Tuesday Aug 31 2010
Seniors kick up heels at center
By: Margaret Snider Telegraph Correspondent
Games, dancing, painting, writing classes offered Games, dancing, painting, writing classes offered
In a quiet area of El Dorado Hills, country music will pump out of speakers as local seniors get ready to learn line dancing. It’s all happening at the Senior Center. There is lunch, dancing and music, but that’s not all. Through a door, painting instructor Annie Adams showed an artist how to fill in the background on her flower painting. Diana Smith, 73, of Roseville packed up her materials, and stopped to talk. She enjoys this senior center. “It’s opened me up to new people with different outlooks on life,” she said. “It’s given me a fun place to go, especially Annie’s class. I’m a terrible painter but Annie is very patient.” The door on the other side of the lunchroom opens to the Mexican Train Dominoes group. Wesley Freestone, a former security guard from El Dorado Hills, just comes for the dominoes. “I used to do about six different activities,” he said. “I did the Bingo, Mah Jongg, and I helped serve lunches.” The dominoes group plays every Wednesday, for two or three hours. After lunch, the tables in the main room were moved out of the way for line dancing. Instructor Pat Nathan, 81, led. She’s been teaching line dancing here for a couple of years, and at other places for about 20 years. “My husband was a dancer,” she said. “He was the first one on the floor, and the last one off. But he didn’t do line dancing.” As the country music began, Nathan guided the three rows of dancers efficiently through the moves. Al and Helen Macys, 80 and 77, sat at a nearby table. Al hurt his knee, so he was not dancing, though he usually does. What he enjoys most, though, is the memoir writing. “My parents were immigrants (from Lithuania),” Al said. “When they died I suddenly realized how little I knew about them.” As a result Al Macys not only started his memoir, but also took a trip back to the old country and actually found some first cousins still living there. The class at the Senior Center has helped him record his life in a coherent and meaningful form. There are around 1,200 attendees at the center each month, Janet Kenneweg, Senior Center Recreation Supervisor said. An average of 40 come each day for lunch. Around 950 seniors are on the newsletter mailing list. Nearly everything is volunteer. “We try to have an array of different things,” said Kenneweg. “To give seniors a central place to get together. … It’s social more than anything, which is great. That’s why we’re here.” For Smith, age isn’t a number. “If somebody asks me how old I am, I’d probably tell them I’m 27, that’s what I am up here,” she said, pointing to her head.