CENTER COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) — To celebrate the lives of seniors in our community, Juniper Village has connected residents with local writers to create personalized poems highlighting their stories.
Juniper resident Mary Joan Fetter said it was a chance to reflect on her experiences.
“I got lucky,” Fetter said. “I had a good life. I have a wonderful family.”
Fetter said she was grateful for the journeys that got her to where she is today, but said the ups and downs can help others feel less alone.
“Nobody has a perfect life,” Fetter said. “If you’re going through a bad time and you hear the story of someone who’s been through something like this and is doing well, that’s helpful.”
Carolyne Meehan of Ridgelines Language Arts is the language artist behind Fetter’s poem.
“This is my third year working with this project,” Meehan said. “With Joanne she had a lot of stories about a farm she grew up on and that her family still owns and still returns to quite often. There was a general theme in his stories of generosity, kindness and caring.
Meehan said the photos and connection with family members helped spark memories that hadn’t been uncovered for some time.
Residents celebrated this year include: Joan Baisley, Ronald “Ron” Buckalew, Connie Farrell, Mary Joan Fetter, Peter Haglich, Theodore “Ted” Hovick, David Maneval and Lanny Sommese.
This year’s Poems from Life poets include:
• Peter Buck, Pennsylvania State Institute for Sustainability
• Joe Bueter, Penn State English Department
• Barbara Campbell, Author, Center County
• Carolyne Meehan, Ridgelines Language Arts
• Kathleen Morrow, Penn State Communication Arts & Sciences, graduate
• Mary Rohrer-Dann, Penn State English Department, retired
• Camille-Yvette Welsch, Penn State English Department
• Tierra Williams, Ferguson Township Supervisor
Each poet will present their work to residents with a celebratory reading during “Poems for Life” on Thursday, May 12 from 6:30-8:00 p.m. at Juniper Village Senior Living in Brookline at Willows Dining Hall (1930 Cliffside Drive, State College, Pennsylvania , 16801).
“Being able to celebrate that and share that in the greater community is a way of sharing our personal stories and also celebrating the person as well,” Meehan said.
“Poems for Life” is free and open to the public. Masking is mandatory.