Recent Newsletters

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★★ February 2023 Newsletter ★★

★ The 19th Bridge ★

Consider the bridge: a structure built to circumvent an obstacle. A bridge may be accessible by path, road, rail, or other ways in which the points on either side may be connected.

As we are all aware, Portland has been nicknamed Bridge Town or Bridge City. However, bridges are an important part of community life beyond the main city as well.

From the far southern end of the Metro area, the old Arch Bridge across the Willamette River has connected Oregon City and West Linn for 100 years. The I-205 Abernethy Bridge carries a large volume of traffic around the congestion of the inner city. It sweeps over the river, joining Milwaukie and Oregon City to the small town of Willamette and West Linn, as well as Lake Oswego and Tualatin areas.

Moving north, the Sellwood and Ross Island bridges are important links from SE Portland and the Sellwood community to the Waterfront, and links to the SW parts of the city. Highway 43 is an important connector to Lake Oswego and West Linn beyond. Where small communities might have remained disjointed, bridges brought them together.

The newest bridge, Tillikum, was designed for pedestrians, bicycles, and mass transit. No regular traffic can access the beautiful Tillikum Bridge with its design reminiscent of the mountains to the east.

A double-decker, the Marquam Bridge is the I-5 connector to I-5 South as well as to Hwy 26 going west.

Then the cluster of inner city bridges: Hawthorne, Morrison, Burnside, Steel (including its lower deck railroad bridge), and Broadway keep east and west Portland connected. These are the bridges that helped develop our city in the configuration it now demonstrates with a downtown area on the west and other business entities on the east. Many of our old and historic neighborhoods grew up dependent upon these bridges.

The massive Fremont Bridge carries traffic across the river via I-5 and 405. On the east side, it serves North and Northeast Portland. On the west, it ushers traffic into Northwest Portland, the NW industrial area, and Highway 30.

The beautiful St. Johns Bridge makes it possible for residents of St Johns village to access Highway 30 on the west side, leading to the NW industrial area, the community of Linnton, and on toward Astoria.

When the replacement Sauvie Island Bridge was being built, residents of the Island were reminded of the importance of that bridge in keeping them connected to goods and services necessary for their life on the Island.

For decades, the Burlington Northern Bridge, spanning the Columbia River, has been the route for trains between Portland, Vancouver, and beyond. The extensive rail line from north to south is crucial for moving people and goods.

Our controversial Interstate Bridge is in need of repairs and perhaps an additional span due to its very heavy use as a major Oregon-Washington link. Another bridge across the Columbia River is the Glenn Jackson, the I-205 route for travel between east Portland and Clark County.

And finally, in honor of Rainy Day Village in Manzanita, we consider the Neahkahnie Mountain Bridge (Chasm Bridge) which was the last link in the continuous north-south Highway 101 coastal route.

Imagine life without these bridges. Imagine the isolation of people and their inability to freely travel to destinations on the other side of The Willamette or Columbia Rivers, or among coastal communities. Think about the goods and services that wouldn’t be so easily attained or enjoyed. Think how your world would be so different without the historical development and economic impact of these bridges.

And consider the connections made possible by Villages NW, the family of Villages that links our neighbors so well in myriad ways with social and direct services. Staying connected is the Mission and the goal of Villages NW — our 19th Bridge!

~ Nancy Doty

* Get to Know Our Villages! *

Anyone who is interested in learning more about our Villages is invited to attend the informational events below. Come and enjoy!

Join North Star Village member Anjala Ehelebe on Thursday, February 9 at 4:30 pm, for a quick and informative overview of our village. We’ll meet at Good Neighbor Pizzeria, 800 NE Dekum St.; Portland 97211 It is fully accessible, with seats available in the well-ventilated interior or at comfortable tables outdoors. Call North Star Village at 503-793-8518 to ask questions and to let us know you’ll be there. See our website event calendar for more information: https://northstarvillage.clubexpress.com/content.aspx?page_id=4001&club_id=78862.

Viva Village will be hosting an Online Viva Village 101 on Saturday, February 11, 10:00 – 11:30 am. It is an informational session for prospective members, volunteers, or anyone interested in Viva Village. Contact us for the Zoom link at 503-746-5082 or vivavillageor@gmail.com .

Villages Clark County will be hosting a V101 – Age in Place on Saturday, February 18, 10:30 – 11:30 am at the First Methodist Church, 706 NE 14th Ave; Camas, Washington<.i>.

Rivers East Village will hold an “Informational 101 – Learn about Your Local Village” event on Saturday, February 18, 1:00 – 2:00 pm. To sign up and attend, please see their Events page.

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★★ January 2023 Newsletter ★★

★ The Rear-View Mirror ★

With what we know about 2022, it is a year that many of us would like to forget. From war, violence, divisiveness in our own country, insecurity over the pandemic, and other negative elements, we might do well to ponder how to create a better world, beginning close to home, as we face 2023.

What will we do with this new year? How can we put it to beneficial use and create an image of satisfaction in the rear-view mirror? What meaningful New Year’s Resolution might we strive for to feel good about that ultimate rear-view image?

As family, friends, neighbors, and community members, we will interact with many people over this coming year. And how will we assure that our presence and interactions will be thoughtful, supportive, and leave a positive impression? On a personal level, Maya Angelou said that people may not remember what you said or what you did, but they will surely remember how you made them feel.

Therefore, perhaps we can take a lesson sometimes attributed to Socrates (469-399 BC), and use the filters of truth, goodness and usefulness when speaking with others.

Or we can adopt the Buddhist guidelines of letting our thoughts pass through three gates before speaking — the same three gates as Socrates’ filters.

It may have been Bernard Meltzer, the host of a call-in radio advice show (in the 1960s to 1990s), who popularized the notion of stopping to think about what one was prepared to say aloud: is it kind, is it true, is it necessary, is it helpful?

Some who are familiar with the admonition also add, “Is this the right time? Is it spoken with affection? Will it be beneficial? Is it said with good will?” It behooves us to remember “the swiftest horse cannot overtake the word once spoken.”

There is great wisdom in stopping to think before we speak, regardless of who said it first or who said it best.

Let’s make a pledge to treat one another with respect, speak the truth in loving and supportive ways, and be kind. It is difficult to remain cool under fire. And to think clearly in a crisis. When nerves are frayed, or disagreements raise hackles, it is difficult not to say regrettable things at the moment. In meetings, opinions might clash. In creative settings, competition might cause heightened anxiety and a desire for recognition. At home, too much togetherness can be irksome.

But if we can remember Maya Angelou and apply the sage advice to think before we speak, we will have fewer times reflecting “I wish I hadn’t said that!” when we look in the rear-view mirror. And those around us will fondly recall the time with us if we make them feel respected, accepted, and loved.

It all begins with each of us as individuals. We will be better people. The community will be a better place. And our legacy reflected in the rear-view mirror will be cherished by those who will remember us. Let’s make 2023 the best year yet.

Happy New Year to one and all!

~ Nancy Doty

★ Villages NW Event Series: Foodways ★

Foodways: Community Culture Through Food “Introduction to Millets”
Virtual talk
Thursday, January 26, 2:00 pm
Hosted by Villages NW

We are participating in a new Foodways program, Community Culture Through Food, brought to you by a group of food enthusiasts. We seek to address the cultural and community-building aspects of food traditions through presentations, hands-on classes, tours, and other activities as this new year progresses.

For this first year, Foodways and Community Culture Through Food will use the lens of the four seasons to explore various foods this winter, beginning with grains. Grains have been used for millennia by every culture around the world, a cornerstone of all culinary cultures. Millets are quite prevalent in many other countries, although lesser known in the U.S. To raise support for millets, the United Nations has declared 2023 the International Year of the Millets. Over 6,000 varieties of millets in the world are highly nutritious and can be cultivated in drought conditions, unlike many other grains.

On January 26, the Foodways program is hosting an “Introduction to Millets” virtual presentation with guest speaker from Idaho, Joni Kindwall-Moore, co-founder of the North American Millets Alliance and owner of Snacktivist Foods. Ms. Kindwall-Moore will address the origin story of millets, why they are important to our diets, their role in the climate crisis and some pro-tips for cooking with them.

We sincerely hope you will join us with your friends and family or your Village. To register for this virtual talk, please contact Stefana Sardo, chefigata50plus@gmail.com.

* Get to Know Our Villages! *

Anyone who is interested in learning more about our Villages is invited to attend the informational events below. Come and enjoy!

Join North Star Village member Anjala Ehelebe on Thursday, January 12th at 4:30 pm, for a quick and informative overview of our village. We’ll meet at Good Neighbor Pizzeria, 800 NE Dekum St. It is fully accessible, with seats available in the well-ventilated interior or at comfortable tables outdoors. Call North Star Village at 503-793-8518 to ask questions and to let us know you’ll be there. See our website calendar for more information: https://northstarvillage.clubexpress.com/content.aspx?page_id=4001&club_id=78862.

Viva Village will be hosting Online Viva Village 101 on Saturday, January 14, 10:00 – 11:30 am. It is an informational session for prospective members, volunteers, or anyone interested in Viva Village. Contact us to RSVP for the Zoom link at 503-746-5082 or vivavillageor@gmail.com .

Villages Clark County will be hosting a V101 – Aging a New Way on Saturday, January 21, 10:30 – 11:30 am at the Battleground Public Library, Meyer Memorial Trust Community Room.

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★★ December 2022 Newsletter ★★

★ A Holiday Alphabet ★

A – ADVENT, the four Sundays before Christmas bringing a message of Hope, Love, Joy and Peace.

B – I’ll BE HOME FOR CHRISTMAS, if only in my dreams.

C – CHRISTMAS CAROLS (in church, around the piano, on the radio, in the elevator….)

D – DIWALI in India (already passed), the celebration of light over darkness, good over evil.

E – The ELVES that do mysterious, helpful things around holiday time.

F – FROSTY the Snowman.

G – Time to GATHER, the GOOSE is getting fat.

H – Celebrate HANUKKAH to commemorate the Jewish miracle: when reclaiming their Temple from the usurpers who desecrated it, there was only enough untainted oil to keep the flame burning for a single day, yet the flame continued flickering until the 8th day.

I – INDULGE (just a little).

J – You can hear the JINGLE of bells and a JOLLY Ho, Ho, Ho!

K – For KWANZA in honor of African American history and heritage: focus on unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity, and faith.

L – LAS POSADAS, a processional Latinx celebration with candles, singing, prayers, and feasting, ending with the piñata.

M – The MERRY, MERRY days of winter holidays.

N — Clement Moore’s The NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS

O – OLD ST. NICK, an alias used by Santa Claus (sometimes also known as Kris Kringle, Father Christmas, Pere Noel and other fabulous names to disguise his true identity in many foreign lands).

P – For PRESENTS in pretty packages.

Q – Is the delicious, traditional English QUINCE JAM served at holiday time.

R – RUDOLPH (and Dasher & Dancer, Prancer & Vixen, Comet, & Cupid, and Donner & Blitzen).

S – Is for SOLSTICE, that shortest, darkest day of the year that is celebrated by lighting many candles.

T – Reminds us of the TREE bedecked with TWINKLING LIGHTS.

U – Finds us UNDER the mistletoe.

V – VERY warm holiday wishes to you and yours.

W – A WREATH on your front door.

X – Do not despair if ‘XMAS’ bothers you; think of ‘X’ as the Greek chi, first letter in Christos, Christ, and Christmas.

Y – The traditional YULE LOG, really the trunk of a whole tree, was brought in on Christmas day. As one end was shoved into the fire, it was continuously fed into the embers and expected to burn until the Twelfth Night. (And don’t forget the YULE LOG cake!)

Z – Sweet dreams and visions of sugarplums. ZZZzzzz…

May you enjoy every moment of your own traditions. May you share the hopeful holiday spirit with friends and family. And may you find peace and joy in the family of humankind, right in your own community!

Happy holidays to one and all.

~ Nancy Doty

★ Help Wanted ★

Villages NW – Metro is the Hub to 10 Village spokes, the wheel that makes our conceptual Villages go ‘round. It is our Mission to create dynamic, intentionally inclusive, caring communities that connect, engage, and support older adults as they maintain active and purposeful lives. We are neighbors helping neighbors stay neighbors! And we thrive because of our dedicated volunteers who provide services to enhance the quality of life for our older neighbors, helping them remain in their chosen abode for as long as possible.

We need you!

In every Village, we need volunteers with time, knowledge, skills, and compassion to share.

And at the Hub level, we need a volunteer with HR/personnel experience who can help with employment policy, procedures, and support. Although we currently have only two employees, it is possible that our employee base might expand as Villages grow and thrive.

We are looking for a volunteer who has experience, interest, and time to help us with our Employee Handbook updates as needed; promote fair labor practices; serve as an advisor to the Board on matters of pay scale and benefits; improve Hub-level awareness of employment issues in Villages; liaise with Villages as they consider hiring employees; once-a-year evaluation of employee performance and potential wage increases (per COLA and/or enhanced job skills); suggest volunteer training; and serve to generally anchor our employer/ employee relationships.

Ultimately, as we don’t know what we don’t know, we are looking for a volunteer with experience who will help Villages NW model a good employment program that will attract and retain good employees.

If you or someone you know is interested, please contact Villages NW – Metro at: info@villagesnw.org.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Nancy Doty,
Villages NW
VP for Community Relations

* Get to Know Our Villages! *

Anyone who is interested in learning more about our Villages is invited to attend the informational events below. Come and enjoy. No RSVP needed.

North Star Village will host an Information Session on Thursday, December 8th at 4:30 pm. Come and learn about North Star Village, a virtual community of older neighbors who became friends. NSV often meets online and lately, in person, where they entertain and educate each other, and help their community members with neighborly tasks like rides and minor fix-its. Join North Star Village member Anjala Ehelebe for a quick and informative overview of their village. They’ll meet at Good Neighbor Pizzeria, 800 NE Dekum St, 97211. It is fully accessible, with seats available in the well-ventilated interior or at comfortable tables outdoors. Call North Star Village at 503-793-8518 to ask questions and to let them know you’ll be there. See their website for more information: https://northstarvillage.clubexpress.com/

Viva Village will host an informational meeting for prospective members, volunteers, or anyone interested in Viva Village on Saturday, December 10th from 10:00-11:30 am. RSVP for Zoom Link by phone: 503-746-5082 or email: vivavillageevents@gmail.com.

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★★ November 2022 Newsletter ★★

★ You’re Invited to Join…
A Year of Community Culture Through Food ★

Throughout 2023 there will be several virtual and in-person opportunities to celebrate the foods of different cultures, ethnicities, and regions. Get to know your neighbors and their special foods by engaging in recipe exchanges, cooking together, and telling the stories of your personal celebrations and important food traditions. Learn about new-to-you foods and how to prepare them. Build bridges in your community by partnering with friends of different cultures, ethnicity, and traditions. Celebrate moments – large and small – with new friends.

Guest speakers, a little education, and a lot of fun will be available at intervals all year long. With a focus on seasonal foods, the year will bring you several presentations:

Winter – Focus on grains, beginning with traditional holiday baking featured in celebrations around the world. The UN has designated 2023 ‘The Year of the Millets’, a grain that is nutritious, delicious, and grows in drought conditions. We’ll be learning about what that means around the world. From amaranth to wild rice, we’ll be hearing more about grains.

Spring – Wild foods and foraged foods. Ever been on an urban forging field trip? Fish and sea foods… Fresh spring-time produce… We will focus on the joys of real, basic foods, minimizing the processed and already-prepared items that cost more and hold reduced nutritional value.

Summer – Cultivated foods. What do you grow in your garden? Do you grow something you need for especially meaningful, traditional foods? What’s fresh and fabulous at the farmers’ markets?

Autumn – Preserving. Everything from canning and freezing to drying and fermenting. Do you have your grandmother’s recipe for berry jam or pickles? Do you know how our Indigenous Peoples preserved their harvest?

It all begins the week of December 4th. Be the first in your Village to gather friends – old and new – for this exciting opportunity. Watch for more details!

The Food Enthusiasts in your community will be busy preparing the seasonal presentations for your enjoyment. So plan to join the fun!

Contact Stefana at her contact page on Chef Igata 50 to get your Village involved, beginning with Holiday Baking traditions. We want to know about your Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, Diwali, Solstice, Las Posadas, New Year (and more!) celebrations including the representative traditional foods or recipes that you can share with your community. Tell us your stories and memories of the holidays, and bring them to life by baking with friends as we begin this Year of Community Culture Through Food.

See you there (sometimes virtually, sometimes in person)!

~ Nancy Doty

★ Help Wanted ★

Villages NW – Metro is the Hub to 10 Village spokes, the wheel that makes our conceptual Villages go ‘round. It is our Mission to create dynamic, intentionally inclusive, caring communities that connect, engage, and support older adults as they maintain active and purposeful lives. We are neighbors helping neighbors stay neighbors! And we thrive because of our dedicated volunteers who provide services to enhance the quality of life for our older neighbors, helping them remain in their chosen abode for as long as possible.

We need you!

In every Village, we need volunteers with time, knowledge, skills, and compassion to share.

And at the Hub level, we need a volunteer with HR/ personnel experience who can help with employment policy, procedures, and support. Although we currently have only two employees, it is possible that our employee base might expand as Villages grow and thrive.

We are looking for a volunteer who has experience, interest, and time to help us with our Employee Handbook updates as needed; promote fair labor practices; serve as an advisor to the Board on matters of pay scale and benefits; improve Hub-level awareness of employment issues in Villages; liaise with Villages as they consider hiring employees; once-a-year evaluation of employee performance and potential wage increases (per COLA and/or enhanced job skills); suggest volunteer training; and serve to generally anchor our employer/ employee relationships.

Ultimately, as we don’t know what we don’t know, we are looking for a volunteer with experience who will help Villages NW model a good employment program that will attract and retain good employees.

If you or someone you know is interested, please contact Villages NW – Metro at: info@villagesnw.org.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Nancy Doty,
Villages NW
VP for Community Relations

* Get to Know Our Villages! *

Anyone who is interested in learning more about our Villages is invited to attend the informational events below. Come and enjoy. No RSVP needed.

North Star Village will host an Information Session on Thursday, November 10th at 4:30 pm. North Star Village is a virtual community of older neighbors who became friends. NSV often meets online and lately, in person, where they entertain and educate each other, and help their community members with neighborly tasks like rides and minor fix-its. Join North Star Village member Anjala Ehelebe for a quick and informative overview of their village. They’ll meet at Good Neighbor Pizzeria, 800 NE Dekum St, 97211. It is fully accessible, with seats available in the well-ventilated interior or at comfortable tables outdoors. Call North Star Village at 503-793-8518 to ask questions and to let them know you’ll be there. See their website for more information: https://northstarvillage.clubexpress.com/

Viva Village will host an informational meeting on Saturday, November 12th from 10:00-11:30 am. RSVP for Zoom Link by phone: 503-746-5082 or email: vivavillageevents@gmail.com.

Eastside Village will host an Information Session on Saturday, November 12th from 10:00-11:00 am. Join your Eastside Village hosts virtually as we discuss EV membership and volunteering. They’ll outline what they’ve been up to historically, since the beginning of the pandemic, and as they begin to visit in person once again. You can join the Zoom Meeting here: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89541314807.

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★★ October 2022 Newsletter ★★

★ The Resilience of Older Women ★

This year, in conjunction with the United Nations, Villages NW will help celebrate the International Day of Older Persons on October 1st. This year’s theme is “Resilience and Contributions of Older Women,” a theme we are eager and honored to acknowledge.

Throughout the month of October, several Villages will pay homage to the International Day of Older Persons and the role of older women in our communities. (Please review the Newsletter’s lists of the various Villages’ activities and celebrations to be offered throughout the month of October.)

In 2019 there were 703 million persons at least 65 years of age worldwide. By 2050 that number will have more than doubled to 1.5 billion people. As the age line progresses, women represent a larger proportion of their age group. Sadly, women have been victims of ageism and sexism. Extrapolating from the projected population increase, one can logically expect a huge number of women to be profoundly affected by the reality of a lifetime of inequity.

What can we do?

Based on the experience of women and their respective roles in our communities, it is crucial that we include their voices and perspectives in policy development. Recent studies have shown that innovation is enhanced by diversity – including women – in leadership roles. And where innovation is enhanced, revenue also improves. With mentoring and promoting women into leadership roles, women are good for business!

So, how can we recognize and honor the resilience of women who have not enjoyed the “new recognition” of their value? Many of our older women have demonstrated resilience throughout life, finding a path through the marginalization that defined their era. Although attitudes may be changing, there is far to go and much to do before women find true equity.

Our older women may be living examples of the conscious choice to “fall forward” when the chips were down. They took incremental action against the buffeting of the days and nights that showered burdens and barriers upon them. They took chances and accepted challenges — both conscious and subconscious – to keep moving through life. They were flexible and had to adjust their course of life, perhaps beginning again with each new roadblock. Their strength is demonstrated through resilience: that ability to rise from misfortune, disaster, poverty, and illness. And they showed flexibility, sometimes using failure as a great learning experience.

Our Villages are in a perfect position to reach women of older age, giving voice to their journeys through life. They may be the bedrock of leadership through experience. Their strength in surviving adversity and insecurity may be instrumental in weaving together a stronger community, offering a foundation of optimism, confidence, and inspiration.

Villages are a concept that can promote relationships through positive social connections. We can laugh and celebrate, and support one another through tough times. We can be reminded of solid community values, working hard to provide for the spirit of inclusion and diversity that will lead to richer and more innovative shared activities.

Age should not be feared as an accumulating burden. It is a triumph over stumbling blocks. Perspective is honed through experience. And it is honored through the Villages’ cumulative creative services and activities which are thoughtfully offered to support the choice to remain at home as long as possible. With the Mission of Villages in mind, seek out our communities’ older women. Find them. Talk to them. They have stories to tell!

~ Nancy Doty

* Get to Know Our Villages! *

Anyone who is interested in learning more about our Villages is invited to attend the informational events below.

Eastside Village will host an Information Session on Saturday, October 8th from 10:00–11:00 am. Join Eastside Village hosts virtually as they discuss EV volunteering and membership. They’ll outline what they’ve been up to historically, since the beginning of the pandemic, and as they begin to visit in person once again. You can join the Zoom meeting at this link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89541314807.

North Star Village will host an Information Session on Thursday, October 13th at 4:30 pm. Come learn about North Star Village, a virtual community of older neighbors who became friends. NSV often meets online and when safe, in person, where they entertain and educate each other, and help their community members with neighborly tasks like rides and minor fix-its. Join North Star Village member Anjala Ehelebe for a quick and informative overview of this village. They’ll meet at Good Neighbor Pizzeria, 800 NE Dekum St. Portland, OR 97211. It is fully accessible, with seats available in the well-ventilated interior or at comfortable tables outdoors. Call North Star Village at 503-793-8518 to ask questions and to let them know you’ll be there. See their website for more information: northstarvillage.clubexpress.com.

Viva Village will host an informational meeting for prospective members on Saturday, October 8th from 10:00–11:30 am. RSVP for Zoom Link by phone: 503-746-5082 or email: vivavillageevents@gmail.com.

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★★ September 2022 Newsletter ★★

★ Nostalgic About Books ★

September has rolled around again, so quickly it makes my head spin. The long days and short nights of summer turning into delayed daylight and hastened nightfall, autumn descends like a slowly falling amber-colored velvet curtain. Sunshine becomes more golden, shining at a slant across the garden. Green beans, blackberries, peaches, and tomatoes are at their best. It is time to make jam and jelly.

Turning to an old cookbook to check my recipe for peach jam, I am struck by the very personal history that is contained in this book, A Guide to Good Cooking by Five Roses Flour Milling Company. The first one was given to me by my grandmother when I was married in 1969. But my dog ate the vegetable section — not the beef or poultry section – the colorful vegetable pages! Never the less, I kept the book and continued to refer to it frequently as the kids were small and our lives were propelled forward. When my grandmother died, I got her earlier version of the same cookbook (1938) with all the illustrations in black and white. But in my grandmother’s book there are little notes and helpful hints written in the margins. And newspaper clippings from Mary Cullen’s Cottage / The Journal newspaper (long gone). Other recipes, clipped from magazines or hand written on scraps of paper, flutter out of the cookbook pages. There are drips and smears and tea stains. It all means the book was well used and well loved.

The notes in the margins remind me of my father’s many and varied natural history books, especially his bird books, where he listed the date and place of his observations. Feathers are tucked deep into the pages. In another book, mushroom spore prints are preserved in a tissue paper sheath. Yet another book reveals small flowers or leaves, labeled, pressed and added in appropriate places.

My mother was loath to write in books. To her the pages were almost sacred—no dog ears, no stains, no notes in the margins. But she kept a dictionary and a small blank book by her reading chair so she could make notes of things she needed to check, ideas to further consider. She’d write definitions of words new to her (but by the age of 93 there were fewer ‘new’ words to add to her well-rounded vocabulary).

Maybe it is the notion of ‘back to school’ that has made me nostalgic about all these precious books and notebooks. It has become apparent that much of an individual’s personality, their interests, their approach to learning and remembering can be found in their books. I am reminded of helping my children choose books from the public library. Reading to them was soon replaced by them reading to us. Then they were reading on their own. Now we exchange books through the mail or make recommendations to one another via email. But books remain largely present in our lives.

There are some who have never achieved a level of comfort with books. So we acknowledge that it is our good fortune to know how to read, enjoy reading, and have access to books!

Books loaned, exchanged, passed along, shared in any way are a wonderful conduit to familial relationships and friendships. Handed down, they are precious pieces of personal history. And they are a bridge between individuals, helping us start conversation, encourage new ideas, bring us joy and solace. They take us out of the humdrum day-to-day routines and transport us to distant or magical places. They offer intrigue and mystery. And they can be keepers of treasured memories.

Talk to your neighbors about books (past or present). Do you have a favorite book reminiscent of childhood? Do you cherish books from another generation? Are there books you return to from time to time because they are as comfortable as an old friend chatting over a mug of hot tea?

Use books to start a conversation about something important to you. Keep track of your interests and passions. Exchange books through the Little Free Library on the corner or up the street, and maybe linger there to meet kindred souls. Join, start or continue in a Book Club. Donate books to literacy programs so others might also find ways to share the allure of written stories. But always, in the back of your mind, remember that books can be a link to our inner personal selves. Be willing to share yourself through books — a gift from the heart.

~ Nancy Doty

* Get to Know Our Villages! *

Anyone who is interested in learning more about our Villages is invited to attend the informational events below.

Eastside Village will host an Information Session on Saturday, Septmber 10th from 10:00 to 11:00 am via Zoom meeting at this link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89541314807.

Join North Star Village member Anjala Ehelebe on Thursday, September 8th at 4:30 pm, for a quick and informative overview of their village. They’ll meet at Good Neighbor Pizzeria, 800 NE Dekum St. Portland, OR 97211. It is fully accessible, with seats available in the well-ventilated interior or at comfortable tables outdoors. Call North Star Village at 503-793-8518 to ask questions and to let them know you’ll be there. See their website for more information: northstarvillage.clubexpress.com.

Northeast Village PDX will offer an introduction to their Village at the Hollywood Library, 4040 NE Tillamook St., Portland, on Thursday, Sept. 15th from 1:30 to 3:00 pm. Participants will get information on activities and services for members and opportunities for volunteers.

Rivers East Village will hold an “Informational 101 – Get To Know Our Village” event on Thursday, September 22nd from 7:00-8:00 pm. For more info, please visit their website.

An introduction to Viva Village will be part of the Elsie Stuhr Health and Wellness Fair in Beaverton on Saturday, September 24, from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm. Attend their presentation at 11:30 am, stop by the Viva Village table, and peruse the many other resources available for seniors in the Beaverton area. Come and enjoy! No RSVP needed.

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