This January, residents at The Watermark came together as a community to express themselves through spoken word, song, jokes and stories during a very special “Words of Wisdom, Peace, Joy and Love for the New Year” Open Mic Night. The room was packed and residents were served desserts and hot drinks in this coffee house style event. The program was hosted by Michele Belloumini, local professor and volunteer coordinator of the monthly Write from Your HEART memoir writing class. Michele opened the evening by sharing why the Write From Your HEART workshop has been such a wonderful adventure for both her and the residents and the evening featured several residents who had written memoir essays as part of the program.
We were touched by the words of Kess Alling as he spoke of growing up on a farm and of his memories of the gladiola flowers in the expansive fields, Reva Rosard read two beautiful poems, one in remembrance of her mother and the other in memory of her late father. Later, she cheered us up with a silly song, “I’m My Own Grandpaw.” It was a riot and everyone sang along as she reached the chorus!
Dave Goldenberg shared a provocative tale about a lady who took him on an adventure when he was 17, only implying what truly happened on that trip with such a sophisticated and mature cougar. Everyone snickered at the end of that story!
Stan Feuer, a former dentist, told a handful of jokes from his collection to get us grinning from ear to ear and David Davis provided a lesson on the importance of lyrics to a song. We often assume that composers write the words and music, however that is rarely the case. Most times, the lyricists get very little credit and their words are so inspiring.
We were serenaded by the sultry voice of Phyllis Fridenberg as she sang one of her husband’s favorite tunes, “You’re Nobody Till Somebody Loves You” and laughed as Jessica and Spencer bopped along to the winter favorite, “Baby It’s Cold Outside.” It just so happened to be snowing outside with a blanket of white which set the scene for this cute little ditty.
One of the favorites of the evening was Shifra Siegel’s retelling of the wonderful memories she holds dear from life in Trenton, NJ. Her honest narriation about going for ice cream with friends, gardening in her back yard, relaxing out on the patio, leading a girl scout troop as they marched in the local parade was so eloquently, yet simply written, and we learned so much about her life story.
We ended the evening by asking Michele to read a writing from former resident, Evelyn Berger. She was such a jolly lady and we learned of the time she received an honorary doctorate from a university in Israel. It was like she was still with us as we listened to the words penned just a few months ago and imagined her speaking the words herself. We were sure that she was looking down on us that evening, smiling and giggling from ear to ear as we shared her story.
Summertime: Trenton, NJ
I'm My Own Grandpaw
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