1 December

Sylvie’s Hat. Planning Outings for 2018.

by Jon Katz
Sylvie’s Red Hat

Sylvie loves to wear wool caps,  she is prone to chills in the winter, although her room is warm. (If anyone has a spare wool sweater that they don’t  wear any longer, I think she would love to wear it). She loved the red and blue cap I showed her two days ago, and has been wearing it every day. Sylvie is one of my favorite photo subjects, her face has enormous character, she is usually reading tracts from the Jehovah’s Witnesses, she belongs to their church.

On December 2, we are funding an outing to Hubbard Hall (the Arts Center) for their annual Christmas breakfast. The cost was $90 for eight people, it is paid for. I’m going. We have located a farm that will offer sleigh rides for the Mansion residents who can physically make the trip and get into the horse-drawn wagon. I hope to go on that journey also, if it happens.

The Mansion staff is making sure the residents can get up the steps to the wagon and be secure inside. The ride for two hours will cost $300.

In March, we are supporting an Irish band to travel to the Mansion to help them celebrate St. Patrick’s day. That will cost about $300 for several hours of music.

Later in the Spring, I hope to sponsor another boat ride on Lake George, the residents had a wonderful time and are still talking about. It was a joy to see them dance. There are no administrative expenses, every penny goes to the residents or the refugees. Thanks.

There is about $1,500 in the Mansion/Refugee Fund. If you wish to contribute to it, you can send a donation to my Post Office Box,  P.O.  Box 205, Cambridge, N.Y., 12816, or to my Paypal account, jon@bedlamfarm.com.

Please mark the payment to Mansion, Refugees or both. All donations are kept in a separate bank account, checked regularly by a bookkeeper and also by a certified accountant.

1 December

Afternoon Tea: Sweet Moments – Joan, Maria, Red.

by Jon Katz
Sweet Moments

I was passing out hats – a joyous exercise – and trying them on, and Maria and Red disappeared, along with Joan, a resident I love to be with and talk to, even though she struggles with memory.

I rounded the corner and found the three of them sitting on a hallway sofa and having a chat, Red joining right in. He is eating his food and no longer has a temperature. He’s going to be on antibiotics for several more weeks.

When she isn’t  working in her studio, Maria sometimes comes along with me to the Mansion. Her friendship with Connie has drawn her closer to this kind of work, and it is a special pleasure to do it with her.

Usually, I am her too long for her to come, but we come together when she can, and it was a happy sight to see her talking with Joan and Red back in form. Joan got a new winter hat today too.

1 December

A Hat For Allan. Breaking Through.

by Jon Katz
A Hat For Allan

I’ve known Allan for more than a year, but this is the first photograph I’ve taken of him. He didn’t refuse to be photographed, I had the sense he was wary of me and of Red. Red, of course, has broken through, and Allan and I are getting to know one another through the poetry and writing workshops.

Once we got to know each other, he began telling insightful and poignant stories about his family and his life. I alway remember that I am quite strange to some people at the Mansion, and they don’t always know what to make of me.

Some people think I’m trying to sell Red. Some thing i’m going to charge them for the books and clothes and other things I bring or that come from the blog. Some just can’t quite believe anybody would pay attention to them or send them thing from far away.

And some wonder about the stranger in their midst.

Sometimes I can’t quite believe it myself. I am especially patient with the wary residents, I don’t photograph them or try and don’t approach them myself or with Red until I am sure they want to see us.

Some, I realize or just shy and fearful of talking to me, they don’t quite know what or who I am. Allan and i have clicked now, he loves to see Red and he and I talk openly. I love the stories he tells and we are working on some poems together.

He was quite happy to be photographed in his new wool cap. I thought he might want a bigger one, but this one worked out fine. I’m glad to get to know Allan.

You can write Allan c/o The Mansion, 11 S. Union Avenue, Cambridge, N.Y., 12816.

1 December

Winter Caps For the Mansion

by Jon Katz
Winter Caps For The Mansion

Several weeks ago, I promised the Mansion residents I would bring wool caps for everyone who wants one before the harsh winter descended. Everyone wanted one. Some came from the Army Of Good, I found some others online, and today we stopped by after lunch – me, Red, Maria – and passed them  out in the dining hall.

I admit to being surprised at how much the residents loved their hats. Part of it is that they want to be warm in the winter, but I think a lot of it is the color. And also, as always, being thought of. I think that means more to them than anything.

The Mansion staff is still sorting out the bags and boxes of Christmas gifts and decorations coming from the Army Of Good, their Christmas party will be held on the 14th, and I’m going to be there with Red. There are stockings for me and Red hanging up already.

Thanks so much for your gifts and cards and art and thoughtfulness. You are giving the residents a very fine Christmas. When I first me the residents, some of them dreaded Christmas, it too often reminded them of their lost homes and some are alone on the holiday.

No one is alone any more on Christmas, thanks to your generous spirit. They are all known, thought of, everyone can share in the spirit of the day. I am sure it is a lonely time for many of the residents, I know they miss Christmas in their own homes with their own families.

But I see attention matters and brings great smiles.

Jean, above, loves her hat. On outings, she is my girlfriend, I take her arm when we walk, we danced together on the boat ride around Lake George. At one point, I saw her standing alone the boat rails peering out at the beautiful homes, she was buy herself.

I came over and asked her if she was okay, she was quiet, deep in thought. She told me that she and her husband – he died a long time ago – often came on this boat ride around Lake George. When she was on the boat, she said, she remembered him the most clearly.

I stepped back and left her to her thoughts. She was not alone on that ride, I saw. I’m glad she likes her cap.

A list of residents who wish to receive messages: Winnie, Jean, Ellen, Mary, Sylvie, Jane, Diane, Alice, Jean, Maddie, Joan, Allan, Bill, Richard,  John, Helen, Alanna, Barbara, Peggie, Dottie, Tim, Ben, Art, Guerda, Brenda, David, Ken, Ruth.

You can write them c/o The Mansion, 11 S. Union Avenue, Cambridge, N.Y., 12816. Thanks for giving the residents such a meaningful Christmas.

Email SignupEmail Signup