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McPeak's Assisted Living Newsletter

November 2011 Newsletter

By Linda Ohlsen, Recreation Director


October gave us two holidays to appreciate. The first was Columbus Day, which afforded us an opportunity to discuss our heritage. We shared our backgrounds with others and found that most of us had parents or grandparents who came from either Italy or Germany. Using a photo from Tess Brana, which showed her great grand-niece dressed in a kimono, we talked about how an individual's background can often be determined by the clothing they wear. We talked about foods that were specific to certain cultures too and enjoyed hearing about some German meals that Inga Schulz prepared and the Italian dishes served by Josephine Caputo and Julia Manganiello. Of interest too was a video of the old ethnic neighborhoods which was viewed by Gilda Messina and Muriel Lizak.

Much of our month was dedicated to that most famous October holiday- Halloween. Wearing my favorite witch hat, I invited guests, early in the month, to join me for a little witchcraft. I had no problem recruiting followers and with lots of help from Ruth Faustich and Pauline Bovino, our mantel was soon filled with many tiny, smoking cauldrons. Amid lots of orange lights, our wicked pots were quite bewitching.

Though most people brush away spider webs from their walls, we chose to put one up. Our huge cobweb filled one wall of our recreation room and was decorated with a wicked amount of super sized spiders made by Marie Thompson and Kitty Keegan.

Listening to musical selections from "Phantom of the Opera" put us in the perfect mood to create our scary but cute Jack-O-Lanterns. Mary Morris and Madeline Pedota had fun with this craft which was actually an orange lantern with some spooky features added. Lined up along our hallway, they brought more cheers than fears from those who viewed them.

We were all going batty as we gathered to do our last craft before the holiday. Our cute bats, done by Nick Mazzillo and Inga Schulz, were just spectacular as they flew around our dining room hallway.

Halloween games had us all working our magic as we had fun while trying to win some seasonal prizes. Our scavenger hunt called for searching through magazines for items to be found on a witch's wish list. Both teams did very well, finding black cats, black hats and, for this stylish witch, the perfect little black dress. Neither team, however, could find a broomstick and a tie match was called. All participants received cute paper pumpkins for their rooms and a candy treat too.

Special bingo rounds had lots of winners this month, including Lee Kulakowski, Gilda Messina and Josephine Caputo. The ladies loved their choice of prizes which included boxes of cookies, stuffed animals and, because winter is just around the corner, some colorful scarves and gloves. Spooky bingo games allowed us to engage our imaginations as we played rounds entitled, "Dracula's Nightmare" (the cross), "Cyclops" (only one letter-I), and "Last Man Standing" (full card minus one). Every game winner was awarded a small chocolate treat to put in their witch's cauldron and more goodies were also given for having the secret number on your card. All received magic wands (pretzel rods) to put some luck in their card and they certainly worked for Marie Thompson and Alfred Merrett, who left with their cauldrons full to the rim.

Juliette Gerlach and Josephine D'elia found they were experts on anatomy as they played one of the many table games I've created. "Body Parts" was a perfect pick for this time of the year and both ladies won prizes at the game, as did, Ruth Beal. Ruth was also the winner of our October raffle. The cute scarecrow she won looked great in her room.

A special treat for us all this month was the delicious pumpkin cake we conjured up during our baking program. We used a recipe provided by Nick Mazzillo and, with much measuring and stirring by Frank Hartman and Noreen Doohan, turned out a delectable snack that we all enjoyed.

Our times of reminiscing during the month had us focused on past Halloweens. Rachel Nason recalled the Little Red Riding Hood costume her mother made for her and Josephine Caputo said she dressed as an old woman to get her treats. Tricks played were recalled by Alex Salmin,
who would fill an old sock with ashes and use it to mark the coats of unsuspecting friends. George Thogersen gave a detailed account of how to move an outhouse as a prank and Juliette Gerlach recalled how she and her friends removed the gate from the cemetery one Halloween night.

We made some new memories this Halloween with a fun day filled with lots of great activities. Our morning program featured a variety of active games that had us testing our coordination while having lots of fun. Our first game had us trying out our throwing arm as we tried to knock down the witch. Muriel Lizak and Virginia Kara took prizes at this event and Ruth Faustich and Josephine D'elia won our poison apple toss. No one could flip the witch's pancake in the frying pan like Alex Salmin, who had 17 flips in 20 seconds, though George Thogersen came close with 13. Prizes went to Tess Brana and Alfred Merrett for getting their rings tossed onto the neck of the bottle of vampire venom, a not so easy task. We all enjoyed the "poison apples" and "witch fingers" (cocktail franks) that were served and were pleased to receive trick or treat bags filled with goodies too. As the sound of thunder rolled in, we headed off to lunch and to celebrate Muriel Lizak's Halloween birthday.

Our afternoon was great fun too, with Sash's belly-dancers providing a lovely show for us all to enjoy. The girls' beautiful costumes and colorful numbers were a delight and inspired George Thogersen, Bobbie Smith, Hazel Siegel and Muriel Lizak to grab a veil and get in on the fun. All were terrific!

As we end the month, we are pleased to note that Lee Kulakowski was our monthly bingo winner. Lee had 59 wins and outdid some stiff competition from Josephine D'elia, Nick Mazzillo and Ruth Faustich. Also note worthy this month was the bowling score of Julia Manganiello-212.

Before ending this newsletter, I would like to thank a few people who made this past month extra special. They include Marie Thompson's family for the donation of prizes for our games and Julia Manganiello's daughter for her donation of magazines. A big thank you to Josephine D'elia and family for the terrific gift certificates and trick or treat bags for the staff and for our two volunteer piano players. A special thank you to Frank Missali for freely donating his time and talent, once a week, to give Alex Salmin and George Thogersen piano lessons.