Elder Speak: Connecting Generations
On Grandparent’s Day, September 10, 2017, come to Snowy Owl from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. for another delightful and inspiring Elder Speak program. This is a multifaceted event featuring the introduction of each Elder, a 10 minute sharing from them about their life experience, and an open period for your questions. The Ripple Foundation has invited Patty Christensen, Pat Rutledge, Carl Campbell and Jana Sparks to share their experiences as elders on this year's theme: wisdom.
Elder Speak was created to foster a positive connection between Elders and younger generations. Elders have the opportunity to share their wisdom and realize their own value in society. They are heard, honored and supported as they share their unique life experience. By bringing together different generations, members of each generation have the opportunity to be seen as distinct individuals, far beyond the stereotype we often project onto those with whom we are unfamiliar.
On Grandparent’s Day 2015 we celebrated our first Elder Speak. We spent an afternoon with five local North Central Washington Elders, who shared their stories and wisdom in a gathering of many generations. Supported by art, film, oral history, and discussions, we began with honoring the value that each generation has to offer. Everyone has value and every life matters. Our Elders have lived experiences in different times that offer younger generations a chance to ponder a different way of looking at the present day. We explored this opportunity to get to know our Elders and deepen community.
In daily life, we invite everyone to take the opportunity to honor, share and reflect on the experiences of our Grandmothers and Grandfathers. Ask questions for which you long for an answer or understanding. Every generation’s experience contains immeasurable value, so bring your own experiences with you, too. How have Elders in your life affected you? We invite you to share your stories.
After the program, there is an opportunity for further mingling and conversation with the Elders in the lobby as we conclude the evening with wine and hors d'oeuvres.
We invite you to join us. Refreshments and admission are by donation. Proceeds benefit Mountain Meadows Senior Living Facility in Leavenworth and The Ripple Foundation.
Meet the four Elders participating in the 2017 Elder Speak:
Carl Campbell was born in Yakima, Washington, during the Great Depression. He learned compassion for the needs of others during this time. When his father lost the family ranch during this time and worked hard to provide for the family, Carl learned to admire a strong work ethic. His desire to enrich the lives of the elderly came from his grandmother, who lived with his family for many years. With his wife, Betty, Carl opened Parkside nursing home in 1954 and today has either built or acquired more than 180 centers in 21 states. At 95, Carl has recently retired.
Born in Leavenworth, WA l933. Lived in the Wenatchee Valley attended schools in Sunnyslope, Cashmere, graduating from Wenatchee High School in 1951.
Married school sweetheart ….moved to Tacoma, WA and worked to help husband attend and graduate from Pacific Lutheran College in l955. Moved back to the valley and established our home in E. Wenatchee as my husband and his family opened Curtis Thriftway in May of 1956. We became very active in the community through the Junior Chamber of Commerce organization.
At that time E. Wenatchee was growing rapidly and the Eastmont High School was formed. The first graduating class was 1958. I was involved with other J. Chamber wives in many school projects.
We have four children, (3 girls and one boy) and this ledd to many opportunities to be help with Girl Scouts, Camp Fire, Little League…..Dance classes, High School Band, Choir; and active church participation. It was a pleasure to assist friends and family as we supported Husband, Bob Curtis in successfully campaign and serve in the 12th Legislative District for Wash. State in l968 thru l976. This was a very interesting time and we met many new and interesting people throughout the District and State of Washington. The marriage failed and we were divorced in l977. But the Family survived and we are all friends. I then found myself looking for employment…..as I had been the “stay at home” wife. I worked at the school as a teachers-aid and in the County offices and then as an office supervisor for Robert W Belt and company, a small wholesale company.
In Sept of l981 I married Pete Christensen who brought love and humor back to my life. We were able to enjoy 26 years together before his death in 2007. We travel with RVs around the U.S. and made many happy memories.
In 1991 while out of town on a bus tour I became ill and had emergency surgery at which time I suffered a stroke. I then was transported to Leavenworth Rehab and after 4 weeks and excellent therapy I returned home. My husband Pete followed the prescribed continued at home therapy and he was a relentless coach, for which I am very thankful.
To God and all who prayed for this healing I am humbled. I’ve had the opportunity to travel to enjoy the 6 Grandchildren and families….
Patricia (Pat) Rutledge was born in New York City in 1944 and lived there for twenty years. She graduated from Molloy College, having attended William and Mary and taken Journalism courses at Columbia University. Pat married and had her first son in Honolulu, Hawaii and a second son in Williamsburg, Virginia before settling in the Hudson Valley, birthplace of three more sons and a daughter. She was a stay-at-home mom for much of that time. Later she became executive editor for seven trade magazines. She moved to Leavenworth in 1991 and fulfilled a lifelong dream in 1992 when she opened her bookstore, A Book for All Seasons. Pat has volunteered on many boards in the Leavenworth community and in 2009 was the Leavenworth Royal Lady. She also owns Eagle Creek Winery with her husband Ed.
Johanna (Jana) Sparks was born a twin in Seattle on March 3, 1934. She studied at Washington State for two years then married and had three boys. In 1974, she finished her studies at the University of Washington, graduating with a BA and MFA. For many years, Jana taught in France and Germany. In 1989 she returned to the United States and has lived in Leavenworth full time since 2003. She is a certified CNA and to this day cares for Elders who need support. Jana continues her art through drawing, sculpting and potting.
To view our elders from previous years, click here.
The Ripple Foundation is grateful for the following sponsors who made Elder Speak 2017 a success:
Icicle Center for the Arts
Snowy Owl Theatre
7409 Icicle Road