Thursday, June 30, 2011

Oaknoll's Crabapple Tree

by Sam Becker

I sit in your courtyard
An ever-changing life- an ever-changing show,
Reminding you of all lives' constant flow.

In spring I don a colorful cloak
To brighten and cheer your days,
To show the beauty of life's ways.

In summer I turn a mass of green; lo,
A shelter for birds within,
And shade for Oaknollians below.

In fall new colors show
Tan and orange and brown.
Slowly, my leaves drift down.

In winter I stand and gaunt and bare,
Arms stretched out as though in prayer.

Like you, I need some time to rest.

But then spring comes again,
I waken, return to life refreshed.
God-blessed by sun and rain,

The cycle starts again.

Monday, June 27, 2011

The Books of My Childhood

By Kay Green (excerpt from her memoirs)

I have been a reader ever since my early childhood. Plus, my mother read aloud often. I have felt sorry that many of the so-called "series" books have disappeared from current usage. I know that many of today's children's books stir the imagination.

My childhood favorites often taught history or geography or good moral values. Of course, Elsie Dinsmore was a stupidly moral tale which I could not stand.

One of the earliest ones I remember was Honey Bunch, Her First Trip on the Great Lakes (geography, even though the book wasn't too marvelous, I learned all about the five lakes).

Then there were the Twin books. I still have a copy of The Dutch Twins somewhere. The Belgian Twins depicted a child's view of some of the effects of World War I on the village where they lived.

Then we pick up some of the little maid books: The Little Maid of Old New York, Old Ft.The Little Maid of  Ticonderoga, and The Little Maid of Old Boston, give pictures of a child's view of events in the American revolution.

One of my favorites was The Little Colonel's House Party, which tells the story of a young girl's invitations to three friends to come for a month's visit in the home of the Little Colonel in Kentucky. The girls represent wealth, poverty but goodness, and a middle class artistic young lady from Kansas.

This story has some good sound moral values involved. One I remember was where Elizabeth had promised her godmother that she would mail a letter that must get on the evening train. They were all going to a picnic where games and fun were to be a part of the evening.

In the midst of the fun, Elizabeth remembers the letter in her pocket she had promised to mail. Slipping away quietly, she climbed on her horse to ride to the railroad station in the dark of night fearful of any who might accost her. The train whistled in the distance as she arrived at the station. The postmistress unlocked the mail bag and accepted the letter. Here was a clear example of a promise that must be kept.

Some other favorites were Heidi and A Little Princess. The latter tells the story of a child of a wealthy family whose mother is dead and whose father was somewhere in India. Her father had placed her in a private school where she was welcomed by Miss Minchen. When her father had apparently died, and her fortune was lost, all her luxuries were gone and she was reduced to the role of scullery maid and given a room in the attic.

My mom read aloud books like The Swiss Family Robinson and Robinson Crusoe. As I grew older, I read Louisa May Alcott's books, Little Women, Little Men, Jo's Boys, and Rose in Bloom, all of which depicted life in a different time and place.

I know that today's children would not be willing to read them, but I have done so several times, picturing in my mind the houses and scenes where they could have taken place. They have enriched my life so much and have reinforced my personal values a great deal. That's the viewpoint of a woman who has lived 87 years.

Monday, June 20, 2011


By Lois Muehl

(from her first collection of poetry, DARK/LIGHT, published by lulu press.)

Mind you, I wasn't
looking for a cat,
certainly not that scrawny
half-grown female
someone dumped on Friday.
I saw her first skulking
toward my bird feeder.
I knocked the window.
Cat froze. She blinked
her tawny eyes at me
but wouldn't move. I ran out
to shoo her off. Instead,
she arched around my feet,
purred to hint of a dish of milk,
a bite or two of chicken
would be welcome. So I fed
her hunger and my own,
once or twice stroking
her brown coat that, close up
seemed mixed of cinnamon,
nutmeg, cloves and saffron.
"Monday sure," I warned her,
"I'm calling the Shelter."
Sunday from the store
I brought home cat food
and a collar with a bell.
"Your name," I told her,
"is Spice."

Friday, June 17, 2011

An Introduction

Welcome to the Live Oak blog, a forum for Oaknoll residents and staff. This site gives us another opportunity to convey the one-of-a-kind active culture which thrives inside our home. As you’ll discover, it’s a culture we are proud of!

For those not familiar with Oaknoll here is a bit about us: Oaknoll is a stand-alone non-profit retirement community. It has been an active LifeCare community serving the Iowa City, IA area since 1966. There are currently 280 seniors who reside at Oaknoll within its LifeCare continuum (165 independent living apartments, 8 independent living houses, 33 assisted living apartments and 48 beds licensed for nursing care). The campus sits on approximately 7 acres of land on the west side of Iowa City and we are currently looking to expand so we can meet the needs of a rapidly growing waiting list.

Our residents and staff possess a diverse array of experiences which create unique life stories. We’ll reveal bits of these stories through memoirs, poetry, short fiction or non-fiction, and even recipes. You’ll also see our creative talent expressed through photography or art.

As always, we’ll respect the privacy of personal health information and we’re committed to maintaining our residents’ confidentiality. None of our posts will share information that our residents have not approved.

Please check in with us periodically as new posts appear. Some of you may recognize a photograph, family recipe, an author or the story they tell. Everyone should come away with a better understanding of why we are proud to call ourselves, “Oaknollians.”