By Frances Richey—Friendsview resident
One of the things that attracted me to moving to the fifth floor Manor at Friendsview in 2013 was having George Fox University conveniently located across the street. Having taught for thirty-six years, I consider myself a life-long learner and looked forward to attending lectures on the campus as well as taking classes.
That opportunity arose in January, 2018. Dr. Melanie Springer Mock was offering a Creative Nonfiction class and she gave me permission to audit it. Little did I know how much I would learn about writing during this four-month class while at the same time enjoying interaction with Dr. Mock’s lively undergraduate students.
After writing an assignment, we were divided into groups of three and we would “peer edit” each other’s pieces. This was a wonderful way for me to interact with these young people. I worried I might seem like an “old fogey” to them, but they accepted me lovingly and we laughed a lot and enjoyed each other’s perspective.
The most fun was when we chose memoirs to read. I suggested Trevor Noah’s Born a Crime, Suki Kim’s Without You There is No Us and Anne Fadiman’s The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down. The students suggested Tina Fey’s Bossypants. What surprised me was that the students were willing to read the books I suggested and they greatly enjoyed them. And what surprised me even more was admitting to them I would have NEVER read Bossypants unless they had suggested it. I barely knew who Tina Fey was. We had some wonderful discussions and editing sessions during the entire semester.
When May came, I was delighted one of the seniors in my small group invited me to graduation and I had the opportunity to meet her parents and siblings. What a wonderful connection I had made!
Spending time with these students for that semester broadened my life in many ways. The fact they so readily accepted me and looked forward to spending time with me was heartwarming. I definitely enjoyed meeting them.
But that is not the end of the story.
A year later, over coffee with Dr. Mock (Melanie) in Chapter’s bookstore downtown, she and I were brainstorming about having one of her classes come to Friendsview to interview some residents. Thus, was born the idea of her Journalism class meeting residents and interviewing them in the Auditorium. There I met a lovely junior named Audrey who interviewed me. I asked her if she would mind if I interviewed her as well and I would also write an article about her. She agreed and a new friendship was born.
A while later, while lunching at The Newbergundian restaurant, who should wait on my table, but Audrey. It was like “Old Home Week” and each and every time I ate there, I would hope to see her so we could get a chance to talk. She has since graduated and I wish her well.
Presently, I am part of a 10-week research project in the Physical Therapy Department in the new building out by our Springbrook Meadows neighborhood. The study is called “Effect of perturbation-based balance training in addition to a student-led evidence-based fall prevention program on fall risk and fear of falls in community-dwelling older adults (Principal Investigator: Lyndsay Stutzenberger, PT, DPT, PhD).” They are interested in balance exercises to mitigate the risk of falling. I enjoy getting to know the wonderful second year doctoral students that help us learn these exercises every Monday and Friday from 2:45 – 4 pm. I am also doing the exercises at home on two other days.
There are many opportunities for residents to interact with George Fox undergrads and physical therapy students. I, for one, will continue to enjoy their youthful exuberance, perspective, and expertise. They will help me stay young at heart.