Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Life at Redstone

Our first blog entry was written prior to the outbreak of the COVID-19 epidemic in the United States.  We decided it might be nice to share some non-virus thoughts with you for a change.

Life at Redstone

How do you capture a feeling, a spirit, the essence of moments lived with just mere words?  Working at Redstone for more than 18 years I’ve often wondered how best to capture the beauty of the many moments I’ve witnessed here.  Some might just call them the stuff that everyday lives are made up of, I call them sacred. The love, the joy, the laughter, the challenges, the heartbreak, experienced as a community, to me each is sacred.

We’ve invited residents, family members, staff, volunteers, anyone who has a Redstone experience to help us capture the essence of Redstone by sharing their experiences from their own unique perspective. 

Redstone resident and friend, Ed, kicks off our new blog platform with what I hope will be a series of contributions.  When I asked Ed for a short bio, he gave me a variety of options.  I loved them all and rather than just pick one, have chosen to share them all with you.

Ed is a professor emeritus of the University of Pittsburgh.  Ed is Pennsylvania Deutschmann whose family came to North America in 1710. Ed is a descendent of an infant who was the only survivor of an Indian massacre on the Pennsylvania frontier on November 16, 1755.  Ed is from a family on whose farm General Robert E. Lee camped a few nights before he reached Gettysburg.  Ed still has the Confederate money with which the southern army “paid” for the items on the farm which the family says they stole.

If you have an experience you’d like to share, please contact me at
Linda Dickson is the Director of Community Relations at Redstone

Capturing the Redstone Spirit!

How do your capture a spirit?  Is it contagious? Is it a divine gift?  Is it learned?  Is it an inoculation?  Perhaps, but in reality, it is much simpler and personal than all of that.

We have experienced a spirit at Redstone.  It is an aura; it is in the atmosphere; it may be in the water as the saying goes; it surrounds Redstone residents so subtly and completely that it often goes unremarked.  Indeed, it is remarkable because it is so natural and low-key.  It is the unexpected invitation; the genuine compliment; the perfectly natural helping hand with a difficult task; the bedside visit; the meal appearing just when needed; the genuine comfort and heart-felt caring at a time of grief; a ride to an appointment; a stimulating conversation about a book, TV show, movie, play or concert; sharing family stories; outings together; an array of professional support services available when needed; laughter and tears; and it is much more.  It resembles a family.  It is a closely-knit community of mutual respect, caring, and comfort.  All of us have had these experiences in the families or the neighborhoods from which we came.  What is remarkable is the fact that this spirit of mutual support, caring, community and even family has taken root so deeply in a place where it would be very easy for people to be lonely, isolated by illness or disability, and ignored, unable to participate or unable to use their gifts to contribute to others.

Some residents feared the loss of old friends and neighbors would be irreplaceable.  Others have commented that the spirit and experience at Redstone is far more real than their old neighborhood where they lived for 50 years.  Of course, everyone’s experience is different, but the spirit is alive and well among us.

The Vegetable Men

A small group of male Redstone residents participate in a weekly prayer breakfast at a local church.  Another Redstone resident operates a food pantry that occasionally has excess fresh produce.  The guys in the prayer group take the extra produce for distribution at the church’s food pantry.  The motto: “Nothing goes to waste.”

That’s the Redstone Spirit.

Happy Birthday Dog

Several years ago, a Redstone resident (a 90-year-old who still puts out a large garden from which he shares with his happy neighbors), received a birthday card from one of his grandchildren.  When opened, a dog in the card (with a hidden battery) very cleverly barks the traditional “Happy Birthday” song.  The resident enjoys the card so much that he keeps it and opens it for the dog to bark “Happy Birthday” every time one of his neighbors or friends has a birthday.  Everyone has come to expect the serenade, and everyone loves it.

That’s the Redstone Spirit. 

Retired! Are you Crazy?

Church organist, substitute pet sitter, Sunday School teacher, hospice volunteer, generous photography expert, league bowlers, food pantry volunteers, volunteer church workers, political campaign volunteers, Bridge players, back-up grandchild, and great-grandchild babysitters, not-for-profit organization board members, voluntary organization leaders, band and orchestra members, chorus members, bell choir ringers, expert gardeners, university archivist, and many more.  These are just a sample of the activities in which Redstone residents engage for fun, for the benefit of the larger community, and to keep as mentally and physically fit as possible.  They may be retired from regular employment or homemaking, but not from life.

That’s the Redstone Spirit.