Spy Minute: Londonderry Toasts 25th Year Anniversary

It’s always a great moment when a respected community turns 25 years old. That quarter-century mark is one of the best indicators that the organization being celebrated has reached a point of maturity which promises a long healthy life to come, and there is no better example of this than Londonderry on the Tred Avon birthday bash this week.

While Londonderry has always had a sense of rock-solid stability, mainly since has been anchored by a 19th century Gothic Revival manor house, with now over 97 cottages and 26 apartments along the Tred Avon River, it is also true that for the first ten years of its existence, the then revolutionary new retirement community struggled against many odds to keep from closing, including revised partnership agreements, legal entanglements, and more recently, the unchartered waters that came with the Great Recession of 2008.

All of that is now ancient history as Londonderry is currently experiencing a waiting list for future residents, expanding its cottages and adding a large clubhouse this year.

As David Hazen said at the end of his comprehensive history of Londonderry noted, “Londonderry On The Tred Avon, nee The Retirement Community of Easton, Inc., can face the future knowing that it has been a great home for its residents of the past, while looking forward to being an even greater one for those of the future.”

The Spy was there a few nights ago to capture the scene as residents and friends gathered to toast Londonderry and its future.

This video is approximately two minutes in length. For more information about Londonderry on the Tred Avon please go here

 

Profiles in Philanthropy: Trey Rider Joins Hospice’s Drag Race for the Women in his Life

While Trey Rider, a former lacrosse player, and now busy real estate executive at Meredith Fine Properties, might seem to be one of the most least likely candidates for Talbot Hospice’s annual crossdressing Drag Race, the more you listen to his rationale for becoming involved, you realize how surprisingly appropriate it is for him to don a dress and high heels on September 24.

For Trey, supporting Hospice started early. From elementary school forward, he would help his mother, Peggy Rider, in setting up the Tidewater Inn’s ballroom for the popular Festival of Trees fundraiser for Talbot Hospice. And while he didn’t have a full understanding of what Hospice was when they started their mother-son volunteer work, over the years the importance of that cause began to sink in.

That early awareness came in handy several years later when he and his wife, Kari, faced the early and profoundly sad passing of his close friend and mother-in-law, Jan Pinkerton. And it was during Jan’s care through Talbot Hospice that Trey was reacquainted with how important it is for end of life support.

The Spy talked to Trey at the Bullitt House last week about his decision to join the Hospice Drag Race and his effort to raise $10,000 for Talbot Hospice, or even more if he can find the right dress.

This video is approximately three minutes in length. To support Trey Rider in in Talbot Hospice Drag Race please go here.  Trey will also be guest bartending at Brasserie Brightwell on Thursday September the 21 starting at 5 pm.

Senior Nation: Finding the Unexpected at Londonderry

When Beatrice Conrad met Richard Robertson, finding a husband was the last thing she expected.

Bea and Dick Robertson are pictured in 2014 on a cruise to the Bahamas

An Easton native and resident of Londonderry on the Tred Avon since 2006, Bea spent her life as a nurse, serving with the United States Air Force for 12 years and in the Veterans Administration Hospital for 22. Dick, a pilot by trade and native of New Jersey, came to Londonderry six or seven years after her.

For a time, Bea and Dick never crossed paths — she attended dinners in Londonderry’s Tred Avon Tavern, while he favored lunch. But one evening, when a mutual friend brought Dick to dinner with him and the three shared a table, things changed.
“He started coming every night (after that),” Bea said. Shortly after they met, Dick asked Bea on a lunch date to Ocean City.

“I about fell out of the chair,” Bea said. “It took me by surprise, it really did.”

Not long after the first date, Bea and Dick were officially a couple — spending every day together enjoying each other’s company and doing quite a bit of traveling during their five years together. The couple visited Syracuse, New York; Williamsburg, Va.; and Hershey, Pa. — “and then the cruises started,” Bea said. They also bought a condo in Sarasota, Fla., splitting their months between Florida and Londonderry for about two years.

The next big step for Bea and Dick came on March 7 of this year, when Bea finally agree to marry Dick.

“He asked me over and over early on, but I’d been single all my life and I just couldn’t see any reason for it” Bea said. “Finally, when we got back this past February from Florida, he said ‘It’s time to get married,’ and I said, ‘Oh, what the hell; why not?’”

Ultimately, their marriage was to be short lived — Dick passed away on May 12 of this year. But Bea has no regrets.

 

“Even now that it’s more or less all over, I still feel that when he came to the table that first time … I was plucked up and taken out of my routine life,” Bea said. “I was in a different world — a very enjoyable world, I might say. “It was a very unexpected love story on my part. You just never expect that”

Londonderry on the Tred Avon is an intimate residential cooperative community for adults ages 62 and up, offering a variety of housing options from convenient apartments to spacious cottages among 29 acres, including 1500 feet of waterfront shoreline. For more information, visit www.londonderrytredavon.com.

Senior Nation: Over Five Thousand Dollars Raised to Feed Talbot Seniors

Upper Shore Aging received a check this week for $5,644.00, from GIVE 65, a community service program of the Home Instead Senior Care Foundation. The money raised will be used to provide congregate meals for seniors in need at the Senior Center in St. Michaels, located at the YMCA. It is estimated that over one thousand meals will be provided because of this effort.

Receiving the check on behalf of Upper Shore Aging, Childlene Brooks said, “We’re just so grateful for the dozens of generous citizens here on the Eastern Shore who made these financial gifts and for Home Instead Senior Care’s Foundation for matching those gifts, dollar for dollar!” Gary Gunther, also with Upper Shore Aging, joined Brooks in receiving the check from local Home Instead Senior Care Franchise Owners, Ben & Jenna Marchi who were on hand to present it. Gunther echoed Brooks comments and added, “Because of this effort, seniors who might otherwise go hungry will have these needed meals, and our kind neighbors here on the Eastern Shore can take pride knowing they played a role in it.

The online giving event earns its name from the period of time, 65 hours, from July 11 to 13, that donors could give gifts to be matched by the Home Instead Senior Care Foundation. Upper Shore Aging was selected to participate this year, in the event whose goal is to help nonprofit organizations serving seniors raise funds online and increase awareness. Ninety nonprofits from 36 states and the District of Columbia participated this year.

“GIVE65 allows us to help our seniors while raising awareness of the critical need for private sector partners to play active roles in their communities and financially assist the programs and services that so many seniors rely on,” said Ben Marchi, the Franchise Owner of Home Instead Senior Care, whose office is in Talbot County.

The 65-hour GIVE65 Event began at 7 a.m. CDT on Tuesday, July 11 and concluded at midnight on July 13. The virtual event is an initiative of the Home Instead Senior Care Foundation® and the nation’s first and only crowd-fundraising platform focused exclusively on helping nonprofit organizations across the country raise funds for programs and services benefiting seniors.

To learn more about GIVE65, visit GIVE65.org. All donations are 100 percent tax deductible in the United States.

 

Bayleigh Chase Offering “Family is Forever” Program in September

Integrace Bayleigh Chase, a forward-thinking life plan community based in Easton, will recognize National Assisted Living Week September 10-16 with a week of special programming to celebrate the community’s assisted living residents, their loved ones, and the Bayleigh Chase colleagues who care for them.

Established by the National Center for Assisted Living (NCAL), National Assisted Living Week is an annual observation that provides a unique opportunity to recognize the role assisted living plays in caring for America’s seniors. The theme for this year’s National Assisted Living Week is “Family is Forever,” inspired by a quote from poet Maya Angelou:

“Family isn’t always blood, it’s the people in your life who want you in theirs: the ones who accept you for who you are, the ones who would do anything to see you smile and who love you no matter what.”

In honor of this year’s theme, Bayleigh Chase has planned a week of engaging programs and activities that celebrate familial bonds – both traditional and non-traditional.

On Sunday, September 10, in celebration of Grandparents Day, residents will enjoy coffee and pastries, as well as special readings about the importance of grandparents or grandparent-like figures for younger generations.

On Monday, September 11, colleagues will help residents celebrate their family trees by creating a triptych-style three panel tree with family photos. Colleagues will also lead residents in an activity to draw their own family trees.

On Tuesday, September 12, the residents will enjoy animal therapy as the Talbot Humane Society brings kittens for a visit.

On Wednesday, September 13, colleagues will lead residents and their families in an art therapy program as they create their own family portraits.

On Thursday, September 14, colleagues, residents and their loved ones will come together for a family cookout, as well as a discussion about family traditions.

On Friday, September 15, the residents and colleagues will enjoy friendly competition in a game of “Family Feud,” incorporating Bayleigh Chase’s iN2L (It’s Never 2 Late) interactive computer system.

On Saturday, September 16, residents will be treated to a special musical performance by a local pianist.

“We always look forward to National Assisted Living Week, as it gives us the opportunity to create new and fun experiences for our assisted living residents,” said Louise Montgomery, Director of Recreation and Engagement, Integrace Bayleigh Chase. “This year’s programming is all about reinforcing the meaningful connections in their lives, including their families, as well as the colleagues and friends who have become like family within our community.”

Located on a 35-acre campus in historic Easton, Bayleigh Chase is a not-for-profit life plan community that affords residents a lifestyle of flexibility and choice to live life on their own terms. Bayleigh Chase offers independent living options in its villas, cottages and apartment homes, as well as a continuum of supportive living services, including assisted living, memory support, outpatient and short-term rehabilitation, skilled nursing and diagnostic and treatment support through the Samuel and Alexia Bratton Memory Clinic. For more information, please call 410-763-7167 or visit www.bayleighchase.org.

Capturing the Special Moments of Paul Robeson with Christopher Bagley

One of the more interesting things that Brookletts Place, Talbot County’s Senior Center in Easton, is getting known for lately is their music programming. With concerts set up every month, Brookletts Place, with the help of such arts organizations like Carpe Diem Arts,  the relatively new center building is turning out to be of one of the community’s top music venues, showcasing local as well as international talent with just the right ticket price- which is typically free.

But for a event on September 15th, Brookletts Place is actually going to charge an entry fee.  In this case, it will be a donation to help raise funding for its other important programs that the senior center sponsors throughout the year like like Meals on Wheels throughout Talbot County and the hot lunch program in Easton.

But in exchange for that modest contribution, patrons should prepared to hear the powerful  music of singer Jason McKinney and musician Christopher Bagley as they bring to life famed singer Paul Robeson, and his accompanist Lawrence Brown, in a one act production entitled  Moments with Paul written by McKinney.

The Spy sat down with Chris at the Bullitt House the other day to talk about the extraordinary saga of Paul Robeson’s brilliant career and tragic downfall. That story, intermixed with gospel classics, has turned into a powerful account of Robeson’s extraordinary gifts, movingly performed by McKinney and Bagley.

Since they took to the stage in these roles at Chesapeake College in September of 2012, they have taken the story of Robeson on the road throughout the United States, and will be having its first international debut in Israel later this fall.

This video is approximately four minutes in length. For more information about Brookletts Place and this performance please go here

 

Senior Nation: The Artists of Londonderry

It makes sense to visit the Academy Art Museum and smaller art galleries in Easton and St. Michaels when one wants a sense of the local art scene on the Mid-Shore, but sometimes of the best examples of native talent can be found in the most unlikely places.

One of those is at Londonderry on the Tred Avon, just off of Port Street in Easton. This very special retirement community counts among its residents highly accomplished retired professionals in almost every field, from college professors to well known corporate leaders, but it has also attached some exceptional visual artists who continue to produce stunning landscapes, portraits, and few abstract paintings to the pleasure of the entire community.

Last week, the Spy took some time to capture a small sample of the kind of art now on display in the public spaces at Londonderry.

For more information about what’s going on at Londonderry please go here

Senior Nation: Londonderry Once Again Named Best Senior Living Facility

For the second year in a row, Londonderry on the Tred Avon has been named Best Senior Living Facility by What’s Up Magazine in its annual “Best of Eastern Shore” competition.

Located in Easton, Londonderry on the Tred Avon is an intimate residential cooperative community for adults ages 62 and up, offering a variety of housing options from convenient apartments to spacious cottages among 29 acres, including 1500 feet of waterfront shoreline.

For Peggy and Jim Sloan, residents for the past year, there were a number of things that drew them to Londonderry. The couple lived in Florida for more than a decade before deciding to move back to the Eastern Shore to be closer to some of their adult children, and immediately
knew Londonderry was the place for them.

“Everybody was just so friendly,” Peggy Sloan said. “It felt like home.”

Since moving in, the Sloans have come to love Londonderry’s roster of activities, the quality of its residents and staff, and the amenities offered in its cottage. The retirement community also offers both housekeeping and dining, which are important features for the Sloans.

“As we get older we can’t always do those things as well for ourselves, so those were some really nice aspects,” Peggy Sloan said.

According to Chela Hernandez, an accounting assistant who’s worked at Londonderry since 2015, “Best Of” is a title that really applies. She attributes it to how friendly and close knit both the staff and residents are.

“I heard great things about Londonderry before coming here, and as soon as I walked in for my first interview, I immediately felt at ease and very welcomed,” Hernandez said. “I never dread coming to work, because a day of work here is not a boring day by far.”

For more information about Londonderry, visit www.londonderrytredavon.com.

Senior Nation Minute: It’s Lunchtime at the Talbot Senior Center

While the Talbot Senior Center serves a variety of purposes, including classes, workshops and physical exercise programs, its most popular is the extremely affordable ($2.50) lunch served Monday through Thursday. Dozens of senior citizens find their way to Brookletts Place during the week to enjoy a warm meal, but more importantly, the social interaction that comes with it.

The social component of the Senior Center’s lunch program is essential since many seniors find themselves isolated as a result of physical ailments or lacking  transportation. Brookletts Place has become an important outlet to interact with others, catch up on news, and learn of other resources, public and private, that can make their lives easier and more enjoyable during these golden years.

The Spy checked on the lunch program this week to witness this important community service.

This video is one minute in length. For more information please click here

Senior Nation: Growing Old and Loving It by Dodie Theune

Editor’s Note. Dodie Theune is a resident of Oxford, adjunct faculty member of Temple University, and CEO of Coaching Affiliates. She was the keynote speaker at last week’s Senior Summit for the  Mid-Shore region. We have reprinted her address in its entirety.

Today I hope to encourage you to reimagine how growing old could be different than what we have come to expect. To do that, we need to let go of the old paradigms for aging and create a new vision for our future. No matter where we have been or what we have done or left undone…we can still reimagine our life in what I call “Our Third Act.”

You are never too old to become the person you were meant to be. And that’s what your Third act could be about…becoming the person you were meant to be.

We hear more and more about the “The Graying of America.” The median age of Americans is going up and the population is getting older. We are now the fastest growing segment and that gives us clout in many areas, especially in the voting box. And The Eastern Shore is a perfect example of this phenomenon. In fact, by 2020, we expect that more than 40% of the population of Talbot County will be over age 65!

Today we will take a look at what we can accomplish with this new-found power.

I remember Turning 65. There were a whole lot more candles on the cake. More small lines showed up around my eyes. I remember looking down at my hands and saying, “These are not my hands…These are my mother’s hands.”

I am more than a little stiff now getting up in the morning. I sometimes forget the names of people I know quite well. And I hardly ever remember the titles of books I’ve read and movies I’ve seen. And there are times when I walk into a room and wonder what I was looking for? These are all reminders that I am “gettin’ on in years.”

Turning Sixty Five is a big milestone for us. We send each other funny cards and tell jokes. We celebrate with cake and coffee at work. We have special parties. And we get a kick out of wearing black armbands at 65th birthday parties.

But the truth is that underneath all that playfulness, there is a clear aversion to getting older. And that is not good because when we resist the idea of aging, we are also saying NO to what is possible…saying NO to all that is new and wonderful about this truly unique and special time of life, Our Third Act.

We have, most of us, grown up with what I call the old paradigm of aging, You know what I mean: “Old Age Ain’t No Place for Sissies”, “Getting old is a bitch.” These deep-rooted bromides are what I call: Limiting Beliefs about Aging.

Beliefs are important because they determine our attitudes about everything. And our attitudes are what drives our behavior.

Think about that for a minute.

Limiting beliefs will influence us to have negative and self-defeating attitudes about our future. And since attitudes drive our behavior, we are then more likely to give in to aging, to give up, and to submit to the old expectations about getting old. If that becomes our attitude, we will be guaranteeing that ours will be a future with little if any possibilities.

I’d like to tell you a little bit about my own “growing older” story. I was 70 and teaching at Temple University in Philadelphia when I realized that I needed hearing aids. Mind you, I already had reading glasses. So off I went for the inevitable hearing test. I had to laugh as I remembered my mother saying…first the eyes…then the ears. I am now adding…then the feet!

To tell the truth I hated wearing those hearing aids. The little buds that went inside my ear tickled and I was constantly fussing to see if they were in place. And then one day, I turned on the ignition in my car and my hearing aids buzzed. I said out loud “This is getting ridiculous!”

I can laugh at it now but back then I was really annoyed. It was right around then that we had one of our family dinners. In fact, I think it was Mother’s day. I admit I was complaining more than just a little about those darn hearing aids when one of my daughters came over and put her arm around me and jokingly said, “It’s ok Mom. You’re just getting ‘OLDE’. I was speechless for a moment as I looked at her with amazement and then I said “I’M NOT OLDE… Grandpa…He’s OLDE!!”

So just what is OLDE? Johnny Carson said “Old is 10 years older than you are now.” We like that definition of course because according to Johnnie, we never ever actually get olde, we just age a little more.

My daughter meant well and she probably didn’t realize that what she was actually doing was expressing the old paradigm for aging. You know the one.

It’s often depicted as an Arch. You’re young…you’re middle aged and supposedly at your prime and after that, it is all downhill. We really must change that depiction because it fosters negative thoughts and limiting beliefs.

I prefer to show the life cycle as a straight line to demonstrate a new paradigm for aging: a new vision for “growing old and loving it. ”First there is your younger self…followed by your middle aged and older self … and then you shift into what I am now calling Your Third Act.

We can and should look forward to our Third Act with a curiosity for what could be possible. And anything is possible when you give yourself the opportunity to use your Third Act as a springboard to becoming the person you were meant to be.

When I was 65, It never occurred to me that I would be here with all of you talking about how much I love being 77. I am in the throes of My Third Act and I have not peaked yet! In fact, last winter I spent 30 plus days downhill skiing and I am skiing better than ever. I am truly blessed.

As we age, it is critical that we be authentic. We should tell the truth about ourselves and have some fun doing it. Life is so much easier when we learn to be authentic. Aging actually gives us permission to be who we really are. How refreshing is that?

We can spend time with the people we like especially the ones who make us laugh. And we should definitely find things to laugh about. We can always find something to worry about.

While I was preparing for this morning, I asked my husband if he could give me an example of a time when we laughed at ourselves. Guess what he said? Every day. We find things to laugh about ourselves and each other ….every single day.

I recently saw a post on facebook of a white haired woman dancing the high step and wearing the most outlandish hat and an equally outlandish red and white polka dot dress with lots of ruffles. The caption read: “It’s better to have a sense of humor than no sense at all”

It is extremely important as we enter our Third Act, to let go of the past. Forgive and forget. Life is too short and we just do not have the time to harbor a grudge. In fact, it is exhausting. I saw a poster recently that said: “The best revenge is to be happy.”

And absolutely…we should have no regrets. What’s the point after all? What’s gone is gone. What’s lost is lost. The past is the past.

Our friends have a really wonderful tradition for letting go of the past. All year long, they write down their regrets and then on New Year’s Eve, they make paper boats out of those lists of regrets and gather with other families at a small lake nearby. They line up the boats at the shoreline and light each one with a match and float the burning boats out into the darkness. And then they are free to celebrate a New Year. They have learned to be in the present by torching the past.

It is also important that while we are learning to be authentic, and letting go of the past, we must also learn to give ourselves permission to reach out and ask for help. Remember, ‘no one ever said that growing older would be easy.’ In fact, it takes a great deal of courage! Much too often, our genes disappoint us as we age and for some of us, the Third Act may become an overwhelming challenge.

We recognize that many of our Talbot County seniors are in need of support and encouragement, especially when they are suffering from pain, or financial distress or grieving for a lost loved one. Facing an uncertain future requires enormous courage.

That is precisely why we are here today at the Second Annual Senior Summit. Talbot Community Connections and the Talbot County Department of Social Services are hoping that by sharing information about the right tools and the assistance that is available, our seniors can approach their Third Act with more confidence and ease. Today is all about learning that Aging in Talbot County need not be scary. We can indeed, grow old and love it.

I launched my Third Act by retiring to St Michaels. I told my friends that I would be taking a year to settle in and that I would be nesting, testing and resting. Anyone who has downsized will understand what having ‘layered furniture’ means. I spent endless days unpacking and running to the thrift shops and rummage sales.

Testing was the most fun. I looked around town for ways that I could match my experience and skills with a need in the community. To fill a gap, if you will. I knew it would certainly be easy to be busy. There are endless possibilities for volunteering. But I was, after all, in my Third Act and I was looking for a way to experience what I saw as a profound new vision for myself…“to grow old and love it.”

That’s when I discovered the Academy of Life Long Learning. When I was a young mother I saw a poster at the library that read: “Live today as if it were your last and seek after knowledge as if you will live forever.”

I absolutely believe that anyone who stops learning will get old while someone who keeps learning will stay young. I have become a great proponent of lifelong learning. Malcolm Boyd, an Episcopal priest and Poet-in-Residence at the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles wrote that “Aging… requires learning. God knows it requires wisdom. It can be an enormous blessing because it serves to sum up a life, lend it character, underscore its motivation. Finally, it prepares the way for leave-taking.”

I AM a life long learner. I finished my undergraduate degree when my children were grown and then went on to earn my Masters in Adult Education. I received my PhD just 7 years ago and it took me more than 5 years to earn that degree.

So, when I discovered the Academy of Life Long Learning. I was really excited . I took several fascinating courses and then came up with the Idea of creating a course about my favorite subject: growing old and loving it. Facilitating that course was an extremely fulfilling experience. Actually it was a joy. I was in my Third Act and doing something I truly loved. And here I am today.

In one of the workshops at the Senior Summit, we will hear a discussion about reimagining your life. It is possible, you know…to reimagine your life …no matter what your current circumstances may be. A technique for reimagining your life is to ask yourself : What will be my life story; What legacy do I want to leave?

When you were younger and busy raising families and building careers, you may have wanted to do more but just didn’t have the time. Now that you have the time, what dream can you follow? And for you younger folks, now is your chance to do what you can with what you’ve got in the direction of your dream and begin to write that story.

The motto for Talbot Community Connections is “Filling the Gap.” What gap can you fill? What can you do to make a difference? You might think about what makes you mad or sad about what’s going on in the world? Is there an organization or group you can support that’s doing work you think is important. Is there one small thing that you can do to make a difference.

My neighbor is passionate about the environment. When she walks through our town, she always stops to pick up cans, and plastic bottles and puts them in the recycle bin. She then started cleaning up the recycle areas in town. In fact she would even bring back trash that wasn’t recyclable and put it in her own trash bin. She was living her passion about the environment. Eventually, she was successful in getting curbside recycle service in St Michaels. Wherever she goes, she makes a difference. Ann Hymes is living proof that small things, done consistently, in strategic places can reap huge results.

Remember: you are never too old to become the person you were meant to be, and it’s never too late to envision yourself acting out your passion in your third act.