BEING HERE FOR EACH OTHER
When I moved to Strawberry Creek Lodge some five years ago, I thought it might be a decent place to live. It took just a few weeks to learn that it could be much more than that. That it could be a place to belong.
My way of belonging has come through helping out, through chipping in. I started out washing dinner dishes. We had rotating shifts of volunteers then, five nights a week. It was hard, dirty work. I’ll bet you remember that Walter, Linda, Peter, Gary, and Deborah! I lasted all of 6 months.
Since then I’ve kept on contributing by writing incident reports, helping lost neighbors find their way home, handling finances for the meal program, organizing Laughter Yoga classes, serving for three years as treasurer for the Tenants Association, organizing a group to share questions about how to prepare for death and what it may be like, doing online research and placing orders for neighbors who don’t know how, copy-editing Currents.
And yes, most recently becoming a member of our Board of Trustees. You cannot begin to imagine how many ways we help one another here until you try.
Lois Stewart, would have been 100 years old on 2/20/22 Lois Stewart, Apartment A-403, moved into Strawberry Creek Lodge in October 2015. It has been a beautiful and perfect place to live for the last 6 plus years of a near-century of vitality. The week she moved in, a friendly neighbor took her to a town hall meeting. She said delightedly, “It’s just like Greenbelt!” (For those too young to know, Greenbelt, Maryland. was an innovation in community planning, a brainchild of the Roosevelt administration.)
Like Strawberry, there were lots of committees! Strawberry’s rare community energy, the feeling of real neighbors, the fact of an affordable and beautiful nest for an elder on Social Security, the kindness of greetings in the lobby, the beauty of the neighborhood’s tree-lined streets, the design of the park, all reflecting her own joy and values, was truly incredibly good fortune for her and for us in her family.
Thank you to all of you.You effortlessly contributed to the best circumstances for end of life that anyone could ask for. The truth is I am grateful and amazed that Lois had such good fortune.She was an unusually authentic and vital person (so many here may be that as well), so if there is karma, this place has been part of the good fruit of hers.
Thanks to you all for your tireless contribution to the life of Strawberry. I’m happy to have been able to bask in that life too. It has been one of the silver linings of “sheltering in place” and “caregiving.” Ha! What is going on, really? Something good.
With love and appreciation, Gail Stewart, daughter to Lois February 2022
Strawberry Creek Lodge
1320 Addison Street, Berkeley, California 94702, United States
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