Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Dee (Reflections)

If you've been following our Facebook photos, you may have noticed this… our class is ballooning in size! Ever since the holidays, at least a new senior a week has taken the courage to step foot into our rowdy, laugh-out-loud group. We take up more chairs than can fit around a large table - so even with a bigger, brighter room, it still feels as cozy as ever before. And if you've been following along, you may also have noticed something else… there is a beautiful (younger) smile beaming in a lot of the recent photos. Well, it's my honor to officially introduce my writing class co-leader - and now friend - Dee! Dee has been so amazing. She first reached out to me months ago as a blog reader - whom I had never met or conversed with in "real life" by the way - offering to volunteer. With extraordinary enthusiasm, I must add! Having joined our team as a copyeditor (a role she still keeps!), she started coming to our class week after week - it was clear to me that she loves the seniors and the seniors love her. I couldn't have wished for better company - for the seniors, and for me - just having Dee in the room gives me so much moral support. So you see, this project is truly made up of miracles. As the class began to balloon, I never had to go out looking for help, because in walked Dee, the perfect person at the time. Oh yes, you should see us in action. We make quite the pair ;)

(Dee: thank you so, so much, and… see you Thursday!!)

Dee Reichle

For me, the best day of my week is always Thursdays when I am at the Writing & Storytelling class at the Philadelphia Senior Center. Even though it has been only several months since I joined the class, as a volunteer, it feels like I have been with this group for much longer.

They have become a part of my family, as I share the day’s stories with my eager-to-hear family at Thursday night dinner. Whether it’s a story about an eventful bus trip, a long-awaited family reunion, New Year’s family traditions, a hilarious case of mistaken identity, life long ago in a far away land, a rousing rendition of the Irish Parlor Song, or very personal remembrances of a great man, I always have so much to learn from these seniors. They gladly share their lives, their families and their wisdom,
intertwined with humor, grace and humility.

But the unexpected surprise for me was learning that the seniors enjoy being asked for their advice, on a variety of topics, from younger generations – and, that younger generations really want to listen to what the seniors have to say! The topics transcend generational boundaries – how to mend a broken heart, how to survive a loss or how to start a conversation with family elders.

So, for me, that is the magic of this class – generations actively engaged in each other’s lives – and why Thursdays are the “Best Day” of the week … by far!