Seniors sweet on Valentine’s Day Tea
By Karen Caffarini Post-Tribune correspondent February 27, 2013 4:24PM
Merrillville Clerk-Treasurer Gene Guernsey hands a door prize to Evelyn Martin while accepting her ticket for the Valentines Tea for Seniors, sponsored by the Merrillville Senior Center. Mary Mills looks on at left. | Andy Lavalley~Sun-Times Media
Updated: March 4, 2013 8:34AM
Bertha Bearby recalled rolling up the carpet and dancing the jitterbug in her house when she was young.
The fun times came back to Bearby on Valentine’s Day as she listened to oldies music spun by Jukebox Johnny during Merrillville Senior Services’ first St. Valentine’s Day Tea at the Slovak Club.
“This is lovely,” said her sister, Laura Schilling, who wore a pink scarf with red hearts for the occasion. “They always do such a good job.”
Bearby and Schilling were among the more than 100 people who attended the free event, which also offered seniors lunch, tea and entertainment by cowboy Cal Starr and singer Lori London, whose vocals are similar to country legend Patsy Cline.
Maris Mills, Evelyn Martin and Mina Haviland, all residents in the American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association apartments, hopped in Martin’s van to get to the tea and luncheon.
“Oh yes, we do enjoy this,” said Martin as she ate a sandwich and listened to the music.
Mills said she was thrilled to learn that Cal Starr would be part of the entertainment lineup, saying she has known him for awhile.
“And I love Patsy Cline, too,” Mills added.
Councilwoman Carol Miano, D-3rd, and director of the town’s senior services, said the event was made possible with the help of volunteers and donations by a number of area businesses, town and county officials and others.
“We wanted people to come happy, healthy and hungry,” said Miano, who made all the sandwiches.
She received a round of applause when she told the attendees that the town would soon be getting its first senior center, located on the second floor of Christian Home Health Services, on U.S. 30, just west of Whitcomb Street.
Miano had a blueprint of the second floor, which she said would include a media room, infirmary in case someone became ill or needed to rest, chapel and nurses, physical therapists and other healthcare workers on site.
But the seniors at the tea had more fun activities in mind.
“How about bingo,” called out one. “And dancing,” said another.
In fact, Len Madsen, who came to the event with a group consisting of fellow Brookstone Estates condominium residents, was all for pushing the tables aside after lunch so people could dance to the music.
“This is great. Good food, good stuff and good friends,” Madsen said.