Letter from a Kendal at Oberlin Resident

BenchWritten by a Kendal at Oberlin resident, this letter to CEO Barbara Thomas offers a glimpse into what makes Kendal a unique retirement community. She mentions numerous activities at Kendal that have allowed her to continue to grow and learn. The author has chosen to remain anonymous. 

May 7, 2014

Dear Barbara: I just have to stop and express a word of thankfulness for this remarkably re-creating Kendal at Oberlin where I am privileged to live. It will come as no surprise to you if I tell you – once again – that moving here was one of the best decisions I have made. Now that I have lived here for nine years, I have a more solid recall my early days working with Publicity Plugs, which culminated in a trip to Chicago with you, Stacy and Nancy — and Eva, and which burgeoned into an ongoing friendship with Nate and Eva. Living at Kendal has given me a group of resident women (and a dedicated, engaged Carol Tufts) to write with. And then it led me to EUREKA!, which provides a medium to see some of my poems and prose come alive in print. Kendal and Michele Tarsitano-Amato introduced me to Leading Age and its yearly Arts and Writing Resident Forum, which gave me the chance to pit my poetry and prose against the prose and poetry of other senior writers in Ohio. Now, having won first place in both categories, I’ve been motivated to encourage my colleagues who live here to submit their art work and writings to this public scrutiny. We Kendalites have done very well both at the regional and state level, because there are some remarkably talented folks living and writing here. Living at Kendal allowed me to get to know some Oberlin College students as they developed Fearless and Loathing, the alternate internet newspaper to the Oberlin Review. I still keep up with those founders who have graduated, and I keep meeting newer campus reporters and writers. I have been able to get to know several Kendal staff members through the joint Safety Committee, and to value the observation, thought and experience which the staff brings to their responsibilities. And living at Kendal has given me the opportunity to sit on my sunny patio and re-evaluate what I need in order for me to keep on growing and transforming, up to my very last days. I’ve become aware of this opportunity during some brief hours I’ve spent with Jill Connone, working, with her thoughtful prodding, on my version of the Vitalize 360 evaluation outline. It may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it surely has been mine. It has provided a chance for me to look at myself and to add up where I am right now, much as I would a long list of expenses, and to determine whether I have the spiritual, emotional, intellectual, and physical budget to meet those “expenditures.” This self-assessment has become as valuable in its way as the financial budget which I project at the beginning of each year. I have cherished these few hours with Jill, who has become not just another helpful staff person, but a caring colleague in our exploration of my goals and objectives. Her thoughtful insights have helped me expand some of the paths by which to reach my goals. She promises that we will keep in periodic touch, and we will together see whether my plan keeps me in the right (what I like to call) “Benedictine Balance.” The miracle of Kendal at Oberlin doesn’t happen without thoughtful administration, creative planning and empowered staff. Barbara, thank you, too, for your vital part in this extraordinary community.

Fondly, with gratitude,