Seniors recount tales of their lives

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CHICO — Every Wednesday afternoon, “seasoned” citizens who live at The Lodge at the Terraces, a Westmont Senior Living community, gather together to listen to and tell stories about their pasts in a class called Telling Your Stories.

The class is taught by Lisa Holeman, a Butte College instructor, who is also a minister for As You Like It Weddings. The class was attended by about 13 people Wednesday.

“Stories shape us and are a gift to one another,” Holeman said Wednesday, prior to the class. “They are a gift to one another.  There is a lot of power in stories. It’s an essential part of the human experience. We all have things in common. There is a wholeness and truth to one another.”

At the beginning of the class, Holeman and some of the other students paid tribute to a man named Marsh, a resident who suffered from Parkinson’s disease and recently died. Holeman and some of the others talked about how funny he was and how he told jokes which he weaved into stories.

Student Louise Moore talked about her travels she has experienced throughout her life and how she hiked from Sweden to Norway and her visit to Ireland in 1954. Her grandmother was of Irish descent and sang Irish songs. She said she didn’t like visiting Ireland and found it a “disappointment” with people who lived there unhappy.

“They suffered under the British,” Moore said.

Another student, Barbara Ragland, went to school in Canada. Her mother spoke French fluently. She said her mother quit school and got married when she was barely 18 years old in Idaho and became a stay at home mother. Holeman and some of the other students asked if getting married so young was a common occurrence around that time period. Ragland said it was.

Another student, Louise Cummins, grew up on a farm during her first 12 years and made desserts for harvesters. Her father was a farmer. She would make cakes with honey. She liked to sing and performed the song “My Country Tis of Thee” in front of her class when she was four years old.

“Telling Your Stories” meets every Wednesday in the Sierra Room at 2750 Sierra Sunrise Terrace from 3 to 4 p.m. The class is free and open to the public.

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