followed him to this day. As a young man, he was drafted into the US Army in 1945 where he was trained as a medic. He saw frontline action in the pacific and later in Korea. Incredibly, he would go into battle armed only with bandages and medicine.