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Residents recall auld acquaintances

Robinwood Assisted Living rings in New Year

Robinwood Assisted Living rings in New Year

January 02, 2003|by PEPPER BALLARD

pepperb@herald-mail.com

HAGERSTOWN - All were sitting, some swilling a few flutes of champagne while quietly reminiscing, but most Robinwood Assisted Living residents happily recalled a New Year's Eve where their legs danced, their close friends laughed and their loved ones relaxed alongside them.

"We danced all night, just the two of us," said Esther Grace while smiling, a light mist glinting in her eyes. "We rolled up the carpet. We danced till dawn."

Grace, 82, said that living room dance followed a wonderful New Year's Eve party more than 12 years ago, just before her husband died.

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Wearing a gold and black 2003 crown, Grace said the 3 p.m. New Year's Eve party at the assisted living center - featuring softly playing Big Band music, Andr champagne, cocktail shrimp and a noise-maker competition - was nice, but just not the same.

Richard Newcomer, 91, agreed. He said he always either was invited to holiday parties or threw them himself.

His favorite New Year's Eve tradition, shooting a 12-gauge shotgun into the air at the stroke of midnight, ended about three years ago when the kickback from the blast knocked him on his buttocks, he said.

Geneva Dattilio, 79, said she and her husband used to watch the apple drop on Times Square in New York City from a television at friends' houses, but now she finds the New Year sad.

She said recently their home and car were sold. This year will be a difficult adjustment -she and her husband have been residents at the center for two months.

Dattilio said she tries to see the New Year as a happy celebration.

"You just don't let your children see that you're sad and (you) let them know that you love them."

Shirley Young, 82, following the hour-long afternoon celebration, planned to spend the evening with her son and daughter-in-law at a restaurant and later at a movie theater.

Some of the approximately 30 attendees were already planning to turn in early.

Resident Evelyn Baldwin, 86, said she used to stay up until midnight but doubted she would stay awake that long this year.

"I like to go to bed at the same time now," she said.

Baldwin was among the residents and visiting family members who won the horn blowing contest at the celebration.

So was Dorothy Ridenour, 92, who tried to remember which New Year's Eve was her favorite.

Her visiting son, Wells Ridenour, 65, said with a chuckle, "Probably 1937 - the year I was born."

Dorothy Ridenour said she remembers getting together often with other couples to ring in the New Year.

"After all these years, you just can't remember all these things," she said.

Ridenour was drinking a flute of Shasta Ginger Ale.

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