Journey of Dreams April 2019
Dreams can be realized in different ways for different people. Some dreams are life-long visions of what we would like to do or accomplish. Some dreams change or evolve over time. Some dreams are discovered in random ways, perhaps by something seen, something heard, or by an opportunity presented. At Wesley Heights, it was a shared conversation and chance circumstance that recently sparked a mutual dream for residents Charlene Deluca and Elizabeth “Betsy” Hoffman.
Their dream journey began a few months ago when the film, A Star is Born, was released in the theaters.
There was a lively discussion among a group of residents about the various versions of the film over the years. The overall consensus was that the 1976 version starring Kris Kristofferson and Barbara Streisand was the favorite. Residents continued to talk about the illustrious career of Kristofferson including his induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame, his numerous award-winning songs, and his Golden Globe win for A Star is Born. Resident Charlene Deluca commented that she had always been a fan of Kristofferson’s music but that she “had fallen in love with him” after seeing his performance in that film. Resident Betsy Hoffman stated that she wasn’t too familiar Kristofferson’s music but rather that she knew him from his movie roles. Both expressed how amazing it would be to see such a living legend perform live on stage. That was when the dream was born! Activity Director Linda Fera learned that a Kristofferson concert was scheduled at the Palace Theater in Stamford, CT as part of his 2019 world-wide tour. She went to work to secure tickets to this once-in-a-lifetime event.
Resident Charlene Deluca has lived in a Wesley Village cottage for 16 years. Her mother had lived in a cottage for 23 years and two aunts and a cousin lived at Wesley as well. Before moving to Shelton, Charlene lived in Cheshire CT and later in Florida. She moved to Wesley Heights so that she could be closer to her mom who had been on campus for several years at that time. Charlene enjoys living at Wesley Heights primarily because of the people who live and work here. She appreciates the fact that when something needs to be taken care of it is done quickly and professionally. Charlene is an active participant in many of the activities at Wesley Heights. She lends a hand when needed at activities and her particular joy comes from volunteering with residents on the Lifestyles Transitions neighborhood at Wesley.
Charlene is a lifelong fan of country music because she finds the lyrics easy to understand. She is a long-time fan of Kris Kristofferson because of all of the fantastic songs he’s written. Two of her favorites are; “Help Me Make It Through the Night” and “For the Good Times.” Charlene gets emotional when speaking about how Kristofferson’s music touches her and how several of his songs “were part of a time in my life when they had very special meaning.” She adds that, “hearing his songs today still touch me and still bring out a variety of emotions.”
Charlene learned about the Journey of Dreams Program last year when one of her neighbors at Wesley Heights was the recipient of the program. She feels “this is a wonderful program for residents who still have things they want to do or accomplish but may not have the money or ability to do on their own. She is “thrilled to have the opportunity to see one of her favorite people on stage” as a Journey of Dreams recipient.
After the concert, Charlene stated that it “exceeded all expectations!” and that she loved every song in the program. The band on stage with Kristofferson, “was also fabulous and the songs that Kris sang brought back old memories and stirred up old emotions.” “It was a wonderful night all around!”
Resident Elizabeth “Betsy” Hoffman moved to Wesley Heights 10 years ago from New York State. She explains that her mother lived happily in a Methodist Retirement Home in Ohio for 18 years so when it was time for Betsy to move to retirement living, she looked for a Methodist Home that would bring her the same contentment and happiness. Being unable to find a Methodist community in N.Y., she decided to branch out to CT where she discovered Wesley Village. Betsy was immediately impressed with the friendly atmosphere in the Wesley community. She also liked the concept of three levels of care on one campus and the one-level living in the Wesley Heights cottages. Like Charlene, Betsy is also very active at Wesley and participates in the the many trips and activities offered. She is a long-time volunteer on campus taking care of the pet birds at Wesley Heights and working with the activity department at Bishop Wicke Health and Rehab Center.
Betsy enjoys most genres of music however, she is particularly drawn to country music which was a large part of life growing up in Ohio. Like Charlene, Betsy also likes the fact that the lyrics in country songs are understandable. Her favorite country singers include Glen Campbell, Johnny Cash, Reba McIntyre, and Willie Nelson noting that, “certain people were born to sing country.” While Betsy was more familiar with Kris Kristofferson’s film career rather than his musical achievements, she was excited to learn that Kristofferson wrote many of the songs that Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson took to the top of the charts.
Betsy has always known about the Journey of Dreams Program on campus and she finds it to be a very innovative program. She states that the program “makes you think of possibilities you never thought before. It gives residents opportunities to do things that they never realized that they wanted to do and they receive the joy it brings.” After seeing the concert, Betsy commented that it was “wonderful to see such an icon perform on stage which is really enjoying a piece of history.” She added, “It was a beautiful evening.”
Rounding out the group attending the concert were Wesley Heights cottage residents Paul Robledo and Norma Fitzgerald. Both actively participate in activities and trips at Wesley Heights and both volunteer their time on campus. Paul loves all types of music and “loved everything about the trip.” Although he didn’t know much about Kris Kristofferson when we started out on the trip, he learned more about him through his stage presence and the lyrics of his songs. Paul enjoyed the band who were very talented in their own right. “The music was great!”
Norma has a past connection to the Stamford Palace Theater. She had been there years ago when the theater was undergoing major renovation and she was thrilled to have the opportunity to again visit this historic venue. Norma has always loved country music and she was excited to be able to see such a renowned country songwriter/singer on stage. She “loved everything about the night!”
Kristofferson, now 82 years old, is beginning to show signs of aging yet he continues to live out his dream of writing songs and performing on stage. A line in his song, “A Moment in Forever” states, “Come whatever happens now, Ain’t it nice to know dreams still come true.” Fulfilling residents’ dreams and creating special moments that will live forever are at the heart of the Journey of Dreams Program at Wesley Village.
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