Anne Rutherford performs lively, interactive programs of stories and songs especially designed for seniors. Her upbeat, fun programs include real-life stories that spark audience memories, and songs (accompanied by Anne on her mandolin) that have people tapping their feet and singing along.
Cedar Sinai Park is proud to announce the winners from our community who submitted entries in the LeadingAge Oregon Creative Writing Contest. Winners enjoyed a luncheon and presentation of their writings recently, along with other winners from non-profit senior healthcare facilities throughout the state.
Winners from Robison and Rose Schnitzer are:
Barbara Becker Donnner
Rose Schnitzer Manor
Sam Berry, Florence L. Blitch, Marion E. Gans,Martha M. Pomeranz, Bob L. Lustberg,
Please take a moment to enjoy the winning entry of Bob Lustberg who introduced his piece by telling the audience “If you are under 80, please leave the room”…a bit of humor to set the tone for his take on “Sex Education in the 1920s”.
Sex Education in the 1920’s by Bob Lustberg
On July 5, 1925, when I was 5 years old, my mom gave birth to her second child, my brother, Arch. The big event took place at the Bedford Maternity Hospital, which happened to be located just beyond the right field wall of the once hallowed and now defunct Ebbets Field.
My father took me to visit mother in the hospital. I recall standing by her bedside thinking how wonderful she looked holding the tiny bundle of a baby. “Papa,” I asked, “where did the baby come from?”
Now, I should tell you that my father was not a very communicative person. For as long as I knew him, he rarely initiated conversation. In fact, he spoke only when spoken to. His answers to questions were always brief, and if a head movement or hand signal would suffice, he seemed to prefer that sort of response. The question put to my dad by his 5-year old son stopped him cold, and he was his usual silent self for the next few minutes.
Finally he said, “Let’s go up to the roof and watch the ball game.” Up on the roof, we had an excellent view of the game that was in progress.
“Bobby,” my dad said, “yesterday Babe Herman hit a home run. That ball came over the wall and through the window of your mother’s room and there was your brother.” This was the end of my sex education lesson.
Was the explanation thrilling? You bet! Did it make sense to me? And how! In any case, my question was answered, and from that point on, my father considered my sex education complete.
Today we honor our last resident winner in the LeadingAge Oregon Creative Writing Contest.
Enjoy the winning entry by Sam Berry.
The General’s SonBy Sam Berry
He died last year. His death was featured on the front page of most newspapers and reported on all television stations. Once again, I was reminded of a little incident that occurred in the summer of 1948 in which he had a part.
At that time, I was employed as a code clerk at the American Embassy in Tehran, Iran. Our relationship with the young Shah, Mohammed Pahlavi, was good and our government sent a mission under the command of an American General to organize and train a national police force or gendarmerie, as it was known.
Occasionally, the General would get an American movie from the States and would invite his staff and the staff of the Embassy to his home for a cocktail party and movie viewing. At one of these occasions, during the cocktail party of the evening, I stepped out onto the wide veranda of the home to smoke a cigarette. I was alone, enjoying the cool air and quiet of the early summer evening, when suddenly four children came running around the corner of the house and stopped near me. I do not know if they saw me standing there but they seemed to ignore my presence.
The group consisted of two boys about 10 or 11 years old, one boy much taller than the two boys whom I judged to be about 12 or 13 years old, and one cute little girl who was about 8 years old. For a moment they were quiet while they caught their breath, then one of the smaller boys said proudly, “My father is a Major.” The other small boy then announced, rather disdainfully, “My father is a Colonel.” Whereupon, the tall boy stated in a level, very matter of fact tone, “My father is a General.”
The two smaller boys looked at the tall one with an expression of awe but kept quiet. So this was the son of our host, the General, I mused. I had not known he had his family with him in Tehran and did not know he had a young son. My thoughts were suddenly interrupted by the little girl, who not to be outdone by these boys, announced in a loud confident voice, “WELL, MY FATHER.” And stopped. Then, in a normal less confident tone with a hint of hesitation, said, “My father.” And stopped. Finally, almost in a whisper she repeated, “My father.” And stopped again.
I realized she had no idea what her father’s rank was or what he did. I melted and wished I had some way to assure her that her father was, indeed, a very important man. Then, as if the show was over, with no visible or vocal signal I could discern, the four of them turned and raced back the way they had come, leaving me to finish my cigarette and rejoin the cocktail party. I never saw any of the children again, until many years later when I saw the tall boy, now grown into a large, self-confident man, on television. Although he was renowned as the Commanding General and hero of Desert Storm, I will always think of General Norman Schwartzkopf as that tall boy, the General’s son.
From left to right: Murray Kaufman, Marion Gans, Sam Berry (& Diane Budner – not pictured)
We were recently thrilled to announce that four Cedar Sinai Park residents were selected as winners in the LeadingAge Oregon Creative Writing Contest. Talented residents of Robison Jewish Health Center and Rose Schnitzer Manor have been participating in the program for many years.
Marion Gans and Sam Berry’s short stories were read yesterday at a recognition luncheon honoring all winners at Friendsview Retirement Community in Newberg, Oregon. Today we are honored to share “Assisted Living” by Marion Gans. Stay tuned for pieces by Diane Budner, Murray Kaufman and Sam Berry in coming posts!
By Marion Gans
She seeks the sunshine, shoulders sagging
Two wrinkled smiles say sit with us.
Escape was blocked. She sinks on the bench rim
Energy sapped, sighing self-pity—
Can they read me?
Warm comments, soft questions
Heads tip with sighs of compassion.
The need to connect, to be heard, consumes her—
Do they care? Do I matter?
Risking rejection, in a low monotone
Words tumbling lips trembling
She speaks without breathing—
Should I dare? Can I trust them?
All attentive, truly listening
Jaws relaxed and eyes a-glistening
Avoiding judgment, not correcting
Common themes and thoughts connecting.