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Monthly Village Newsletter for July 2024

From Executive Director Frank Finamore....

Before I preview all the great activities and events we have planned for July, I thought it worth sharing a personal, impactful experience that I had this week. I took Tuesday afternoon off to make a trip to Fredericksburg to see a dear family friend, Pat, now living in memory care. I last saw her just before the pandemic when I took Pat and my mother out to lunch. They’d been friends for more than 50 years at that point and so the reconnection was immediate and easy, except for the intermittent memory lapses that each experienced throughout our time together. At the time, I remember wondering what the future would hold for each of them as the road ahead was apparent to me, having cared for my aunt with Alzheimer’s.


Fast forward 5 years and something within me demanded that I make the sometimes-long trip to Fredericksburg to see Pat. She has always been a part of my life and we’ve both made the effort over the decades to be in touch, but now I knew that it was up to me to ensure that connection remained. One of my sisters, Gloria, was visiting and I asked another from Virginia to meet us to visit with Pat. It was a glorious visit with Pat definitively knowing who we were and happy, perhaps even excited, to see us.


Always single, Pat sort of adopted me and my sisters as her own. She was a teacher and was always so patient, encouraging, and loving. Pat did so much throughout my childhood to endear me to her, there was one act of kindness that she did for me and my sisters that perhaps impacted my life the most. One Christmas, I think in 1971, Pat bought all seven of us, and perhaps one for my mother too, gift certificates to Kinney Shoes. With my mom raising all of us alone, money was always tight, and this gift therefore was quite special. Not only did I get a new pair of shoes, but I got to pick out whatever I wanted! As a teacher, she didn’t make a lot of money, I’m sure. She likely went into her savings to buy so many extravagant Christmas gifts. 53 years later, that act of kindness still brings me to tears as I write this and reflect on her generosity.


So how does this story relate to the Village? We’re neighbors helping neighbors. Our volunteers go out of their way to provide practical support to our members and each action is really an act of kindness. It’s hard to measure how we might affect one another, but like Pat’s kindness, the impact can be deep and long-lasting. My experience this week also reminds me that every person is special with gifts, life experiences, and qualities to share.


Unfortunately, I think that many older adults are overlooked, perhaps especially those that struggle with their memory. As one late member, Marilyn, put it “time has a way of covering you up.” As a Village, and one that is growing in the number of members as well as programs, we’re making a statement about the importance of older adults, continuing to live in our community, some because of the practical support of our volunteers, as a vital thread in the fabric of our neighborhood.


I hope you’ll find an activity this month that might interest you. We are reviving our summer barbecue which will be on the roof of The Woodley (2700 Woodley Road) on July 17th. We’ll also have a Zoom session on emergency preparedness on July 9th and our Sunday Supper at All Souls on July 14th at 5pm. Then, on Thursday, July 25th we’ll venture to the Library of Congress, where my friend, Pat, was a docent for 20 years after her retirement from teaching. In attending one or some of these events, you’re giving us the gift of YOU. I’m excited to know more of you and your life stories. I truly hope that you’ll afford others the opportunity to know you!


I wish everyone a happy, early Fourth of July.


P.S. If you enjoy our newsletter, please feel free to forward it a friend. Anyone can subscribe to the newsletter by going to our homepage, scrolling to the bottom, and entering their email address.

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