The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, October 3, 2008


Help the COA improve quality of life for seniors

Did you know that 18% of Carlisle’s population is made up of seniors, townspeople over the age of 60? As reported at the Livable Carlisle Community meetings in 2007 and 2008, their numbers have been growing in recent years.

After reading Kerry Kissinger’s Forum piece “There’s no place like it” in last week’s Mosquito, in which he writes about the Friends of the Carlisle Council on Aging (COA) who raise money that goes directly to those in need, I recalled a recent meeting that I had with the COA.

As a member of the Board of Directors of Timothy Wheeler House, Concord Home for the Aged, I met with the COA staff – Kathy Mull and Angela Smith, Chairman of the Friends of the COA Alan Cameron, and former Chair Estelle Keast. I was there to learn how past Timothy Wheeler House contributions to the COA had been used in Carlisle. In part because of the country’s credit crisis, Timothy Wheeler House is being squeezed financially and needs to make sure its community contributions are being spent wisely.

I learned first that the town pays most of the staff salaries, which go to Director Kathy Mull, Outreach Coordinator Angela M. Smith, Transportation Coordinator Carol Killpartrick, and a part-time social worker.

Friends of the Carlisle Council on Aging (Friends) receives funding from several charitable organizations like Timothy Wheeler House, but mainly from donations made by townspeople. The Friends will be sending out letters in December seeking funds to support the many programs that Carlisle seniors depend upon.

More than 300 seniors and their families are involved with the COA in one way or another. Friends of the COA have provided funding for fuel assistance and food certificates for qualified families; a Wellness Program that includes strength training, line dancing, exercise classes, blood-pressure clinics and a very successful, six-times-a-year podiatry clinic; medical equipment and medication for those who cannot pay; all sorts of social events including monthly breakfasts and lunches, trips to museums and theatres; and maintenance of the COA van. Last year, the Friends donated $3,136 for the COA to assist ten seniors with fuel costs. With the rising cost of heating oil, one wonders how many more seniors will find it difficult to heat their homes this winter.

Many of those seniors include families who bought their homes in Carlisle in the 1960s and ‘70s; others who have moved to town to be closer to their children, living at Carlisle Village Court on Church Street, Malcolm Meadows on Stearns Street or in their children’s homes. These are the people who want to remain in town. It is the Carlisle COA, with donations to Friends of the COA, that helps those seniors avoid having to move out of town.

Look for the request for support for the Carlisle Council on Aging, coming in the mail at the beginning of December, or make your tax-deductible contributions now to the Friends of the COA, P.O. Box 38, Carlisle, MA 01741.

A good subject is hard to find

A hot and sleepy summer day, 2008. I awoke about 5 p.m. after a nap, which had followed a hard morning making firewood. Dazed and languid, I sat staring through our windows at the woods around our house, shot through with slanting gold light in depths of green. My sophomore, Dixie, plomped down on the sofa opposite. “I’m trying to think of a Forum topic,” I told her. “I’m joining the Forum in the fall.”

“Write about books,” she suggested.

“It’s supposed to be about Carlisle,” I said.

“Really? I thought it was just an opportunity to write weird things.” “Nope.” She lost interest. “You know,” she said, “at the library I found one book with a check in it. I couldn’t read it - I gave it to the librarian – she knew who it was.” Probably did, I thought.

Carlisle, Carlisle . . . what could I write about Carlisle? I thought back on the day, looking for a thread. After lumberjacking, I took out the trash, noting on the way that new people had moved into Nick and Ann’s house and I should go over with a loaf of bread and a bottle of wine to say hi. At the Transfer Station, I saw my neighbor Margo and snooped for books in the swap shed. Nothing much to write about there. Deserted by the Muse, I started brooding about life’s unfair tradeoffs. If I whomped down another tree Sunday morning while it was still cool, I wouldn’t be able to go to the summer service at FRS. I kind of felt like walking that great new pathway down to Ferns, but I had a standing invite from Annette and John to drop by for coffee if I strolled by in the morning, so I’d rather do it then. Then too, I liked walking through Conant Land and coming out past Vivian’s memorial and the Town Hall. Thursday we would go see my mother-in-law but then get back too late on Saturday for the Farmers Market at Kimball’s. Thinking of which, this would be a fine day to take the girls down there to snork up those vast servings they humorously call a “Small.”

I went out on the deck. I pinched buds off my potted basil plants (I love pesto) and reflected that this, like many things, I did because my wife Phyllis said one should, and I couldn’t remember the reason. The grapes were, as ever, sprawling enthusiastically down from the arbor as though trying to root themselves all around it. Below them, if mint were biomass, I’d be OPEC. The rhubarb looked great and I made a note to take some over to John and Ann. They like it.

Miranda needed to vac the basement – she and her friend Amanda held a joint birthday party ten years ago and this Saturday night would be a reprise down there. The sun came now through the lowest trunks and I was still drawing a complete blank. Carlisle, Carlisle . . .



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© 2008 The Carlisle Mosquito