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Remember When Most Homes Had Only ONE Bathroom? February 20, 2010

Posted by Ageless Dreamer Foundation in Ageless Dreamer, Ageless Dreamers and Dreams, Inspirational Stories.
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Born and raised in Massachusetts, I was the middle child of five daughters. No brothers. Oh, did I tell you there was only one – yes, one – bathroom in the house? I’m sharing that with you because maybe it’ll help explain why I’ve always been a dreamer. Maybe I was dreaming of having more than one bathroom.

As Founder of a non profit organization, Ageless Dreamer, I immersed myself in encouraging our oldest generation to dream out loud. The idea came to me ten years ago when I went to the mailbox and received my first invitation to AARP. I circular filed it, of course, but realized that I was about to cross into someplace that I’d never been. Then I noticed, as I walked the sidewalks of the town in New Hampshire where we live, that there weren’t many old folks walking around. Where were they? And I began to notice that when I drove by assisted living or nursing home, or other similar places, that I didn’t even turn my head to look.

My husband and I started visiting these places and after a few months realized something very important: It didn’t matter if someone lived in the least expensive or most expensive senior living arrangement, if no one knocked on your door to visit and share stories, then stories and dreams were left untold. Constipated, if you will.

AARP doesn’t give up easily, so once again when I went to the mail box, a second invitation arrived which I also proceeded to recycle. But this time as I threw it into the blue plastic bin, I declared: I’m not an AARP-er. I am an ageless dreamer. The rest is history. You can learn more about that on the website: http://www.AgelessDreamer.org

This book is about stories of our oldest generation who are living and ageing successfully at home. It’s about our own futures and the lessons we can learn on how we can remain in our own homes as we age. Planning for that is important, both from a financial perspective, and a well being perspective. They’ll certainly be other options for many people, but this one option of ageing at home, is the one I’ll be capturing through stories shared with me.

With the 100 year old being the fastest growing demographic today, it’s very likely that the vast majority of Baby Boomers will grow to be part of that demographic. The wisdom, knowledge, and talents of today’s elders – also known as the Greatest Generation – will provide inspiration and insight into what we have to look forward to.

If you know someone who’s part of the oldest generation who’s successfully ageing at home and would like to share the story in this book or future ones, please send it to me at lauriewidmark@comcast.net. I’ll look forward to hearing from you.

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Send in YOUR Stories to Share in my upcoming book! July 19, 2009

Posted by Ageless Dreamer Foundation in Ageless Dreamer, Ageless Dreamers and Dreams, Inspirational Stories, Words of Wisdom.
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Lo and behold, all you ageless dreamers out there, THE BOOK is in process!  It’s stories about our oldest population who still remain living at home and are doing it successfully.  It’s OUR future so I figure if we can collect the secrets to their success in remaining independent we’ll all win in the end.  Please share your story of an elder parent, relative, neighbor, or friend.  And if you haven’t asked them if they have a dream maybe ask them today, listen close and open up their world and yours!   Quote for the day: Dreams are illustrations from the book your soul is writing about you. [Marsha Norman]

Loving Life to the End February 14, 2009

Posted by Ageless Dreamer Foundation in Ageless Dreamers and Dreams.
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John with watercolor brush in hand

John with watercolor brush in hand

Ageless Dreamer and John Albright went together. Just like water color painting and John Albright went together. In 2006 Ageless Dreamer enjoyed pulling together John’s first ever art gallery event, along with another artist. Over a hundred people came through during the three hour open house in awe of his talent. John was as thrilled as we were and his artwork was amazing with such detail from his worldly adventures. And none of it was for sale or we’d have one hanging on our wall at home!  More photos and story on the website, of course.

This past December WMUR/Channel 9 TV, on behalf of their Spirit of Giving for Ageless Dreamer, interviewed both John and Ruth (the other artist whose work was on display). They spoke of the value Ageless Dreamer brought to their lives and how it can do the same for others of our oldest generation. To watch WMUR video click here (or you can go to the Ageless Dreamer website and click on Live Media)

In the past few months, I took John, along with my granddaughter and grandson to the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire — right here in Dover, NH. John, although he moved slowly, was mesmerized with how some of the activities were built. Images of John dancing, with the help of his walker, along with the magic of international dancers on the screen made him grin, amazed at the technology of it all. He was a child at heart. And we loved him for it.

John dancing along with technology at the NH Children's Museum

John dancing along with technology at the NH Children's Museum

 He joined me at a number of Ageless Dreamer speaking engagements throughout the seacoast. John would stand proudly with the microphone in hand and be, once again, the wonderful ambassador for Ageless Dreamer that he was. I miss him already. Saturday, Jan 24, was my last visit with John and he laughed at the mechanical, life size poney we’d bring, and, most recently, the little hand held birds that “twirp”. John will continue to be an inspiration to Ageless Dreamer — and that the organization did and does make a differance. Thank you, my friend, for sharing yourself with me. Pick up your watercolor brush and paint away in the sky. The view is beautiful.

Copyright 2009 Laurie Widmark

101.102.103. and counting! December 16, 2008

Posted by Ageless Dreamer Foundation in Ageless Dreamers and Dreams.
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Might look like a code, but it’s candles on a cake come January 1, 2009, plus one for good luck.  Dreamer John H. born 1907, spoke his dream out loud, and after months of planning, Ageless Dreamer watched it unfold, thanks to five WSBE students of the University of NH. These students bridged the generation gap when they became engaged in the experience of making John’s dream come true.  On Saturday, Dec. 13, 2008  they presented John with an honorary membership in the Entreprenuership Venture Creation class of 2009.   As the old expression goes, they may be “wet behind the ears”, but they have hearts of gold and will go far when they graduate in May, 2009 – They have learned the art of giving.

Thomas Loosigian, Michelle Pirro, Michael McKee, Coleman Connolly, Jason Norton, Laurie Widmark, Mary G. and John H.

Thomas Loosigian, Michelle Pirro, Michael McKee, Coleman Connolly, Jason Norton, Laurie Widmark, Mary G. and John H.

Monday Nights With Sidney No More November 6, 2008

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Laurie and Sidney on a Monday night with Sidney.

Laurie and Sidney on a Monday night with Sidney.

“You liked that one, don’t cha?”  That was one of Sidney’s favorite sayings.  Almost every Monday night for the past five years, Sidney Kates, born 1926, would arrive at our home in Dover, NH at 5:30 p.m. for dinner.  Those Monday nights became less and less in the past two months as our dear friend Sidney began his own slow journey on his final cruise. This morning, November 6, 2008 at approx. 3:30 a.m. Sidney landed on a peaceful island someplace, far away from his diabetes, emphysema, and congestive heart failure.   Sidney owned and managed Kates Style Shop, downtown Dover, NH for sixty-four years, closing it in 1982. He could spot, and would compliment you, on a fine tailored piece of clothing you were wearing. Sidney would even be proud if you showed him  the discount price tag you bought it at…smiling, knowing you made a good choice.   And he had so many stories to share on those Monday nights, I always wished we had recorded them.  It would have been a book that everyone in town would have wanted to buy…and hope that their name wasn’t in it.  Actually, we would have changed the names to protect the innocent, and let readers see if they could identify themselves.   There may be no more Sidney except in our memories and in our heart, but he’s left us one more legacy:  the Sidney Special.  We’ll keep the recipe a secret, but welcome all his friends to celebrate his life and love anytime with us.  He’ll be with us in spirit every Monday night.  Cheers to a Special Sidney. We’ll miss you.

Copyright 2008 Laurie Widmark

Shirley’s Closet October 15, 2008

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The call came at 10:47 p.m. Yes, when the phone rings that late at night I look at the clock. My eldest, dearest girlfriend, Shirley Lampke called it a day, a night, a life.  She was one classy lady right up until the last 60 days when congestive heart failure, among other life sucking ailments,  took control. I won’t go into the details.

What I want to say to anyone listening is what author Elizabeth Coatsworth wrote, and what Ageless Dreamer has been given written permission to use: When I dream I am ageless. 

Shirley, born 1921, always had a twinkle in her eye and a skip in her stylish step. When it was decided that it was time for her to move from her assisted living apartment to Paloma, I was asked, as Shirley’s friend, to go into her closet and pick out the clothes she wore most and move the rest on to the resale place.  I got carried away, of course, and ended up bringing a full closet and a half to our home…so that Shirley would have clothes to wear in whatever season there was.  I would  now be Shirley’s closet.    Her wonderful, adoring adult children have just learned that I have a full closet and a half of Shirley’s wonderful, coordinated outfits. It’s Shirley out loud. Now what?

Shirley gave me the magic of the essence of being alive. Her smile was her calling card. Inspiration. It mattered not her age, she shopped Chico’s or any brand that suited her petite body.  And shoes? Well, this Lady willed a most wonderful pair of shoes and a very favorite, fabulous belt to me.  I know she knows I’m wearing them at the National Publicity Summit next week in NYC.  She’ll be there with me calming my butterflies.  Sleep well, girlfriend. Be at peace knowing that Ageless Dreamer lives and will grow stronger because of your influence.  I love you.  I miss you already.  Thank you for putting up with all my chatter about dreaming outloud.  I can only hope that I made some of your dreams come true.

Sommer, Shirley & Laurie - August 2007
Sommer, Shirley & Laurie – August 2007

 

Copyright 2008 Laurie Widmark