Category Archives: Senior Center

The Newburyport School Vote and Senior Center Passes

The Newburyport school vote and the Senior Center Passes!!

Good go’n Newburyport!!

Below are the election results thanks to the Port Pride Facebook page!!

School vote and Senior Center passes (photo thanks to the Port Pride Facebook page)

School vote and Senior Center passes (photo thanks to the Port Pride Facebook page)

Here is a breakdown of the voting totals, thanks to Newburyport City Councilor Ed Cameron.

Question 1, Building a new Bresnahan Model School building (Press to enlarge)

Question 1, press to enlarge

Question 1, (Press to enlarge)

Question 2, Renovating and upgrading the Nock/Molin Upper Elementary school (Press to enlarge)

Question 2 (Press to enlarge)

Question 2 (Press to enlarge)

Question 3, Building a new Senior & Community Center (Press to enlarge)

Question 3 (Press to enlarge)

Question 3 (Press to enlarge)

All three questions together (Press to enlarge)

Newburyport Election, June 5, 2012

Newburyport Election, June 5, 2012 (Press to enlarge)

Newspapers in Trouble

Newspapers are in trouble, for all sorts of reasons, from cable news to the World Wide Web, other stuff, multi-determined, not exactly new news.

I was reminded of this yet again by my friend Frank Schaeffer’s piece on the Huffington Post on the very same subject.

Newspapers are caught in the middle between the old form of print and, trying to persuade their advertisers to pay the same price for advertising on the World Wide Web.

I happen to read almost all my news online now, because I figure I’m saving a whole lot of trees. My small contribution to going “green.” I got a Sunday paper and felt as if I had felled a forest. No forests felled by reading stuff on my computer.

As Frank Schaeffer points out, the World Wide Web is instant news.

For example I waited for the Newburyport Daily News to report today that, from what I understand, our mayor and the Newburyport City Council got “served” by the landfill owner. Huge story. Huge, huge story. Not in today’s Daily News, that I can find. So if you might not have heard about that possibility, you have now.

And Tom Salemi did an excellent job in writing up in almost real time, the fact that yes, whew, a miracle happened, the Newburyport City Council voted “Yes” to designated a site for the Senior Center at Cushing Park. If you haven’t read it, read it here. And Gillian Swart was on the case too. Good go’n.

And the fact that we are losing newspapers, and newspapers are cutting back like mad, is, at least in the short run, for me, real bad news. Because there is less and less really hard journalism going on. All of this is discussed earlier on the Newburyport Blog, in particular in regards to Bill Moyers’ amazing speech on the subject.

Frank Schaeffer is always fun to read, and I’m glad he’s switched over to the Huffington Post.

Vote on the Senior Center

In my mind the stupidest vote by a Newburyport City Council came during the Lavender Administration concerning the parking garage downtown.

At that time there was a piece of property, right off Route 1, on Merrimac Street, right behind the police station on Green Street, called “Lombardi Oil.” The owner of the Lombardi Oil property offered the land to the city for “a song” (especially in 20/20, a real loud song).

There was 5 million dollars good to go from the State of Massachusetts to start the ball rolling. And the Newburyport Planning Office had come up with an amazing (what we now call “Smart Growth”) flexible plan, that included a very attractive street view. This was no ugly parking garage plan, believe you me. It was a complete “win,” not even a “win/win” situation. And the Newburyport City Council at that time, turned it down, I believe, by one vote.

As I remember it, the rational for some of those pivotal votes, was that the money should be used for a spanking new elementary school. That’s what the emphasis should be. And in 20/20 in 2006 and 2007 we know what a lousy visionary approach that turned out to be.

In December 2006, the community at large ranted against what then Newburyport City Councilor Audrey McCarthy referred to as the “Taj Mahal” approach to our elementary school building needs, as opposed to funding much needed basic education.

What was lost, way back there in the last part of the 20th Century, was a crucial moment that could have helped empower the downtown Newburyport economy. Yes, yikes.

And I’m wondering, if a similar lapse in judgment and vision is about to happen on the Newburyport City Council floor in regards to a vote for the location for the Newburyport Senior Center.

It looks like a vote for a Senior Center site at Cushing Park may go down the tubes. (Anyone reading the Newburyport Blog in the year 2008, knows how strongly I feel about having a Senior Center.)

And I am wondering whether in 5 years, whether we could look back, the same way we look back at the vote on the downtown parking garage, and think, “What folly.”

Dithering Over a Place for Seniors

Maybe all this dithering for so many years about where to have a Senior Center, and predictably the resistance to the most recent site, among many, many “resistances” to a whole host of sites, could be our collective unconscious resistance to the notion of our own inevitable aging process and death, and the aging process and death of the people that we love.

Maybe it’s time to slightly change the focus. Not on where to have the ultimate location for a Senior Center (not that I don’t think that that is a good idea), but rather where to house all the senior services in one place, how to make sure that the Newburyport Council on Aging is always properly funded, and how to make sure that the Director of the Newburyport Council on Aging is appropriately compensated for working 24/7.

This “new” approach, actually didn’t come out of my “brilliant brain.” It came out of a conversation with Newburyport Councilor at Large, and pretty much close neighbor, Katie Ives.

Her thinking was that even (due to some miracle–my injection) if we do agree on a site for the Newburyport Senior Center, it’s going to take quite a while to fund it, and quite some time for it to become a reality.

In the mean time, something has to be done to house all the services and activities in one central location.

Hear, hear. Good for Katie Ives. An actual rational thought process.

My.

Not everybody has children, but everyone in Newburyport, MA does share the same fate, no matter what a “Paris Hilton” world might tell us. No matter how distracting the “flash and gash” of our culture might be.

Why wait until your last minute, or the last minute of someone you love, to realize that the services of the Council on Aging are applicable to everyone. Period.

And yes, we are all going to age, and if we are “lucky” grow old, and our loved ones are going to need information and support and just plain old help, even if we think that we might magically skip the aging process in the all together.

Mary Eaton
Newburyport

Wisdom, Council on Aging

I missed my Mother’s death 18 years ago.

Neon lights flashing, “Your mother is dying,” were completely lost on me. My determination that she would “beat it” and come home. Not so.

So I was determined that I would “receive” my father’s death, and respect the way in which he wanted to die. A decision that I was quite sure my very capable father, had made.

My Dad, checked himself out of the hospital against doctor’s orders, and went home, rebuffing professional help that he so desperately needed to survive.

And my father died a brilliant death, just the way he wanted it. 12 hours before his 90th birthday, he died standing up, in his doctor’s waiting room, having just, so characteristically in his gentlemanly way, taken off his hat, waiting to give his doctor “hell” for treating him like “a pathetic invalid.”

My father died “with his boots on” and did not “go gentle into that good night.”

It may have been a “brilliant” death for my father, but it took an enormous toll out of all the people who surrounded him and loved him so much.

And the Council on Aging is not only for the individual who is aging, but it is also a resource of comfort, expertise and information for families and friends who love them.

Mary Eaton
Newburyport

Growing Old in Newburyport, MA

I never would have imagined my father’s death, and the last weeks of his life would affect me the way it has.

Yesterday, for the first time in two and a half months, I sat down in front of my easel and painted. And it was a relief.

It won’t last, but like Spring, for me, it was a sign of hope.

Having watched the last five and a half years of “my” senior’s life, I have become passionate about having a place for seniors in Newburyport, MA, that house all the necessary services and activities, as well as making sure that the Director of the Newburyport Council on Aging, who works 24/7 is adequately financially compensated.

And as one of my favorite seniors in Newburyport (not my father) put it, “Mary, there’s nothing ‘golden’ about the ‘golden years.’ The ‘golden years’ suck.”

As a society, we seem to focus, guided by “Madison Avenue,” as they used to say, on “youth.”

Old age appears to be an anathema to the advertising agencies, and we as a society appear to have little tolerance, for the process of aging and the inevitability of death. And for goodness sakes, forget the wisdom and knowledge of our elders. Who has time for that, when in a “Paris Hilton world,” the “flash and gash” have so much more appeal.

I got news for everybody, the ones who are “lucky” enough, will get their “golden” years, and they are going to be just as “sucky” as they were for my Newburyport friend.

And for those people who think that they might not need the services of the Newburyport Council on Aging, collected in the same place, listen carefully, and respectfully to the “process of old age,” because that would be your old age as well.

And for those people who feel that they are wealthy enough, well educated enough to feel that they would not need the services of the Newburyport Council on Aging, congregated in the same place, I’ve got news for you. In life there are no guarantees. There are no sure bets. Period.

And for those out there who might not think that having the services of the Newburyport Council on Aging all in one place, might not be a good idea, I’ve got more news for you–it is not and it will not be “all about you.” The people who are around you, if you are lucky enough to grow older, will need support and education and just plain old help, in helping you with the “sucky” process of growing old.

Am I pissed about all the dithering about where and how to house the services provided by the Newburyport Council on Aging and the lack of respect and support by so many people in Newburyport, MA? Yup, you bet I am. As they say in New York, for goodness sakes, “get off the shtik.”

Mary Eaton
Newburyport

Inspirational Change

My father (see previous post) was a realist. He knew change could be inspirational, and although daily, informal encounters could change people’s lives (and his did), he also believed that inspirational change could cost money. Often lots and lots of money.

My dad was a Roosevelt Democrat, and felt quite strongly that for people who had money, paying taxes was a patriotic act. And if people didn’t want to pay taxes, that provisions should be made to either compliment what the government could do, or create an entity that undertook a project that the government should, but refused to do.

And as a tax lawyer (way before being a “lawyer” became not such a good attribute, when lawyers, in general, believed in service, not how much money can I make) he persuaded his clients to do things like fund research for mental illness, at a time when no one talked about mental illness, or look for a cure for cancer, and fund stem cell research, when, for example, the present administration had “reservations” about such things.

And face it, one of the reasons Newburyport’s downtown is so inspirational, is that it was funded by lots and lots of federal dollars.

My father also understood the stresses of poverty. He fought for a compassionate solution to homelessness in New York City, and believed that the criminal justice system in New York City had the potential to be humane. And he raised the money (a talent my father had, and a gene his daughter did not receive) to attempt to make these goals attainable.

To make the educational system for our children “inspirational,” it would not only take the guardian angles that inhabit it, but also lots and lots of money to restore all the cuts that have been made over so many years. My father would have understood this. But he also would have believed that it would not be right to raise money on the backs of the struggling poor and middle class.

The same would go for such things as creating a senior center, and for funding the Council on Aging to an “inspirational” level.

And what to do at budget time with dealing and coping with the myriad of valuable projects and issues, all of which need to be funded, but where funds are lacking, I have no idea.

I do know, that to make many of them “inspirational,” lots and lots of money, would go a long, long way. I also believe that to raise taxes in Newburyport, MA that would put the less fortunate and middle class in crisis, would be a huge mistake.

Mary Eaton
Newburyport

Newburyport Politics as a Contact Sport

Wow, the last comment on Newburyport City Councilor Ed Cameron’s blog would be quite something.

It is “Anonymous” and in my mind, a good example of why politics in Newburyport is referred to as a “contact sport,” and why this town has often been called “Cannibal City.”

A partial quote:

“I hope those who raise perhaps valid questions about the wisdom of building a senior center at Cushing Park will not be depicted as “anti-senior” or villified like some neighborhood school advocates were. And I hope councilors will not dismiss their concerns as simple resistance to change. Jim Roy raises some valid questions, which I hope are not dismissed in a cavalier fashion, especially by those elected by all citizens.”

It’s hard for me to imagine this Newburyport City Council as being the sort of folks who are going to be “dismissive,” “cavalier” or “vilify” their constituents.

And it takes a lot of courage for our local politicians to take a stand and advocate a position.

I could not possibly speak for Mr. Cameron, but reservations about a site for a Newburyport Senior Center, would hardly make any citizen “anti-senior.”

To say finding a consensus for a location for a Senior Center would be difficult, could be an understatement. And I applaud Mr. Cameron and Mayor John Moak for taking what definitely is for some, a very unpopular stand.

Mary Eaton,
Newburyport

Time, Trust, Comfort and the Established Every Day

Tom Salemi on his blog, Newburyport Posts asks a very important question, and a question I think that many people ask themselves as well. And that is, since a Senior Center is going to cost the city of Newburyport, MA money, why not save that money, and have the much needed services scattered around the city in various places.

And let’s face it. That’s a very good question, one that I’ve been giving a lot of thought to.

And there are still a few families in Newburyport, MA that are lucky enough, that Mom and/or Dad have sons, daughter, sisters, brothers, nieces, nephews, who either still could afford to live in town, or at least would be able to live nearby. But even families who have grown up in Newburyport, MA find themselves in the “modern” world, where loved ones have jobs and lives that are not so close to home.

And many of us who have moved to Newburyport, MA, since urban renewal took place in the 1970’s really do not have family members who live in the area at all. And this poses a dilemma.

And what I have noticed is that loneliness is one of the biggest culprits. Sitting in a small 2 room apartment, day after day, with only the television, maybe, to keep one company, would be soul numbing, to say the least. And this is what many of our senior population are faced with. Maybe that’s something that’s not a lot of fun to think about, but it is true.

And the other thing that I’ve noticed, is that when there is something physically or emotionally that is not right, it is very difficult, even more so as one gets older, to say in an instant, or even an hour, what exactly what that “might not be right” could be. It often takes days with someone trusted, to figure out, not only the general problem, but the nuances of the situation.

If there is a place to go, a trusted place, and one would go on a regular basis, there is “time.” Time to talk through what seems to be happening. Time for folks who are familiar with each other, to notice what is happening. Time to think through solutions to a problem that makes some sort of sense.

In short, a Senior Center would be a meeting location, that could often take the place of “family,” that in this day and age is often scattered and sometimes fractured, and simply, in reality, often not there, to provide very basic interactions, that were once a part of everyday life.

Mary Eaton, Newburyport

Senior Center, Newburyport , MA

The frogs are concerned. There has been a family “call for” and they are afraid that I would not get around to blogging the Newburyport Blog. Well, obviously they are wrong. It’s very sweet of them.

(Although the more I think about it, not to be a cynic here, I hope it’s not because they want to make sure that they would continue to make an appearance on the World Wide Web.)

 George-Advice.jpg

George expressing his concern to moi 

I checked in on Ed Cameron’s Blog, and was delighted that he addressed the issue of the Senior Center. Well articulated, and in a calm and sensible manner, no less. A definite must read.

I appreciate all his thoughts, including Mr. Cameron’s thoughts on the proposed location of Cushing Park, and who exactly is going to use the Senior Center, and the number of folks that  there might be.

Good for Ed Cameron.

The frogs although not seniors (far from it), are quite pleased by Mr. Cameron’s, what they feel is good go’n chutzpah.

Mary Eaton, Newburyport

Senior Center, Where

This is where it becomes wretched. Where to have the Newburyport Senior Center?

Ed Cameron talks about this on his blog.

And I give Mayor John Moak great deal of credit for making a decision about where to locate the Senior Center, the choice being Cushing Park, a location Mr. Cameron also agrees with.

Some seniors have been actively lobbying for a Senior Center on the Central Waterfront (the NRA property).

Well, a hotel didn’t go there and neither did the Newburyport Library.

And to keep lobbying for the Senior Center to go on the Central Waterfront, could in my opinion, not only sabotage any hopes of a Senior Center ever being built, but also could sabotage any hope of the conundrum of the Central Waterfront (the NRA property) ever being resolved (and it looks like there might be a ray of hope that we could be close).

Is there a perfect place for a Senior Center? No. Otherwise we as a city might have agreed on a spot after all these many, many years.

And if a Senior Center is to actually happen, it would be my opinion that it could be time to get real realistic and do a little compromising on the part of those unhappy with the Cushing Park site.

And yes, I understand how threatening it would be for the neighbors of Cushing Park not to have all of that off-street parking during bad winter weather.

However, the same was true for the Catholic Church property on Federal Street where the 2 historic houses where rescued and the area built on (the Federal Street Overlay District).

That area was mostly used for off-street parking during lousy winter weather. What did all those neighbors do? I don’t know, but they sure did something. (And no one ever expected the Catholic Church to give that piece of land up for development.)

And yes, location is important for a Senior Center. However, what happens inside the Senior Center, the people who are there for the Senior Center and having a place to go for seniors, for me, trumps location.

It seems to me that Cushing Park is the best compromise that the city has yet to come up with for a Senior Center. And if you’ve been reading the Newburyport Blog lately, it would be my opinion, that we really need a Senior Center now.

Mary Eaton
Newburyport

To Chain Store or Not

To chain store or not to chain store (a conversation that has been taking place on Tom Salemi’s Blog, Newburyport Posts) would really not be the question for me. The question for me, in actuality, would be about the underlying concern in the community about Mr. Karp and New England Development.

After reading Stephen Tait’s series of articles about Mr. Karp, New England Development, Nantucket and Newburyport (a must read) in the Newburyport Daily News, December 2007, I ended up thinking, “What’s the use?” “What does it matter?”

Newburyport, MA might be lucky if we got a “tweak” in the plans. But my guess, based on that excellent piece of reporting on Mr. Tait’s part, that New England Development and Mr. Karp would do what ever they want, and there is very little, as long as the zoning requirements are within reason, that the residents or political folks could do.

Sigh.

How depressing.

So the “Chain Store Ordinance” could in someway, be a statement of rebellion. It could be a statement of a desire to be able to control some of the destiny, on some small level of Newburyport, MA. Not to leave it completely up to a large corporation, where Newburyport, it appears, could be just another jewel in New England Development’s crown.

It is could not only be about what would be best economically for Newburyport, MA, but it could also be a statement that Newburyport, MA belongs to us.

And I ask myself, what do we as residence of Newburyport have control over, if not the fate of our own downtown.

And 2 of the things that come to mind are the fate of Newburyport’s senior population (if we are lucky, we too might eventually become part of a senior population) and a vibrant and welcoming Senior Center, and the fate of our children’s education.

Mary Eaton
Newburyport

A Caring Community

Why a Senior Center?

“I wake up in the morning knowing that I have somewhere to go. Retired life used to be depressing. Now it’s rich and full.”

“The Caring Community sent a man over to fix my window that wouldn’t open and he replaced a light bulb I couldn’t get to and I didn’t pay a dime.”

“The Caring Community also provides help fixing leaky taps, installing grab bars, insulating windows, and performing the myriad other routine apartment maintenance tasks that older adults typically cannot do alone. Thousands of tasks are performed annually for those in need of a handy, skilled friend to assist around the house.”

“The greatest problems of being homebound involve loneliness and isolation. The Telephone Reassurance program provides much-needed regular contact with a friend.”

“… During these short journeys with our volunteers, friendships are often forged and lively conversation exchanged, providing seniors with both a necessary service and enjoyable experience as beneficial as any medicine that a doctor can provide.”

“There are a lot of places I know that could use a Caring Community like the one that has helped me.”

“The Caring Community has been my home away from home for the last 28 years! Now as I get older, I know they will help me live independently for as long as I want to, and that means so much.”

“And what is a community if not a group of people that look out for one another in their time of need? It is this question that is at the heart of what we, The Caring Community, are all about.”

All these quotations are taken from The Caring Community’s website, thecaringcommunity.org.

And finally: “For many this is as simple as having a place to come and have a cup of coffee in the morning and talk with a friend, rather than isolating oneself at home.” (From a Senior Center in Palms Springs, CA)

Personally, I’d love it if Newburyport, MA had a caring community to be this proud of.

Mary Eaton
Newburyport

Sticky Dishes

In a large welcoming, bright warm room, company around a morning cup of coffee at a Senior Center.

In conversation it is mentioned that dishes feel smooth, not sticky or gummy as they do in the small two-room apartment.

Heads tilt and brows furrow. Sticky, gummy dishes.

A visit from a friendly face.

The dishes are in the drying rack next to the sink. But they are gummy and sticky with food that is dried on and never been removed.

It is remarked that a generic bar of soap and a washcloth might not work so well, washing dishes.

A light, small bottle of dishwashing liquid and a scrub sponge cut with scissors to comfortably fit a hand, is produced. The liquid is blue. It is alright, it will not leave a blue color, but clean dishes.

Every dish is plunge into warm soapy water and scrubbed with new scrub sponge, rinsed and left to dry. Instructions follow. The dishes are no longer sticky or gummy.

A promise of a follow up visit to check on new dish washing approach. The generic bar of soap and washcloth are left there for familiarity. The new blue dishwashing liquid stands upright by the side of the sink.

A suggestion to wear glasses when washing dishes. Better to see what could be missed.

Relief. The dishes are smooth. Somebody cares.

Probably would not have happened without a sanctuary, where people know the kind of questions to ask, and do not laugh at or ignore, such small issues. A Senior Center.

Mary Eaton
Newburyport

Numbing Silence

Silence.

Except for the TV. Silence.

On warmer days a walk.

On return, check the answering machine. No calls.

Last sibling, in another state, died.

No one to check in with.

After initial condolences–nothing. No cards, no phone calls.

Pick up the phone, can’t call, not there anymore.

5 degrees out. Two small rooms. Too cold to venture forth.

Later in a big, bright, welcoming, safe space, a timid mention of no calls on the answering machine, or any ringing of the telephone at all. The defining and deafening stillness. The numbing fear that results.

Someone listens and hears about whispers of a chilling emptiness, talks to someone else, and the telephone starts to ring once a day. “Telephone Reassurance” program initiated by a Senior Center.

Something to look forward to.

Mary Eaton
Newburyport

Spoiled Milk

8:00 o’clock in the evening. Forgotten to eat. Look into the frig. The milk looks odd. Not sure why.

Cream colored clumps at the top of the clear plastic bottle. Don’t know.

2 eggs left. Boiling water, not a good idea. Pot is heavy. Spills and burns.

Too tired to scramble.

Too dark at night, too cold, too difficult to plan ahead. No extra money for a pizza. Box too heavy. Delivery person not like putting it on table. Unhappy, no money for a well deserved tip. What to do with the 7 other pieces?

Cereal. Don’t know about the milk. Water from the tap and Cheerios for dinner.

Losing weight.

In a large brightly lit room, warm faces fuss. Despite a lunch-time meal, look thin.

Correct.

Concern about the odd looking milk. Relief. An explanation. Don’t drink it.

A warm unknown friend comes to look at the refrigerator. Sees it empty.

A plan. A person to help.

Who would know if not for that brightly lit, welcoming, warm place. A Senior Center. Enough time to see the difference, how thin. Someone seems to know what to do.

Mary Eaton
Newburyport

A Place to Go

Light bulbs.

No light bulbs.

One more lamp is dark. Confusing. Where to get light bulbs? Who would put the light bulbs in?

Going to a large, open, friendly place. Sitting down and discussing. The subject of the darkness of the small two-room apartment comes up.

Ah, a friend, understands about light bulbs. Someone comes over and discovers the two lamps that are dark, really dark, now that the winter days are short. They know how to screw in light bulbs and suddenly the tiny two rooms are no longer dark and frightening, but light and familiar once more.

Such a small thing, light bulbs, but so important.

And if there was no where to go. To a large welcoming place, filled with voices and familiar faces. Just the TV and two small rooms.

That large welcoming place, a Senior Center. A tonic against fear, loneliness and numbing boredom. Not the same as some small unwelcoming and mostly unused room in a housing facility.

In a country where families are fractured, far away from a family member, who would care, or maybe who could care less. Often there is no family member at all. And life in two small rooms often provides little sense of community, little sense of hope. A sense of abandonment, loneliness and fear.

The days are long. No community center to go to, to share even the slightest and mundane dilemma that rarely anyone would think of. Light bulbs, and what to do when they no longer work.

Mary Eaton
Newburyport

Newburyport, Maybe Some Sanity Settling In

People have said that they are surprised that I am against the elementary school, $30 million dollar, diamond necklace, spending extravaganza.

I guess people figure me for a “tax and spend” liberal democrat.

Not “tax and spend” to the tune of $30 million dollars. Come on. Not when there are LOTS of other alternatives. Think of me as a “practical” liberal democrat.

I was relieved to read in the Newburyport Daily News, December 4, 2006, that at least Mayor John Moak and members of the Newburyport City Council have concerns about the wisdom of a special election for this Spring.

Whew.

However, I would love for Mayor Moak and members of the Newburyport City Council to urge the School Committee to abandon this “ridiculous” plan altogether and come up with something that makes some “practical,” fiscal, common sense. From the article in the Newburyport Daily News, that didn’t sound like that was going to happen (yet.)

$30 million dollars makes $5 million for a Senior Center (Newburyport Daily News, December 4, 2006) look like a proverbial “walk in the park,” a “real deal,” a “downright bargain” if you will. Good grief.

Ok, I know I’m beginning to beat a horse, I don’t know if it’s a “dead horse” yet. But I really, really seem to be worked up about this one.

Mary Eaton
Newburyport

Newburyport, Railroad Station – Senior Center

It is my opinion that the railroad station is, commercially, a dead dead duck, because it is impossible to get directly from the station to the tracks.

I have always thought that the railroad station could be enlarged where necessary and turned into the senior center. And there would be plenty of parking.

James Charles Roy
Newburyport

Newburyport, Senior Center and Cushing Park

From the emails that I have received it seems that there is already a strong, mounting opposition to having a Senior Center at Cushing Park. (Cushing Park is off Kent Street and is often confused with Cashman Park that is along the waterfront on the North End of the City.)

When people call me about issues that I know nothing about, I try and ask them to educate me. And this was the case when I received phone calls about the Senior Center from “seniors.”

My first question was, why not the YWCA, a community center for all ages (I realize that this is a vast simplification.)

I know in middle age although I enjoy and appreciate “young” people of all different ages around town, actually having them in close proximity for any length of time is a little jarring. Not because I do not like them, I like them a lot, but because basically I am “out of practice” and am no longer “acclimated,” so to speak, to the hustle and bustle of youthful energy. If I feel this way in middle age, I would think that this would increase as I get older. And from what I understand, this is true of many older folks.

My second question was why not the Industrial Park? I like the idea of when I get older of not much traffic and lots of parking and possibly a place for a one level building. Basically, the answer, as I heard it, is that it gets lonely as one gets older and seniors do not want to be isolated from their community.

Actually when I thought about it, I remembered when the library had its temporary setting out in the Industrial Park (thanks to the great generosity of Ed Molin), it felt like I was going out to the middle of nowhere (although that was not the case) and went to the library very infrequently.

Now that the library is downtown, it is one of my favorite places to go, and I go all the time. So I can empathize with how our seniors feel about not wanting a Senior Center in a more isolated area.

This is where I think civics is very, very difficult, because there are legitimate, competing needs among our populace. And I am always impressed when we do find creative solutions or come to difficult compromises, because civics is not easy.

Mary Eaton
Newburyport