OUR FLAG: Celebrations at Pickersgill Retirement Community

For many Baltimoreans the American Flag holds a special meaning because of the historic connections between our city and The Stars and Stripes: connections such as the War of 1812, Fort McHenry, the “Star-Spangled Banner” and of course because of the famous local seamstress who made the great garrison flag that inspired the national anthem, Mary Pickersgill. Since Mary Pickersgill is not just the namesake of Pickersgill Retirement Community but also a founding board member of our organization, we’ve come to think of the American Flag as our icon, and because of this, here at Pickersgill, we take every opportunity to celebrate our flag and its symbolism.

Celebrations

Flag Day, June 14, commemorates the adoption of the Flag of the United States (aka the American Flag) which happened on June 14, 1777, by resolution of the 2nd Continental Congress during the Revolutionary War.  June 14 is an important day at Pickersgill Retirement Community.  On Flag Day we invite family, friends, neighbors and elected officials to honor our resident veterans and to celebrate with us. This year we honored over 40 men and women living at Pickersgill who served in the United States Armed Forces. At our celebration residents and guests recited the Pledge of Allegiance, sang the “Star-Spangled Banner,” enjoyed refreshments and were treated to patriotic songs and classic American harmonies performed by both the Pickersgill Singers and Harbor City Chorus.

Independence Day, July 4   As celebrations took place in cities and towns across the country to mark our nation’s birthday, residents were doing the same at Pickersgill.  On a day known for picnics and barbeques Pickersgill residents and their guests dined cookout style.  The traditional menu for the fourth: hamburgers, hot dogs, corn on the cob, baked beans, potato salad, cole slaw, watermelon, apple pie and ice cream was served as a buffet in the Independent Living Dining Room. A lively concert in the Willard Auditorium performed by pianist & vocalist Dick Smith featured numerous patriotic standards.  One resident remarked that it was her “favorite concert of the year.”  Some residents ventured out to attend fireworks displays with their families at local venues while residents in who preferred to stay in the air conditioning enjoyed watching the Inner Harbor Fireworks live on widescreen TVs.

Flags on display!  Pickersgill Retirement Community is lucky to have a friend named Bob Knowles.  Twelve years ago, to help Pickersgill Retirement Community, Mr. Knowles set up a special display– flags from his private collection. Knowles’ flag display quickly became a much-loved annual event.  Each year, Mr. Knowles goes through his flag collection – which consists of more than 600 flags – and carefully chooses pieces to display at Pickersgill.

The display, which features flags from all over the world, is so massive that it covers the entire auditorium at Pickersgill as well as the main hallway, creating a walkthrough exhibit for residents and their families.  “I’m very thankful to Pickersgill and glad that my flag display has become a tradition,” Knowles said.

Knowles, an avid flag collector since the age of 14, became interested in Pickersgill when looking for a retirement community for his mother in the summer of 2004. After looking at several different communities; Knowles found that Pickersgill was “the nicest one.” During a meeting between Knowles, his mother, and Pickersgill staff, Knowles mentioned that if his mother decided to live at Pickersgill, he would do a flag show for the community.

His mother moved in a few months later, and Knowles thought that Pickersgill forgot about his offer. That is, until he received a phone call in April 2005 asking him to bring some of his flags for Flag Day.  At that first show, Knowles displayed approximately 85 flags. Each year, he has increased the number of flags he brings so that residents can see something new.

Though Knowles’ mother passed away in 2010, Knowles still loves visiting Pickersgill, interacting with the residents and seeing people enjoy his flags. “Pickersgill was wonderful to my mother,” Knowles said. “She was always very social, and Pickersgill allowed her to be a social butterfly once again. I’m glad to see that the residents still look forward to my flags.”  One resident remarked, “I think it is one of the best events that happen at Pickersgill all year.”

This year, Mr. Knowles brought more than 200 flags to Pickersgill which will be on display from July 4th through the end of the month.

Hanging the flags throughout the building takes a lot of preparation.  Before hanging the flags, Knowles creates and laminates information tags about each flag for viewers to read.  When Knowles started displaying his collection at Pickersgill, he hung the flags himself. Now, he has several volunteers help him hang the flags, a process that usually takes several evenings to install.

All of his hard work is worth it, he says, when he sees how appreciative everyone is of the display.

“I’m a regular person during the rest of the year, but when I go to Pickersgill for the flag show, I’m a rock star,” Knowles said. “They treat me like I’m P!nk or Mick Jagger.”

With so many flags in his collection, it is hard for Knowles to pick a favorite. “Cool” flags in his collection include the Star-Spangled Banner, flags from the United Kingdom, and flags from Canadian provinces and territories. The Maryland state flag is also one of his favorite flags.

Knowles hopes that when he retires from his job as a Metro engineer, he can display his flags elsewhere as well.  “The only thing that would ever stop me from displaying my flags is if something physically stopped me from doing it,” Knowles said. “I don’t plan on stopping anytime soon.”

Pickersgill Retirement Community is your resource for RIGHTSIZING

 

At Pickersgill’s annual RIGHTSIZING FAIR attendees meet local experts: Downsizer & Organizer, Mover, Realtor, Financial Advisor, Antique Appraiser, Shredder Truck Company, Junk Remover and Elder Law Expert

Everyone spends a lifetime accumulating and storing stuff.  Now that you have moving to a retirement community in your sights wouldn’t you like to know how to manage that stuff and tackle the tasks of selling, moving and organizing?

If you missed the annual Rightsizing Fair at Pickersgill Retirement Community we can still connect you with local experts so you can get answers to your questions, set appointments to meet with you and your family and get the ball rolling toward a carefree lifestyle. Contact us to meet with an admissions director at Pickersgill – our in-house rightsizing experts!

Weekly Writing Group at Pickersgill

Research continues to show benefits for seniors who write. These include memory enhancement; improvement of comprehension and communication skills; stress reduction; and increased self-confidence, self-discipline, and even emotional intelligence. And sharing with fellow writers is an added bonus.

Enter Pickersgill’s Writing Group, a dozen or so residents who have been coming together every Friday afternoon for the past three years to share stories they’ve written about their lives. Initially a gathering of people who like to write but may need a little nudge, the group has become so much more. It’s a warm, supportive family composed of very different people who have lived through many similar experiences.

Each week group members share what they wrote during the week. There is always a suggested assignment, and the topics span the spectrum, from holidays to happiness to milestones to favorite books and music. Some topics are tougher than others; writing about parents proved difficult for some. Not everyone writes every week, and not everyone writes on the assigned topic. Everyone does share though, and discussions are lively and funny and poignant.

The group has celebrated birthdays (two members are 98) and mourned the departure of others. But every Friday when they gather aches and pains are temporarily forgotten while sharing stories and laughter.

PICKERSGILL VOLUNTEERS: Thank you for BEEing Awesome!

“The bee is more honored than the other animals, not because she labors, but because she labors for others.” –St. John Chrysostom

 

One can draw many parallels between the team of hard working volunteers at Pickersgill Retirement Community and the busy life of honey bees. Perhaps that is why it is appropriate that BEES were the theme of this year’s event honoring our remarkable volunteer corps!  Pickersgill welcomed over one hundred guests at the annual Appreciation Luncheon on Wednesday, May 10.

Luncheon keynote speaker, Dr. Josephine ‘Jody’ Johnson, known as “the bee expert,” presented a talk titled “What’s Happening to Our Bees?”  Dr.  Johnson is a Lutherville resident who has a PhD in toxicology from the University of Maryland School of Medicine and is the founder and owner of a Lutherville-based company, Cullaborate LLC, that conducts pollination studies locally as well as around the country. Her recent clients have included Cylburn Arboretum, The Almond Board of California and commercial beekeepers.  Through Dr. Johnson’s presentation the audience gained deeper understanding of the crisis that exists for the world’s bee population, the reasons bees are disappearing and the long term concerns.  “This is just the type of contemporary issue that the members of our community like to explore and become knowledgeable about,” said Volunteer Coordinator, Lenore D’Adamo.

This was the 15th annual volunteer luncheon and lecture, an event that is anticipated by residents, board members and community volunteers for weeks in advance. Honorees arrived through the main lobby where they were serenaded by the sweet sounds of the Pickersgill Singers which set the tone for a delightful afternoon. Each guest was given a bee pin wear on their lapel. The pins, beautiful creations by needlepoint artist Mae Strom, were made expressly for the occasion.

After guests were seated, Executive Director, Barry Eisenberg, offered sincere thanks to the volunteers stating that “(our volunteers) create a sense of community that binds us all together, they promote the (high) quality of life that we have in abundance. It’s your commitment that makes Pickersgill so special.”  The Reverend Ernest Smart gave a witty, heartfelt blessing, and everyone enjoyed a delicious lunch prepared by Chef Richard Blake and the Pickersgill kitchen team. Faye Tully, Board President, presented door prizes and thanked each volunteer for their service and support of Pickersgill.

The spirit of giving to others is central to the ideals that established Pickersgill Retirement Community over two hundred years ago, the volunteers honored at the luncheon carry that spirit forward.

“we must find time to stop and thank the people who make a difference in our lives” –John F. Kennedy

 

Fashion & Enjoyment for Everyone

The Annual Spring Fashion Show is a long standing tradition at Pickersgill Retirement Community.  Residents look forward to the occasion not only because its a great opportunity to see the new spring looks but also because its a special treat to see their close friends and neighbors stroll down the runway as models.

The collection of colorful, warm-weather clothes on display was styled by TaylorMarie’s Apparel. A pop-up store with fabulous designer brands- Alfred Dunner, Ruby Road, Erin London, Tribal, Southern Lady, Karen Kane and Foxcroft to name a few- with a complete range of sizes for every woman.  In addition to clothing, an impressive display of costume jewelry and scarves were also available for shoppers to peruse. Everyone found something to tickle their fancy!

“It’s like a shopping spree at a boutique right here at Pickersgill!”

Each of the models chose their outfits from 20 racks of fashion-forward clothing that ranged in style from sporty to dressy.  The designer ensembles welcomed the colors of the season; sunny yellow, soothing blue, bright pink and subtle peach, in addition to graphic black and crisp white. A variety beautiful patterns and luxurious fabrics evoked an enthusiastic response from the crowd. But, it was one particular model that garnered the most attention and had heads turning; Pickersgill’s beloved physical therapy dog, Walt,  strutted the runway wearing an elegant scarf.

The models glided down the runway, smiling at their friends and neighbors, responding to the cheering sections along their route, and obviously enjoying themselves as much as their audience. Maryann Priddy, owner/manager of TaylorMarie’s, described all the models and their outfits as they cruised the runway.

Our models were: residents – Jane, Bobby, Sally, Nancy, Elinore, Mary, Vinny, Mitch, Pat and Marty: staff associates – Karen, Bridget and of course Walt.  Take a look at the slide show: