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. Continue reading

Orioles Biggest Fan Lives at Pickersgill

In 1954, “I Love Lucy” was the top-ranking TV show, Marilyn Monroe married Joe DiMaggio, Eisenhower was president, and the Orioles debuted in Baltimore. For Olga Wagner, 96, a resident at Pickersgill Retirement Community in Towson, Maryland, it was a start of a lifelong love affair with America’s Pastime.

Though Olga grew up in New Jersey, she moved to Baltimore when she was 20, and Maryland has become her home. The Orioles have been her favorite team since the team came to Baltimore in 1954; she cheers them on through every game.

Her love of the Orioles began with her children. Her daughters were both members of the Junior Orioles Dugout Club and loved watching baseball. The family lived only five minutes away from Memorial Stadium (the Orioles home field until 1991) and regularly watched games there.

Having been a fan since the beginning, she has seen heart-wrenching defeats and lived the pure joy that floods through a city when the home town team wins the World Series—something every Orioles fan under the age of 34 has yet to experience. Understandably so, Olga’s favorite Orioles memory is when the O’s defeated Pete Rose and the Philadelphia Phillies to claim the World Series Championship in 1983.

Like many Baltimore Orioles fans, Wagner’s favorite Orioles player is Cal Ripken Jr., and her favorite moment in a game happened on September 6, 1995, when Cal Ripken Jr. started in his 2,131st consecutive game, breaking Lou Gehrig’s “unbreakable” 2,130 consecutive game record.

Though Wagner has not attended an Orioles game in several years, she still watches every game she can on television—often staying up late to do so. Olga collects Orioles pennants and often wears her Orioles shirts to show her team support.

Here, you can see the passion Olga Wagner has for her favorite team:

Olga Wagner sporting her Orioles gear

When Should You Consider Assisted Living For Your Parents?

If your parents are having more and more difficulty with everyday activities such as showering, dressing, getting around the house, and running errands, assisted living  may be the answer. Your parents (and you!) can get the daily support you need, while remaining as independent as possible. Making the decision to move can be difficult for you and your parents, but you can make the transition easier by taking time to find the right fit and being honest about their needs and concerns.

So, how do you know if it’s time to consider assisted living for your parents? Ask yourself these questions: Continue reading