A group of seniors at Shaftesbury Retirement Residence in Winnipeg have formed a Poet’s Society. In Part 2 of this series, we meet Evelyn Perlman, Elaine Wiseman and Dr. Leonard Kahane.
Evelyn Perlman was one of the first members of the Poet’s Society. She can be counted on to attend, contribute poetry and add enthusiasm and a positive message at every session.
Her natural interest in life-long learning, especially writing and reading, led Evelyn to join this group.
Assuming a leadership role came naturally to Evelyn. In earlier years she served several Jewish organizations, including the Combined Jewish Appeal, which raises funds to support a variety of community charitable activities.
I was born in a very small town, Kipling, Saskatchewan,” says Evelyn.
“After high school I earned a Bachelor of Arts degree and began a career as a Social Worker, before marriage to my husband, a family doctor. We were living in Alberta when the opportunity arose for my husband to take over his uncle’s medical practice in the north end of Winnipeg. Here we raised three daughters and became involved in our new community.”
After her husband’s death, a back injury and mobility concerns made The Shaftesbury Retirement Residence a good choice for Evelyn. She enjoys the stimulating activities and friendships she has found in her new home, especially in the Poet’s Society.
Dr. Leonard Kahane is a retired dentist who has lived at The Shaftesbury for about five months. In his earlier years, besides his dental practice, Leonard was passionate about athletics and being on the water. He had a yacht that he kept on Lake Winnipeg and later near Kenora.
His adventuresome spirit is kept active these days through involvement in the Poet’s Society.
“They keep you pretty busy here. There’s a lot to do and wonderful people. I think I made a good choice,” says Leonard whose curiosity brought him to the Poet’s Society.
“It was not just the poetry though; it is creative expression in English. The Society also gives me the ability to enjoy what others have to say.”
Leonard was the first man to attend the Society. Since then many more men have followed Leonard’s lead.
An active participant and writer, Leonard always tries to write a fresh poem to contribute.
Before the end of each meeting Poet’s Society members choose a theme to write a poem about for the next session. Leonard found himself wanting to join in but didn’t know the theme that week. Not to be deterred, he wrote a little poem, off the top of his head to share:
“Without a theme, how can this poem make any sense?
It would, for an observer, seem pure non-sense.
To make amends and please those who truly care,
Kindly accept these words that have no flare.”
Leonard’s son, Jim, from Toronto attended the Poet’s Society recently during a visit and readily joined in, contributing a poem of his own.
Elaine Wiseman, a mother of four grown sons, has been a creative artist all her life.
After obtaining a degree in Fine Arts many years ago, Elaine worked in studios with other artists. Together they exhibited their work in Art Shows.
Due to failing eyesight, Elaine is no longer able to paint the way she wants to.
She is grateful for her iPad, which she uses for her art work nowadays.
When she moved to The Shaftesbury a year and a half ago, Elaine began looking for new ways to continue expressing her creativity.
“I was looking for a program that would be stimulating and which would challenge my creativity,” Elaine says. “I need something that can help me express myself, work on and think about.”
The Poet’s Society fills this purpose and Elaine would like to encourage other seniors to become involved in creative arts.
“It is good for seniors, in particular, to do something creative. It could be poetry, sculpture, art – it really doesn’t matter. Everybody can do something. They would blossom. It has been good for me.”
© Shona Davidson and Joanne Klassen