Aging Well June 22

We all pass through different stages in our lives – for young children, psychologists have identified “ages and stages” – from first steps, through the “terrible twos” to becoming mommies little helper. But as we age we don’t need experts to explain our life stages – through life experience we discover them ourselves. For Jeri she saw her adult life in three stages – three stages many of us will recognize. And she was excited knowing it was time to begin the third stage.

She realized her first stage were the years she did what she had to do; during the second, she focused on what she thought she should do; and the third stage, which she was about to begin - doing what she wanted to do - a time when you give yourself permission to follow your soul and your passion without guilt or regret. (Unfortunately there is the seldom discussed fourth stage: doing what you are told to do - by your kids, by your care giver (who you are paying!), or the police, “Sir you just can't drive your scooter down the middle of the street!”.) There are different times in all of our lives when we should follow our head, our heart and our passions - just don’t ignore that third stage.

There’s not an announcement for the Center’s Tuesday Lecture this week because it will be taking a break for the summer. This popular series – concluding its third year - was born from John Hutchinson’s idea of a monthly presentation called Community Matters (and I still like that title) bred with Hal Sessions’ desire to provide relevant health and civic information for older adults. The Center appreciates all the presenters who have made the lecture series such a success - particularly Joyce Powell Morin who schedules every month a speaker from MCMC. And if you have any lecture ideas, call the Center. Some of our best lectures have been suggested by folks like you.

Next Tuesday night the Center has scheduled a new act, “Martin and Friends”, who will be performing for your listening and dancing enjoyment. I don’t know any details, but Doc always comes up with musical groups that will satisfy your Tuesday night dancing fever. And tonight Hank & Ann Krum, Bob Fiske & David Fretz of the Jazz Generations will be playing your favorite Big Band sounds. Bring your dancing partner and enjoy an evening of heavenly pleasure. The horns start blowing at 7:00 and it is all free, although donations are appreciated.

Summer is yard sale season and it is time for the Center to jump on that stage coach before it leaves town. I have set the date twice, but like a child at the candy store, I kept changing my mind. But the final date has been set for the Center’s “rummage, basement and parking lot” sale now scheduled for Thursday July 8th from 9:00 to 6:00 pm (for those who have the “yard sale” urge after work), Friday from 9:00 – 2:00 and Saturday from 9:00 – 4:00. And on Saturday Meals-on-Wheels will add their own rummage sale including selling hot dogs and cotton candy. There will also be spaces available for other venders for only $15 a space. And we are accepting donations of your unwanted items if you are in the mood to de-clutter your life. For more information call 541-296-4788.

One of the fine folks at the Area Agency on Aging is retiring: my friend, Medicare maven and Coffebreak companion, Jean Hockman. Although she is retiring she will not be leaving and wants everyone to know this fall she will be volunteering at the Center to help with Medicare's Open Enrollment. In the meantime she is taking a break and finding out if "the rain in Spain stays mainly in the plain".

And speaking of Coffee, this Thursday the 24th Al Wynn will be celebrating Coffeebreak’s 8000th show. Every morning at 10:00 - direct from Cousin’s restaurant - Al hosts a community forum of live unrehearsed discussions with civic leaders, elected officials and practically every organization in town. I have always enjoyed the friendly give and take with Al - sharing information about the Center and the opportunities for older adults in the community. I wish him the best and another 8000 shows?

Yes, it was Abbott and Costello who performed the wild and crazy “Who’s on First”. And of the ten entries, Don McAllister is the winner of a free Saturday breakfast on July 17th during Ft. Dalles Rodeo weekend. The “Remember When” question for this week goes back before Star Search and American Idol - when there was a TV show which featured amateur talent and the audience was asked to vote by sending in postcards or calling JUdson 6-7000. Who was the TV host of this television talent show that ran from 1948 – 1970?

Well that’s it time to pull another weed. Until we meet again don’t let the sun catch you frowning.

“Things ain't what they used to be and never were.” Will Rogers

Aging Well June 15th

It makes you think - reading different perspectives on aging. I just started re-reading John McKnight's book "The Careless Society" which describes how we have replaced true “caring” with a professional class of service providers who depend on creating needs and deficits in order to take care of us. In this eye-opening critique, he specifically addresses the differences between the professional’s view of “oldhood” as a set of problems that need to be solved and the perspective of his 81 year old mother-in-law who sees “oldhood” as just a condition - like being male or female, tall or short; neither good nor bad.

For McKnight’s "Old Grandma" (she liked to be called "Old Grandma" because she believed it gave her authority) old was many things: "finally knowing what is important; when you are, rather than when you are becoming; knowing about pain rather than fearing it; being able to gain more pleasure from memory than from prospect; when doctors become impotent and powerless; when satisfaction depends less and less on consumption; using the strength that a good life has stored for you; enjoying deference; and worrying about irrelevance."

Does this understanding of "oldhood" speak to you? At my relatively inexperienced 62 year, I know I don’t have a clear understanding of the meaning of "old". I don't feel old, but then I don't feel young either. It’s like I’m in junior high again - at that in-between stage. But if society portrays “oldhood” as a problem as John McKnight suggests, instead of just a condition that “is”, as Old Grandma believes, maybe that is why my generation is so fearful of growing old – while consuming the products and services that we are told will help us avoid “oldhood”. But fortunately there are many who are actively challenging the deficit creating messages describing old is a problem, and instead portraying “oldhood” as a time of self awareness, creation and relevance.

They say you should “eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper.” This coming Saturday morning you can be “Queen (or King) for the Day” - enjoying a delicious breakfast prepared by Bonnie and Edna. This month’s menu includes biscuits and gravy, scrambled eggs, sausage, fruit and coffee. Not bad for $5.00 - or $4.00 if you are a Center member. And the Center would like to thank our friends, Heather and Tara, at Edward Jones for sponsoring this month’s breakfast.

And to add a little spice to the scrambled eggs, this month’s breakfast theme is “high school graduation” – if you still remember those days. And if you can find your high school yearbook, stored among all those other lost memories, bring it to the Center this week or during breakfast and receive $1 off. So far only Jim Gordon has taken up the offer. And after reading the scribbled notes in his yearbook, I see he hasn’t really changed – still following the humorist Dave Barry's philosophy of "I'll mature when I'm dead."

And continuing this theme, for the Tuesday lecture on the 22nd (the last one until September), we will meet at the school previously known as Wahtonka High School at 11:00 for a tour of the School District Archive Museum with Rymmel Lovell. Park in the paved parking lot parallel to 10th street and the entrance to the museum is through the gate on the south east corner of the building.

Thanks to the help of many volunteers and the generosity and support of all the folks who attend, the Center’s Tuesday Night Music has been a real success. And it also helps when you have crowd-pleasing, talented musicians playing each Tuesday night such as the “Jazz Generations” next Tuesday the 22nd and the “Strawberry Mountain Band” tonight. I keep sliding the tables closer together and further back so more couples can get out there and do their thing - we may not move as fast, but we still enjoy moving. The beats start at 7:00 and although the electricity is flowing there is no charge – but donations are graciously accepted.

Several folks remembered the radio series "I Love a Mystery" but only Joanne Scott remembered the three friends: Jack, Doc and Reggie. (If you want to hear the old time radio broadcasts from “The Adventures of Sam Spade” to “Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar” you can find many of them on the Internet at www. For this week’s “Remember When” question we’ll stick to the category “Old Time Radio”. What comedy duo first performed on national radio in 1938 the hilarious comedy routine “Who’s on First?” For a chance to will a free Saturday breakfast, call 541-296-4788 or email

Well that’s another day in the sun. Until we meet again, don’t open up your umbrella when the sun is still shining.

“The only real way to look younger is not to be born so soon.” Charles Schulz

Aging Well June 8th

Last Saturday on a beautiful sunny day (how did they do that?) there was standing room only for The Dalles Wahtonka High School graduation - a time for these high school seniors to celebrate the completion of one chapter in their lives and the beginning of another - as friends, parents and grandparents watched with pride and admiration. But I wonder if these young people see the many opportunities ahead; believing that anything is possible and wanting to make a difference. I hope so.

But as we stand and watch from the other end of the time continuum – weathered and wiser, I wonder if we - as seniors, after our graduation from the workforce, having left behind the friends we knew so well - still look to the future more than the past, still see our opportunities and possibilities ahead and still believe we can make a difference. I hope so.

As she looks ahead, Rymmel Lovell is also looking back by helping establish the School District Archive Museum: a place to collect and display local school history including memorabilia from both The Dalles and Wahtonka High Schools. You can find old trophies, pictures, and scrapbooks; and vintage computers including the TRS -80 and apple computers. And did you ever want to relive the excitement of those high school football games? You can. Included is a collection of 16 mm films of TDHS football games if you or your class wants to convert any to DVD format.

But the museum collection is far from complete and Rymmel is always looking for additional photos – particularly class or student pictures from the Thompson and Court Street schools and pictures from Wilson School before 1970. You can call her or bring the photos to the Center - and she will gladly accept copies if you want to keep the original.

The School District Archive Museum is in the old Wahtonka High School and is now open every Saturday from 10:00 - 3:00. The entrance is near the south east corner but when the museum is open, Rymmel will have signs out for the directionally challenged. And if you would like to volunteer, use the museum for a meeting, schedule a special tour, donate memorabilia, or just would like more information, you can call Rymmel at 541-296-6546.

To get into that graduation spirit, the Center is offering a special $1.00 off on the Center’s June 19th Saturday breakfast, if and only if you have enough guts – no vanity allowed - to bring your high school yearbook to the breakfast (Skip the pictures, I want to know what your friends wrote about you!). And to get the fun rolling, I have left my 1966 high school yearbook at the front desk – and what a handsome guy he was.

A local resource to pacify your creative urge this summer is The Dalles Art Center. Check out the many opportunities in June: Intermediate Watercolors class, an “Introduction to Pastels” workshop, and “Making Jewelry with PMC”. The Art Center is open every Tuesday-Saturday from 11-5 PM so you can enjoy the current monthly exhibit of local artists. For more details, call 541-296-4759 or go to their web site at

And there is more. The public is invited to their Annual Volunteer Appreciation Party at the Art Center this Saturday, June 11th at 2:00 PM. For this special event there will be a presentation on R. Crumb’s “Book of Genesis” by the Portland Art Museum Speakers Bureau. (R. Crumb was the controversial founder of the underground comix movement.)

Tuesday night is music night at the Center and on the 15th the Strawberry Mountain Band will be back to raise the roof – lead by the venerable Andre Lamoreaux. And tonight you can savor the sweet sounds of The Notecrackers. And it’s all free (donations are appreciated) and we don’t check ID’s at the door.

Virginia McLain was one of ten entries who remembered that Rod Serling was the creator and narrator of the television series “Twilight Zone”. This week’s “Remember When” question is courtesy of Ron Nelson who remembers after his bedtime, hiding under the covers with the radio and listening to the adventure series “I Love a Mystery”. The radio series was about three friends who ran a detective agency and traveled the world in search of adventure, and from 1950 – 1952 was heard weeknights at 10:15pm. Who were the three friends in “I Love a Mystery”? And I will give you a hint - one was Jack. Call 541-296-4788 or email

Well, that’s enough - time to blow out the candles and shut the doors. Until we meet again, as Milton Berle, Mr. Television himself, once said, “If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.”

“I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Maya Angelou

Aging Well June 1st

There will be a time in your life, when you have that “ah-ha” moment. For Judy it was recalling an occasion, years back, when she looked out her window and saw an older man – much older than herself - shuffling along the sidewalk. He wasn't dirty but wasn't really clean either - and his pants and shirt didn't match in color or pattern. She remembers her immediate reaction - a sense of sadness and pity.

Now, years later, when she again pictures that scene, it is her “ah - ha” moment – for she realizes, it didn't really matter. How he dressed, how he looked, whether he shuffled or ran – it didn’t really matter. At this time in her life she understands what was once so important is no longer: how you move about, social position, appearance, clothes. And it was liberating - providing a new sense of freedom; creating opportunities to pursue her postponed callings and no longer bound by unnecessary social constraints. (Let me pause here to make clear - it is the type of clothes that aren’t important. I don’t want anyone walking down third street, buck naked, telling folks I said wearing clothes wasn’t important - although there are those summer days when you wish – no, I better not go there.)

This sense of freedom leads to a new awareness of what is important: a trueness to self and accepting who we are; meaningful connections with friends with all their gifts - and faults, and an appreciation of the banquet that lies before us. By learning, discovering these new understandings of life, these “ah-ha” moments, we can look forward with anticipation and hope, as each day we bravely step into the future.

Jan Leininger recently reminded me that the Wasco County Historical Society is at it again providing a wide variety of tasty summer offerings at the Rorick House (300 W 13th Street in The Dalles). You may have missed Eric Gleason last Sunday but this coming Saturday at 2:00 pm Bob Carsner will be discussing “ The History and Art to the Stained Glass Windows in The Dalles’ Churches”. Then on Sunday June 13th at 2:00 pm the Meyer Sisters, Brita, Brenna and little sis Luise will be performing on the Rorick Piano, followed by David Childs on Saturday June 19th at 2:00 discussing his WW II experiences and his recently published book “Wings and Tracks”. The series concludes with John Lundell presenting his recently published research “History of Schools Districts and School Houses, Wasco County, Oregon”.

Newly appointed The Dalles City Mayor, Jim Wilcox, will be the speaker for the Center’s June 8nd Tuesday lecture at 11:00. He will share his thoughts and perspectives on City Government and answer any of your questions - plus provide us with all the inside gossip about city council. (Is it true, the real reason Nikki Lesich resigned in April is because she was asked to impersonate the former mayor, Rob VanCleave, impersonating Elvis Presley at the Cherry Festival Lipsync Contest - and although she could take all the political heat - that was just had too much too handle?)

The four lucky folks who each won a notecard depicting the “Dalles City” Sternwheeler at Rooster Rock (given to the Center by Clarence Mershon) were Glena McCargar, Corliss Marsh, Joann Scott and Loretta Commander. And the answer? Samuel Lancaster, the engineer and landscape architect who was the primary designer of the Historic Columbia River Highway.”

And for this week’s “Remember When” question, its back to television - America’s living room during the 50’s and 60”s. Who was the creator and narrator of the television series “Twilight Zone” which often used science fiction to comment on social and political issues of that time? Email or call 541-296-4788.

That’s it again - time to pick back the rug and put away the dishes. Until we meet again, don’t just wait for the phone to ring. Pick it up and call somebody.

“If you can't fly, run. If you can't run, walk. If you can't walk, crawl, but by all means keep moving." Martin Luther King


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