Fellowship and food attract members to Manchester club Group has met for 25 years CARROLL COUNTY SENIORS

September 15, 1993|By Katherine Richards | Katherine Richards,Staff Writer

A dollar a year is not a bad price for good fellowship.

That's the cost of dues for the Manchester Senior Citizens' Club, which has 100 active members who meet the second Tuesday each month in the Immanuel Lutheran Church to talk, eat and enjoy good company.

They play bingo or cards. Occasionally they hold an auction. On Oct. 13, they plan to take a bus trip to Hershey Farms in Pennsylvania.

Club president Eleanor Myers said the group has met for more than 25 years. Its themes, she said, are fellowship and food.

"Where there's food, there's seniors, and where there's seniors, there's food," Mrs. Myers said.

It's a do-it-yourself organization. Members bring a sack lunch. They pass a plate for donations for the fuel oil bill. Volunteers set up the tables and chairs. A volunteer committee makes coffee and cake.

Yesterday, members listened to a talk on financial planning for the elderly.

They sang "Happy Anniversary" to Miriam and George Therit, who celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary Sept. 3.

They also sang "Happy Birthday" to five members who sat at a "birthday table" to be honored for their September birthdays.

One was Ruth Riley, of Manchester, who will be 87 tomorrow. She said she has been a member of the club since 1974.

Her late husband, John, started the birthday table tradition when he was club president for two years. Back then, Mrs. Riley said, "I always baked the birthday cake, every time we had a meeting."

She said she has always looked forward to meetings, "because it's people you know."

Mrs. Riley said, "I've lived right within three miles of it ever since I was born."

Years ago, she said, she and her husband courted outside the church, sitting on the bench under the oak tree that club members have dubbed "the courting tree." It is the same tree featured on the Manchester town seal.

"A lot of people used to do their courting there," she said, and they played croquet on ground nearby that has since been added to the cemetery.

The attraction of the club, Mrs. Riley said, is friendship.

Those seniors who want to take ceramics or crafts classes, she said, can go to the senior citizens center in Greenmount.

"This group is not for that," she said. "At our ages, who wants to make all that stuff? What are we going to do with it?"

The Manchester Senior Citizens' club has made some concessions to time. For example, the yearly club picnic is now indoors, instead of at Christmas Tree Park, because of some members' limited mobility.

Also, membership has gradually declined.

"Last year, we had 11 people to die in one year," Mrs. Myers said.

About 50 members attended yesterday's meeting, compared with past years when more than 100 people would attend.

Now, some members come with their children, themselves seniors.

"We come every month," said Janette Hoffman, 69, who has come with her mother, Rose Quinley, 92.

"I enjoy being with other seniors," Ms. Hoffman said. "I enjoy the fellowship."

Besides, she said, "A lot of the people here inspire me."

Ms. Hoffman said when she reaches their age, "I hope I'm as lively."

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