We have decked the halls of the home with garland, the greenhouses delivered a magnificent wreath for the door and the largest poinsettias we’ve ever seen, with pristine white cyclamen to accent the tables. The piano has been tuned and carols are being sung. Frank Miller and Mike Walrath strung thousands of white lights on the outdoor trees so they light the entrance to Cooperstown at dusk.
Most importantly, we have a warm, gracious home that supports a caring family of residents and employees. Throughout the day there is laughter and camaraderie, warmth and vibrant spirit. We are now truly ready for the holidays!
Deanna Gable, Sheila Jones, Darcey Schilling and Sue Walker went shopping for our adopted Christmas family. Residents and staff made generous donations and the shoppers found wonderful treasures to help make a special Christmas for our chosen family.
We’ve hosted several special events and it’s only the first week of December! We thank the Sweet Adelines for a masterful performance with exceptional harmony, lively songs, cute antics, and some opportunities to sing along! It was truly inspirational and there wasn’t an empty seat in the living room! Terry Gorman and Nancy Iversen joined their mom, Janet Gorman, to enjoy the performance. Myra, Tim and Oliver Searles enjoyed the night with their mother, Carrie Jane Watkins. There were delicious homemade cookies and punch which kept us all going strong.
The following night we enjoyed the Small Town Big Band with tunes we all know and love and a few of our favorite Christmas melodies too. We learned they’ve played together for about seven years and they have such a great big band sound! We all enjoyed the performance and saw toes tapping in the audience! Of course Darcey and Chrissy made us more cookies and punch ... food is always a key component of every event. We hosted more guests including Veronica Seaver who attended with Fannie Navarra, and Nancy Iversen and son, Chris, who returned for more fun.
On Wednesday we held a surprise Bingo game with chocolate prizes! Bill Bowes went Christmas shopping with Laurie and Fred Blatt to gather Christmas gifts and some special items for the home.
Tim Iversen came over Thursday afternoon and treated us to some exceptional music. He has a wonderful voice and accompanied himself on the piano. He played Christmas songs, great old standards, jazz and so much more. We sang with him on some of the pieces and we could have listened to him forever! He promised to return. Tim’s mother, Nancy Iversen, and grandmother, Janet Gorman, have a lot to be proud of in Tim’s abilities.
In recent weeks we said farewell to two wonderful residents, Dr. Art Laidlaw and Pat DeBaun. Art was 97 years young, a true gentleman, always with a kind word and wonderful sense of humor. He was a beloved pediatrician to many in Cooperstown. Pat DeBaun was a vibrant, lively, kind woman whose sense of humor and joy of life permeated the room. Pat was known for her love of family, friends, and gardening. We will treasure our memories of Art and Pat and keep in touch with their families. Pat’s daughters, Laura and Ellie, sent a rose to each resident and a basket of flowers and plants to the employees. The flowers have been planted in the indoor garden, in Pat’s memory.
We enjoyed the annual Board of Director’s Christmas Party and it was another year to remember. We welcomed our families and friends to the home and enjoyed an evening filled with joy and laughter. Rob Hunt set the mood with his artistry at the piano.
There were delicious holiday foods, some new recipes and some returning favorites, served with tasty eggnog and fruit punch. We’ve never seen shrimp quite as large as those served at the home. This year there were also stuffed mushrooms, crabcakes, miniature quiches, a new recipe with spinach and artichokes, and a zesty chicken salad served on delicate crackers. At the end of the evening, scrumptious Christmas cookies were served to all the guests! It’s always a wonderful evening and such a pleasure to have the opportunity to thank the Board of Directors for their efforts on behalf of the home. It was truly a night to remember.
The following night a group of Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts came to sing Christmas carols. They gave a wonderful performance and also donated some handmade ornaments for our tree. It was very special.
We had a delightful visit from the singing group, Ah Coopella! They brightened our evening with many wonderful songs! They have beautiful voices, wonderful harmony and are so animated, it was a lively evening! We joined them at the end of the program to sing some of our favorite Christmas carols. Paula Henrich attended the concert with her mother, Jeanette Hansen. Norma Wagner was joined by her daughter, Betsy and husband Bill Hayes.
On Wednesday a group of visitors from Leading Age New York came to volunteer at the home for the day. Amy, Kate, Noreen and Alyssa spent a wonderful day with us and it was a treat to have them here. Each year the organization selects one home in New York state ,and this year they chose The Clara Welch Thanksgiving Home. They helped us wrap Christmas presents for the family we adopted from the Angel Network. Then we all played Christmas Carol Bingo. We sang Christmas carols, helping each other to remember the lyrics, then guessing the names and filling in our bingo cards until everyone had won and the chocolate winnings had all been distributed.
After the game, they joined us for dinner in the dining room. We enjoyed steak and homemade chicken pot pie and of course the conversation. Amy spoke about the role of Leading Age NY to support the interests of seniors and provide educational offerings for those who serve seniors in various settings, including adult homes like ours. We shared many stories and by the end of the day, they said that they enjoyed their day as much as we had. They asked if they could make a return visit and we all agreed that they are always welcome!
On Thursday we celebrated the December birthdays with a party for Ralph Veenema and Peg Hage! Ralph’s daughter Lois and her husband, Bill Byrne, were visiting from Michigan, so they also enjoyed the party.
As we make our final preparations for Christmas, we extend our wishes to the community for a very Merry Christmas!
“Perhaps the best Yuletide decoration is being wreathed in smiles.” — Author Unknown