New senior center already a busy place


November 08, 1999|By Douglas Lamborne | Douglas Lamborne,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

THE ANNAPOLIS Senior Center opens officially tomorrow with the sort of hubbub appropriate to the occasion. Even before the speechifying begins, there are signs that it is going to be a tremendously popular place.

In line with national trends, the number of people ages 55 and older in Anne Arundel is expected to approach 30 percent of the population by the year 2020, according to the county's Department of Aging. South County Senior Center in Edgewater, not a decade old, is jammed with some 2,000 regular participants, said Shirley Miller, the assistant director. Miller said the place is so busy that some programs overflow into the library next door.

The Annapolis center, in the Eastport Shopping Center, is supposed to be temporary, in place for three to five years during construction of a center at the old Bates High School.

Director Ed Casey said his complex contains about 4,000 square feet. He said the city put up $80,000 to prepare the site and that the county will run it.

Although smaller than the other centers in Arnold, Odenton, Glen Burnie and Edgewater, Annapolis offers an impressive array of programs. On Tuesday, seniors started signing up for membership (a $10 fee) and for classes in woodcarving, aerobics, sewing, knitting and much more, including something called "D.C. Style of Swing."

Anne Arundel Community College's Office of Life-Long Learning sponsors many of these classes. Helen Carter of Annapolis was there for the sewing class. Her first impression of the new center? "It's close to home. It's better than I thought it was."

Her friend, Jean Sellman, also of Annapolis, concurred. "I'm here for the sewing, the exercise and to play cards," she said.

The Department of Aging runs a van service for the disabled and those who no longer drive. More significant, Casey said, are programs that address medical problems. Lunches are available. Dorothy Savia of Parole, who will be 81 this month, works at the lunches as a paid senior aide. She has no shortage of experience. "I was the seafood cook at Pirate's Cove," she said of the Galesville restaurant. "I did a little bit of everything there."

She has been busy most of her life: "I raised eight children, 35 grandchildren and 49 great-grandchildren."

She likes the buzz, the activity in the center, a view shared by others.

"I'm not really lonely at home," said Carter, "but I like to be where people are. Like in this place."

Author, author, author!

Three writers, including the author of a popular book about life on the Chesapeake Bay, will bring local color to the "Meet the Authors" program at 4 p.m. Sunday in the Conversation Room at St. John's College. William Warner's "Beautiful Swimmers," published in 1976, has evolved over the years into something of holy writ about blue crabs and those who go after them. He will discuss his most recent book, "Into the Porcupine Cave and Other Odysseys," essays on nature.

Marcia Talley will discuss her Hannah Ives series of mystery books. An Annapolis resident, she uses parts of Anne Arundel County as settings for her murder mysteries. The first of the series, "Sing It to Her Bones," won the Malice Domestic Grant in 1998.

William Martin, whose bibliography includes a book titled "Annapolis," will speak of his most recent work, "Citizen Washington: A Novel." The book is about our first president, who did, indeed, sleep in Annapolis.

The program will benefit St. John's Caritas Society, which maintains a program to assist students who encounter financial hardships.

Information: 410-626-2539.

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