Coming to Wesley Homes, Part 7

Opening My Arms to Life at Wesley Homes  by Pat King, Wesley Homes Des Moines resident Although the gorgeous landscaping at The Terrace is done by professionals who treat the grounds as if they were their own, there was another area, called the Circle Garden, that appeared to need of a lot of care. Jean Witt, one of the residents and a bona fide botanist, led me out to the Circle Garden with its 13 raised concentric beds. She apologized for the overgrowth. For some, it had become difficult “to take care of their cherished garden plots,” she told me. In the wink of an eye, I had my own garden to till and plant and weed and dream over. Jean and I walked among the beds, trimming, shaping and deadheading. We discussed plotting and planting. She became my first friend at Wesley. She is 91 years old. When I moved to Wesley, I had thought my days of gardening were over, but I had brought along my spade, clippers and two sets of garden gloves just in case… Across the road at The Gardens, I found garden plots that belonged to a bevy of serious gardeners. Alongside the tomatoes was a sign that said, “Help yourself.” I did. I sat in the September sun and enjoyed the color and taste of a perfect, homegrown tomato. A sign on tall dahlias invited, “Cutting shears are in the green house.” I took that as an invitation to go inside and look at the work of people who know a lot more than I do. Wesley Homes Des Moines’ Open House comes at the end of September and there is a lot of gussying up that comes before it. One such addition was orange and red and yellow potted plants purchased to decorate the doorways. Jean whispered to me, “We might want to help ourselves to those potted plants. It’s a kindness because they forget to water them.” So one week after Open House, the Circle Garden sported an instant array of autumn color. The best kept secret at Wesley Homes – something not a single marketing person mentioned – is Wednesday night entertainment. To name some of the great entertainment here, we’ve had a brass band, the famous Boeing choir, a fifties radio presentation, an authentic cosmonaut and a swing band on a real dance floor. A creative committee works to make sure Wednesday nights at The Terrace are continually engaging. To reintroduce the residents, the first Wednesday in September was to be Skit Night. Each floor had to put on some sort of homegrown form of retirement community showbiz. I love skits, performing in them and writing them, but I didn’t know how to volunteer. Where could I raise my hand and wave, “Take me, take me!”? I resigned myself to simply attend and observe. Then I saw the imposing auditorium: upholstered chairs that match, chandeliers and carpeting. How could I go in there alone? I wouldn’t know where to sit and even worse, who could I sit with? Then, while I waited for an elevator, a lady (at the time I only knew the names of four people) asked, “Pat, would you be willing to be a part of the skit for our floor?” I said “Yes.” Inside I said, yes, yes, yes, yes! I was to play an old lady (how’s that for typecasting?) who hobbled to the front on a cane and delivered a one liner. The whole skit was too corny, including my role, to remember, but here is the good part: the players in the skit had to sit together. What a great way to meet more people! Next Thursday: Smokey and I Cause a Little Trouble

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