During the month of June, often thought of as a time of love and nuptials, a variety of wedding-related items are on display on the Dancey House Mezzanine at Chelsea Retirement Community (CRC). What’s most special about these items, including three wedding dresses, are that they each hold a special place in the hearts of our CRC residents who have shared them. It’s part of a unique project by the CRC Program Committee and led by volunteer and Prairie Cottages resident, Sherri Rizzo.
“Each month I pick a theme for the display case and put a request in The CRC Reporter (resident newsletter) for residents to share something from their collections,” says Sherri. “Sometimes I think, ‘I’ll never get anything for this theme’, but, sure enough, I always gets lots of items!”
For example, this month resident Nancy Alguire shared not only her wedding dress, but an 85-year-old wedding cake topper, used by her parents, Nancy and her late husband, Sam, and her daughter. Sally Lamkin, another Prairie Cottages resident who suggested this month’s theme, shared a 98-year-old bride doll which belonged to the aunt of her late husband, Burt. The doll’s entire ensemble was made as an exact replica of the aunt’s own wedding dress, right down to the veil, train, and garter!
Says Sally, “These displays bring another touch of the many, varied interests of our residents and is a wonderful chance for us to share items that we have tucked away. Sherri has jumped in and taken this project on, and we’ve had a great response from all the residents.”
Sherri also works on the display cases at Glazier Commons Assisted Living, this month commemorating Father’s Day and sharing the stories of the men living at Glazier.
“I love hearing their stories,” says Sherri. “I love talking to people and seeing their faces light up when they talk about their treasures. The residents have been so willing to share things they have treasured for so long. Others will see their items and say, ‘Oh, my mother or grandmother had one of those!’ The items bring a lot of happy memories.”
For July, Sherri has already started collecting hand-carved animals. “The talents our residents have are just amazing,” she says.
For more information about Chelsea Retirement Community, visit: chelsearetirement.mybrio.org. Or if you’re interested in volunteering, go to: MyBrio.org/volunteer-opportunities-michigan/.