Baby boomer is excited about adventure of getting older

Dianne Garrett receives her Whitehall Senior Center membership card from President Richard Kocher December 21 after turning 55. She is looking forward to taking part in the many activities the center offers.

Grabbing onto life is what I do, and have done ever since I was a happy little toddler.  At ten months old I just stood up and ran…right into a wall, but I think it set the tone how I would tackle life’s future challenges.  

My folks said that I didn’t even try to walk first.  When I learned to swim, I was a little afraid, so I wouldn’t let my dad take me to the deep end for a very long time.  One day we went to the pool, and I told him to take me out there.  I’ve swam like a fish ever since.

In past columns I’ve shared with you how I never let negative or hateful people get to me.  I see them as annoying, and turn a deaf ear.  Being a happy person with a strong belief in a higher power has seen me through many things, including my own bout with cancer two years ago.

Many people fear turning 30, 40 or 50.  I embraced each of those milestones realizing I had more self-confidence, knowledge and common sense with each passing year.  

When I hit 50 I was eligible for AARP membership.  Hey, the discounts offered are great, their magazine rocks, an I am one of those baby boomers who apparently is doing it right, according the statistics.  Good to know!

Well, a few weeks ago I turned double nickels, and I don’t feel any worse for the wear.  I’ve simply hit another milestone – I am eligibile to join the local senior center.  

I would have joined on my birthday if I had time, but I was really busy reporting about all the holiday happenings around town.  

On December 21 my husband, Jack, and I marched ourselves over to the Whitehall Senior Center to pay our dues.  I’ve written articles about the center and its lovely folks for years, making many friends.  So to say I was excited to be able to officially be a part of their special group would be an understatement.

I think we all have a little fear of getting older, and what we may face as our bodies start giving us some trouble.  We make our retirement plans, and hope we will be able to see them through.  

My paternal grandmother always told me, "There’s nothing wrong with getting older.  It’s just inconvenient sometimes."  

As my great-aunt and uncle were celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary and cutting cake a few days before their actual anniversary, one of my cousins asked, "So what are you two going to do on your anniversary?"  

Uncle Harold grinned his ornery grin, and responded, "Either leave for Florida, or go to the doctor, whichever we feel like when we get up that day."  

It made us all laugh in the way he intended.  But it’s true, and if we are lucky to live as long as Uncle Harold did, we will hopefully have the luxury of getting up each morning, and deciding if we want to head to Florida that day because we can.  

Or, maybe we will just make some coffee and a little breakfast to enjoy on the porch and listen to birds singing.

I opt to live like Uncle Harold.  When my Aunt Opal died, all the neighbor ladies and friends from the senior center in his town were always there for him.  And, for what it’s worth, he lived well into his 90s, still enjoying many of his summer mornings on the golf course with reporters chasing after him to do stories for the local paper.  

Yep, I want to be just like that, minus the golf and those pesky reporters.



Whitehall Senior Center is a hopping place for active seniors.  They are planning trips to see "Menopause — The Musical" January 23.   They are offering the opportunity to travel to Branson, Missouri for a Branson Show Extravaganza September 14-20.  Cost is $595 (double occupancy); $75 is due when signing up, with final payment due July 3, 2008.    In 2007 the center received a $5,000 grant that paid for several bus trips.

Anyone who is 55 and older, and a Whitehall resident can join the center for $10/year.  It is located at 4924 Etna Road, or call 501-8593


Monthly activities include:

Mondays:    10 a.m. Arts and Crafts

                    6 p.m. Volleyball and Pool


Tuesdays:    10 a.m Exercise

                    10:30 a.m. Line Dance    

                     4 p.m. Ceramics

                      6 p.m. Chickenfoot


Wednesdays:    10 a.m. Women’s Pool

                        5 p.m. Shuffleboard


First three Fridays of the month:  10 a.m. Exercise

                                                 10:30 a.m. Line Dance

                                                  6 p.m. Euchre


Fourth Friday  All the same except 6 p.m. Poker instead of Euchre


Thursday 1/17       6 p.m. Fun and Games

               1/24       6 p.m. Bingo

               1/31       6 p.m. Fun and Games


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