The clay place


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Friday, June 5, 2015

Pre-retirement memories

First - the pottery for today...after all, I call my blog Alchemy of clay...for a reason!
How the pots get to the Tailgate Market every Saturday morning!
A Sepia Saturday post for this week!  I had such fun hearing about the other Sepians' opinions of my favorite pie last week.  Disclaimer, I didn't measure my ingredients usually, so if you follow the recipe I posted last week, it might be too something or another.

But I will try a bit harder this week to show you something old.

Not really that old.  But in the years before I retired, I worked as an Activity Director in a 200 unit senior citizen apartment building.  That meant there were at least 200 people, and really many more because a lot of apartments had a couple living in them.

Jewish Center Towers - Tampa, FL, United States

J C Towers is a well maintained building, and I greatly enjoyed providing programs daily, including publishing a calendar which I posted on each of the 16 floors weekly.

Warning...the volume is very high on the following video, so you might want to turn down your own volume, or be ready to put the volume on the video lower quickly.

 

I haven't tried posting a video before, and this one just jumped out of my files.  

That was 8-9years ago.  And my life has changed so drastically it's hard to remember how it used to be.

Five days a week I was in that office at 8 am until 5 pm...except the days when I provided an evening program which included anything from catered dinners with an entertainer to I don't know what else.  I was also responsible for cleaning up the kitchen and dining room following those programs so the lunch people would have a tidy and clean area the next day, and some of the senior residents also helped.  There was a Kosher lunch provided which was cooked off site and brought in each day.

I did such fun things as arrange Tai Chi for elders, including Chi Gong, and daily sit-er-cise videos.   I taught folks how to paint a watercolor tree like the one on my wall in my office. 

We had some celebrations of various holidays, Thanksgiving, Valentines, St. Patricks Day, etc.  We had weekly Bingo, which I led as well as being responsible for the prize money from the purchased cards.  All the money was divided between the 20 games we played...and these were serious Bingo playing people, and the house didn't get anything left over!

I arranged a lot of volunteer visits by some of the "well known groups" in Tampa.  We had a "Pirate Krewe" of lovely ladies visit who are part of the parade and doings at the annual festival called Gasparilla.  We had some students who were in competition for Irish Step Dancing perform for us.

I also had a weekly Coffee and Cuban Bread group, which sometimes had bagels instead.  It was an interesting mix of people at J C Towers, because perhaps a third of the residents were Jewish, and a third were Hispanic.  Did I mention this is in Tampa, FL?  Almost everyone was over 65.  The rent was subsidized for many of the occupants.  What a fun group of people!

People didn't move away very often.  This was an independent living situation, so everyone was on their own.  Occasionally there would be an emergency medical team called for a few folks who had accidental falls or other problems.  And every once in a while there would be a fire drill.  That was not much fun, because you couldn't use the elevators, and those folks from way up on 16 had a long way to come down.

Tampa is in the path of hurricanes every once in a while...so the residents all learned what they could do when and if the electricity was off.  Again, no elevators.  And sometimes no water.  The windows could be opened in the apartments, and when you opened your doorway to the hall, you could get some cross ventilation...as well as more light besides the emergency lights.  Tampa is certainly hot during much of the year.

I made up my mind never to live in a tower when I retired!

I was certainly ready to move to the mountains of NC and to not be any place on a daily schedule, and so I slumped into retirement with a lovely period of depressed adjustment.  I'm glad I got involved in a lot of things after a few months.  But that's the "after retirement story."  This is the "before" story.

I just tried looking on line for pictures of the apartment building, and the only one I found is the one above.  I wonder why.  It is kind of hard to take a picture there without any people in it.  I spent lots of time taking pictures of the people at parties, then posting them for their enjoyment and to share with friends.

OK, come on over to Sepia Saturday to see what else folks have posted on their own blogs (scroll down to the list of people's names as links) maybe about Russian violinists playing chess...HERE.


The quote for today:

Within us is the soul of the whole, the wise silence, the universal beauty, the eternal One.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
 

25 comments:

  1. Sounds like you have filled your life "after retirement" with things that you enjoy doing.

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    1. And I spent all this post talking about my "before retirement." I love blogging, that's for sure!

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  2. The change over from working to retirement is pretty tricky – we are betwixt and between at the moment. Retired from full-time work but still doing some part-time work to supplement our pensions. We are also looking at moving into a retirement property, and your post has answered one of our quandaries – a ground-floor apartment or one higher up with a balcony? I’ve always fancied a balcony and a view but hadn’t given a thought to power cuts; your post has just reminded me why it’s better to stay closer to the ground.

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    1. Hi Barbara, I don't see anything wrong with second or even third floor levels...I'd still consider them myself. But high-rises, no way! Enjoy your transitioning!

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  3. Whoa, you WERE busy. Funny, you did that work in a high rise in a city then ran off to the country for your own retirement....

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    1. Yep, I was working where some of my family was, but I much prefer the country life for myself. I do miss them though.

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  4. Great memories. Your job as an Activities Director sounds like fun (but in reality I am sure was hard work). I bet you are happier now - directing your own activities - and creating functional art out of clay.

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    1. Yes, Alan, I try to not over-do my interests...but seem to be finally balancing things out.

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  5. Nice memories for you - but I Agree, I 'll bet you are happier now!

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    1. Thanks Mona, the only thing I really really miss is a pay-check!

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  6. Good post of good memories.
    I waited about two years to long to retire. It took me almost a year to relearn how to truly relax!

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    1. I'm glad a social worker said it would make a few dollars difference (in Social Security benefits) if I waited a couple more years to retire, but when weighed against how I felt about continuing to work, I turned in my notice.

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  7. And I'll bet you have no regrets moving off to the mountains. I worked in the city for 10 years & enjoyed it well enough - especially having plenty of people to talk to every day & plenty to do in the city during lunch hours & weekends. Then I married a forester & moved off to the woods & the only 'person' I had to talk to during the day while my husband was at work was his dog. I took Schoen (dog) for walks in the redwoods or down to the ocean so she could run around on the beach. I often visited the local gift shop at the "Trees of Mystery" tourist stop, & shopped at the little local market every day whether I needed to or not - just for the company! When my husband had to go away on business for a couple of weeks a year later, I excitedly took our baby son & drove the 400 miles back down to the S.F. Bay Area to see my family & visit all my friends & former coworkers. I was supposed to be there for two weeks, but a week later I told my Mom I had to go home! I hadn't realized how much I'd become used to the slower, quieter pace of life in the country. In the Bay Area where I'd grown up & worked there were too many people now, too much traffic, it was too noisy & lines in the stores were too long. All I wanted was to get out of there & back to the peace & quiet of the woods & that's when I finally came to terms with the active - but in a different way - life I've lived since then & I wouldn't change it for anything!

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    1. It seems like you still like to have a chance to talk with people...here on blogs! And you always have something interesting to say!

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  8. We retired to a 1 story house. No problem if the power goes off. I wish it was a bit more out of the city though. It does sound like you kept a lot of activities going on.

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    1. I was surprised that due to budget constraints, when I left I was replaced by someone only working half time. I guess much of what I had been doing was going to be history.

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  9. Clearly you were too busy organising all those activities to stop and take photographs at the same time. Good that you are able to relax and take things easier now.

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    1. Jo, I did take a lot of photos...of the people enjoying themselves...just not of the building by itself. I didn't want to post pics of people without their permission, and I no longer am in contact with them.

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  10. I live in a high rise - I've considered moving, but would miss my view too much!
    We had a power outage for about 4 days a couple of summers ago during a heat wave. It was a nuisance, for sure. Luckily I wasn't too high up, so still had water and could climb the stairs.

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    1. That view is sometimes worth a small inconvenience when the power is off. Enjoy it!

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  11. Thanks for the video. It's lovely to hear your voice. Yes, I think I would miss my pay check too. I dream of retirement but wonder how I would go.

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  12. Phew. Your work sounds exhausting.

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  13. I'm sure even fun and games gets old after a while. Retirement takes adjusting but once you get the hang of it, it's great.

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  14. You did a lot of fun things pre-retirement, but I can tell post-retirement is also busy for you. And probably cooler, in every sense.

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  15. When I first looked at the shot of the apartment building I thought it might be a very interesting container in which you kept some of your pottery. I thought, "Wow! Where'd she get such a cool box?"

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