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:

 

 

The Pickersgill Spring Party

Mardi Gras Theme Offers the Perfect Backdrop for a Spirited Party!

Colorful decorations, delicious refreshments, lively music and dancing blended to create a festive atmosphere at the Mardi Gras themed celebration held in the Pickersgill Willard Room.  The party vibe on Chestnut Avenue was akin to that of New Orleans’ famed February fete.  The smooth big band sound of Ain’t Misbehavin’ beguiled guests to step onto the dance floor.  Tables were decorated in purple, green and gold and set with displays of masks and beads; revelers were encouraged adorn themselves the jaunty accessories.

What would a Mardi Gras party be without a float?

Many surprises greeted the crowd when the auditorium doors opened.  Party guests were invited to have their picture taken in a custom-made photo booth designed to look like a glamorous Mardi Gras parade float.  The “float” and many other decorations were made by artist Kim Deacon, who devoted countless volunteer hours preparing props to bring about the perfect ambiance.  “The creative touches were magnificent,” remarked one guest, “I was amazed at how the room was transformed.”  Scenes set with lamp posts and street signs conveyed guests to les rues imaginaries of the French Quarter.

Entertainment is key to recreating the joyful spirit of Mardi Gras.

Dancing was opened by Pickersgill Executive Director, Barry Eisenberg, and his wife Susan; they were followed to the dance floor by residents escorted by charismatic Towson University students.  Refreshments were in keeping with Big Easy culinary traditions such as beignets, King Cake and Hurricane Punch- both spiked and plain!  Before the night was over Richard Davidson and Lucille Scribner were crowned Mardi Gras King and Queen.

The Mardi Gras party was hosted by the Pickersgill Board of Directors.  Each spring the Board plans a magnificent themed party for residents and their guests, the theme of last year’s event was “High School Prom.”  Needless to say quite a bit of thoughtful planning goes into the annual spring party which calls on the talent and time of many dedicated members of the Board as well as Pickersgill staff.  The party planning committee was lead by Board Member Nancy Flowers, her “krewe” included Vici Heineman, Kim Deacon, Henry Clay, Lynn Hunovice, Lenore D’Adamo, Barry Eisenberg, Robin Fletcher, Jane Croft, Sandra Ortwein, Marsha Carroll, Carol Long, Fran Finnegan and Jean Lillquist.  Special thanks to our Towson University volunteer corps, 25 young men and women who regularly interact with our residents.

The Mardi Gras party was a great way to say goodbye to the winter blahs and welcome the spring season.  Many wondered, what will next year’s party theme be?