When the little things mean so much to Vets and Seniors

Wanted:
New and gently – used lap blankets such as afghans, crocheted and knitted blankets and baby blankets and stuffed animals in excellent condition for Seniors and Vets in Nursing Homes. Can you help us collect them for a worthy cause?
 
Is there a group that you belong to with whom  you could share this request? Facebook? a Mom’s group? a church or synagogue youth group?
 
Last Night – how some of the blankets that CL readers donated found “new homes.”
 
 
I carried a bag of 25 colorful blankets into the VA medical center and a group of VETS waited for our Stories for Seniors program to begin. They each selected a blanket from the pile, donated by the CL readers.
 
Tom picked a beautiful pink one, Bill chose a blue one and John selected a quilted patch blanket. Then we began talking about the past. I reached into the trunk I carry with me that holds all of the memories and “conversation starters,” which are my props. 
 

 

THIS IS AN EMAIL THAT I RECEIVED FROM ONE OF THE VETS AFTER OUR PROGRAM LAST NIGHT.  WE HAVE 50 INTERESTING  ITEMS FROM THE 1940’S AND 1950’S, CARRIED IN MY “VINTAGE SUITCASES”,WHICH EVOKE MEMORIES OF DAYS GONE BY. 
“Patricia… Here are the snapshots that I took during your visit to SEVC which evoked so many memories of the Navy, Air Force, Army and Marines in your audience. I just could not believe that you could lay your hands on such a variety of items which were immediately recalled by these folks .. BACK IN THE DAY.
Thanks again for all your trouble.”
Henry
 
 
Then, I begin asking my questions.   

I held up a Valentine Heart pillow and asked, “Who was the first girl you asked out on a date?”

 

Mary Beth Brennan. Our first date was to the White House. She lived in Alexandria, VA.
The second Vet rolled up his shirt sleeve to reveal a big tatoo that said “Joyce.”
“Did you marry her?” I asked.
He nodded, “Yes, she was a great gal.”
I showed a picture from the cover of a magazine from the 1940’s, with a black and white photo of sailors, marines and soldiers. The words on the front cover read: YOU ARE IN THE ARMY NOW! The next question was, “Tell me about the day you enlisted.”

“My father said on my 17th birthday. ‘You are 17. Now get down there now and sign up.” So, I did. I signed the dotted line. That was when America was all about unity. They took everybody back then.”
“I was in high school. I lived in Jenkintown. The Air Force recruiter came to our school and said, “It’s time to get your wings.”
“What wings,” I asked the Vet.
“Why, my Air Force wings, and then before I knew it, I was on my way. I spent a year in Japan, and it wasn’t for a vacation. There was a war going on and I was in the middle of it. People think when you come home from war, you look all handsome and bright. That’ s not so. We got off the planes bruised and with black eyes.”
 
What’s the most important thing for a happy marriage? I asked.
“A woman who likes to make good food.”
“Love”
“Money”
 
And then on the way out, I gave blankets to the men waiting in the lobby. I quipped to one man, “You look like you are waiting for something special.”
He said, “I am just sitting here dreaming about taking a bus back to South Carolina.”
I laid a beautiful blanket on his lap and said, “Everybody needs a cozy blanket when they are dreaming!” He smiled with great delight.
 
It may seem like such a simple thing, and it is -visiting VETS and seniors in nursing homes and just talking about memories. Memories of when they drove into town on a big motorcyle and dazzled some young woman and the hugs at the USO dances.
 
But many feel tired, broken and lost. And afraid of aging, being sick and being alone. And many have no families that visit them.
And so the lap blankets mean so much. And the stuffed animals. And what they really love is that these items express a token of caring and appreciation from younger Americans. When they receive a warm lap blanket and a stuffed animal, it is a simple way for Americans to say, “Thank you for your sacrifice and services

cell: 267 939 0365

Patricia C. Gallagher

 

 

 

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