Recent Newsletters

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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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★★ August 2022 Newsletter ★★

★ A Call To Action ★

Skip the next paragraph if you don’t need a reminder of what is going on in the world today.

It seems like everything is on fire! Climate change has imperiled our environment. The global economy is a mess in large measure due to war mongering. There has been a disruption in the distribution of commodities, goods, parts, and supplies as the pandemic played havoc with the supply chain. The pandemic continues to rise, like the Phoenix, with waves of new variants. And leadership is still fighting a tsunami of divisive attitudes as our democracy has been challenged by arrogance, bullies, and self-interest.

What are we to do when all the problems feel overwhelming and we are helpless to effect the impact of the overall chaos? Perhaps this is where Villages can shine!

As a grass roots movement that started many years ago, the Village Movement has been a beacon of community-building, responsibility, service, and compassion.

Our older community members have declared and demonstrated that they want the option to remain at home as long as possible. The Village Movement was established with the idea that peer-to-peer connections in the community will bolster that ability to be ‘home’.

And now we know, by having Villages in the Portland Metro area (and a fledgling on the Oregon coast), that Villages can have an impact on the livability of participants—both members and volunteers. But how is this relevant to the world at large?

The relevance begins with the grass roots notion that community members can stand beside one another to bring their ideas and ideals into fruition. Being part of the tapestry of community life is an important element in local stability. Bringing services and resources to neighbors will enhance the connectivity of residents, service providers, and small businesses. And when people stand together to strengthen their community, their goals and ideals will find companionable ways to build consensus.

To this end, being part of the Villages NW can be empowering and energizing. ‘Neighbors helping neighbors stay neighbors’ means that we join hands and hearts to improve the place we live. By providing support we can avail ourselves of older residents’ collective community knowledge and ensure that community values are intact. Where communities thrive, the whole nation is improved!

Become familiar with the issues that may affect your community’s livability: real estate development and rising cost of real estate with corresponding increases in property tax (where upon some residents are taxed out of their long-term homes); small, local businesses losing out to big box stores; concerns about water and air quality and local environmental impact actions; beautification; safety, and more! Make a statement about community values and demonstrate an inclusive acceptance of all residents.

What ever your interests and concerns might be, look for connections within your Village to help ameliorate destructive forces and to enhance the livability in your community. Grass roots efforts really are effective. And you will feel empowered when you rise to the occasion of sharing your concerns, ideas, and energy to create a community that all Villagers are proud of. Believe the old adage, “together we stand, divided we fall” and do what you can to stand together within your Village for the first step in improving the world.

~ 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, August 13th 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.

Rivers East Village will hold an Informational 101 Get To Know Our Village event on Thursday, August 25th from 7:00-8:00 pm. For more info, email info@riverseastvillage.org or call 971-808-2340. You can also visit their website to learn more.

Viva Village will host an informational meeting for prospective members on Saturday, August 13th from 10:00–11:30 am. RSVP for Zoom Link by phone: 503-746-5082 or email: vivavillageevents@gmail.com.

 

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★★ July 2022 Newsletter ★★

★ Be Back Soon! ★

Our lead author is taking a summer vacation and wishes you an amazing and memorable 4th of July holiday!

★ 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, July 9th 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, July 14th 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.

Rivers East Village will hold an “Informational 101 – Get To Know Our Village” event on Thursday, July 28th from 7:00-8:00 pm. For more info, email info@riverseastvillage.org or call 971-808-2340. You can also visit their website to learn more.

RiverWest Village invites anyone interested in aging better and learning more about how to become involved either as a member or volunteer to have a one-on-one conversation with a RiverWest volunteer. Just call their office and request an Introductory Chat, 503-495-4934 to leave a message, or email info@riverwestvillage.org. You will be connected with a volunteer from their Outreach Team. Include your name, phone number, and email in your message and RWV will be in touch with you soon!

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

 

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★★ June 2022 Newsletter ★★

★ Fragments of Important History in June ★

The month of June is cause for celebration on many levels: Rose Festival events, Graduations, Weddings, National Flag Day, Junteenth, National LGBTQIA + Pride month. The last three on this list are interestingly juxtaposed.

National Flag Day was established in 1916 under the administration of President Wilson. The flag represents the original 13 colonies (stripes) and our united 50 states (stars). At first, those 13 stripes held up a Union Jack in the corner. But it was widely felt that the Union Jack still represented Britain and oppression. And so a design of “13 stars on a field of blue represented a new constellation.” And while Betsy Ross is often given credit for the new flag, the design was actually submitted by Francis Hopkinson, New Jersey’s Continental Congress delegate and signer of the Declaration of Independence. Our flag is a reminder of our very early struggles to become the independent United States.

National Flag Day is celebrated on June 14th.

Just 5 days later, on June 19th, Juneteenth is the day set aside to commemorate the end of slavery in the US. Although President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation was signed in 1863, it really only affected the Confederate States as Union-controlled states in the north had already accepted the end of slavery. Finally, in 1865, as troops under the guidance of General Granger arrived in Galveston, TX, it signaled the end of slavery in the Confederated south. Although some slave holders resisted the order and waited until after harvest to free their slaves, many ‘freedmen’ (and women and children) left Texas for the more promising north.

Today, Juneteenth is recognized as a National holiday. Celebrating the end of slavery, the day is commemorated with family gatherings, picnics, prayer services, music, and guest speakers at celebratory events. The focus is on family, education, and achievement.

The entire month of June has been set aside for LGBTQIA + Pride recognition. The first national declaration, under President Clinton celebrated Gay and Lesbian Pride in June of 1999 and 2000.

Official status lapsed until President Obama reestablished the status from 2009-2016. Now, with the help of President Biden’s administration, the celebration continues to celebrate LGBTQ + Pride.

The date is significant for acknowledgement of the Stonewall Uprising, the tipping point for the Gay Liberation Movement. There were a series of spontaneous (sometimes violent) demonstrations by gay patrons of the Stonewall Inn, in lower Manhattan, a private club that had been recently raided by police. In every state except Illinois, it was still illegal to pursue a gay or lesbian relationship. It was also illegal to serve alcohol or to employ gays/ lesbians in the hotel and restaurant business. The Stonewall Inn, promulgated as a private club, was run by the Genovese crime family who managed to have the Sixth Precinct police look the other way. They used the club to make a shameless profit off disenfranchised or illegitimate relationships, using blackmail to keep the patrons’ names a secret. Their drinks were expensive and watered down. There was no fire exit. No running water was available for washing glasses behind the bar. Toilets frequently overflowed. But, because of their need for secrecy in the community, the LGBT community had no other choice of a place to socialize and enjoy same-sex dancing. Taking advantage of a disenfranchised segment of society was strictly a crime family’s money-making business with no altruistic illusions.

In the big picture, these two days and the month of LGBTQ + Pride are each significant for their representation of release from oppression. National Flag Day celebrates a “new constellation” and the end of British oppression. Junteenth represents the officially mandated end of slavery. Nominally, it celebrates emancipation. And LGBTQ + Pride month symbolizes the recognition that all are in need of being respected and accepted regardless of gender identity.

But in reality, we still have a long way to go.

As we approach June, let’s not lose sight of the historical significance of these dates. We can be grateful for some far-sighted leaders who did what they could to bring order from the chaos and inequities of a budding democracy. But let’s also not lose sight of the ways in which we have continued to dominate and subjugate many people, taking advantage of their plight, their lack of opportunity, and the socio-economic imbalance.

As we Villagers have been motivated to build stronger communities, we might consider learning more about the documented history of oppression in the US. Learn the realities of ‘emancipation’ and the aftermath. Continue to question the continued repression. Educate yourself. Practice kindness and respect for others. Be an ally. Support celebrations, parades and other events. Advocate for inclusivity in company policies.

And seek ways in which you can share in the hopes of neighbors who desire equity and inclusion into a well-diversified community.

Then we can look at our flag with its 50 stars in a field of blue and those 13 stripes of the original colonies and remember that this country was built on a desire to escape oppression.

This irony should not be lost as we grow and enhance our Villages. Understanding the foundations of history will help us build stronger, richer communities.

~ 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, June 11th 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, June 9th 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 our 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 us know you’ll be there. See our website for more information.

Rivers East Village will hold an Informational 101 Get To Know Our Village event on Thursday, June 23rd from 7:00-8:00 pm. For more info, email info@riverseastvillage.org or call 971-808-2340. You can also visit their website to learn more.

RiverWest Village invites anyone interested in aging better and learning more about how to become involved either as a member or volunteer to have a one-on-one conversation with a RiverWest volunteer. Just call their office and request an Introductory Chat, 503-495-4934 to leave a message, or email info@riverwestvillage.org. You will be connected with a volunteer from their Outreach Team. Include your name, phone number, and email in your message and RWV will be in touch with you soon!

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