Volume 3 Issue 2
New architectural neighborhood walk program
Every block has a story. Late last November, several BMAV members heard some of them as they embarked on the village’s new architectural neighborhood walk program and explored Battery Park’s Glenbrook Road.
Dutch colonial in 1922
Battery Park prospectus
Led by realtor, architect and city planner Melissa Watts, they heard about the history and architecture of the houses they saw, including Dutch colonials, Italian villas and English cottages. A bit of relevant gossip and anecdotes, such as intrigue in the summer home of a former German ambassador, made the walk that much more fun.
Based on the original 1922 Battery Park prospectus that a participant brought with her to the walk, the original houses were easy to identify, despite layers of additions, tear-downs and later infill construction.
Our next neighborhood walk will be in Greenwich forest on Sunday, March 25, 2-3:30 pm. Join us! See the BMAV events calendar for details.
Thanks to our supporters
Like other villages, BMAV membership fees cover only about 40 percent of our operating costs. We therefore are glad to report that we raised $31,275 in grants and donations in our first annual development campaign last fall. Many thanks from the BMAV board of directors to members, neighbors, local businesses and professionals who responded so generously.
With these additional resources, we are several steps closer to financial sustainability. We have expanded our services and will continue our outreach to increase our membership.
BMAV thanks our generous corporate donors over the last twelve months:
Jim and Carol Trawick Foundation
Edgemoor Investment Advisors
Lauren Davis Team / Washington Fine Properties
Linda Chaletzky / Evers & Co.
CASE Architects and Remodelers
Sandy Spring Builders
Heartwarming neighbor-helping-neighbor story
A BMAV member recently shared a personal story that exemplifies the spirit of what our village is all about: neighbors helping neighbors. She’d had knee surgery, was recuperating at home and couldn’t leave the house. While certainly better than being in a rehabilitation facility, she found she had a lot of time on her hands.
Another village member heard about it, contacted her and told her she had just the solution to all that free time: learn how to knit. The at-home member, in fact, had done some knitting when she was a girl but wasn’t sure she wanted to take it up again. However, the neighbor who contacted her, a champion knitter, convinced her to give it a try and gave her an in-home lesson. A baby sweater for a granddaughter is well underway.
The then-homebound member is very glad she let herself be persuaded. She said of the experience, “Neighbor helping neighbor, and fully enjoying it on both sides, with laughter in between the hard work of learning at this age. It doesn’t get much better than this.”
The challenge of isolation
According to “A Profile of Social Connectedness in Older Adults,” a new report by the AARP Foundation, 51 percent of people 75 and older live alone, 17 percent of those over 65 are socially isolated, and 26 percent are at increased risk of death due to subjective feeling of loneliness. The best way to combat loneliness and isolation is to get more socially connected. That’s where BMAV comes in, through our many social activities and for full-service members, friendly visits. Get involved, stay involved with Bethesda Metro Area Village.
See the AARP Foundation Connect2Affect webpage, where you can take a self-assessment test and get more information on isolation, helpful stories and resources.
Remember, BMAV is here to help
Our newly expanded services for full-service members have begun, and our corps of vetted and trained volunteers is ready and waiting for your requests. They can help out in any of the following ways:
- Transportation:rides to BMAV events, personal appointments and errands (up to five miles from home)
- Friendly visits for anyone feeling the need of a good chat or who feels isolated
- Small home repairs: light handyperson tasks
- Limited technical assistance in the home for computers and other devices (e.g., set up and basic troubleshooting
- Absent-owner services outside the home, such as watering plants and picking up packages (for up to three weeks)
- Occasional non-medical respite care for primary caregivers
Whenever you have a request, just contact Executive Director by email or phone her at 240-630-2628. Please give us as much notice as possible to match you with a volunteer service provider. Weekend calls and emails will be returned on Monday.
Interview with BMAV member Tim French
Tim French considers himself a lucky man, in his life and his career. Son of a diplomat, he was born in Cape Town, South Africa, and spent nearly all his growing-up years living in interesting places around the world: Sydney, Istanbul, Canberra, Ireland and Switzerland.
He also had a stint back here when his father was re-assigned from Ireland to Washington. Tim was 10 and found the US quite a culture shock. For example, the sports were different – baseball, not cricket – and television, with its odd programs, such as Westerns and Howdy Doody, was a revelation. In school, he was kidded about his Irish brogue. Note: he no longer has the brogue.
Tim’s early overseas experience no doubt influenced his career choices and love of travel.
After graduating from the University of Maryland, he worked a few years for the federal government, including as an international relations specialist with the GAO. After that, he served as executive director for corporate relations with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which entailed lots of overseas travel to meet with corporate bigwigs. He loved his job but after 22 years, decided he wanted a career change and took early retirement.
He learned of an opening at the State Department and “jumped at it.” The job involved logistics, communications, intelligence work and non-stop international travel. During his 11 years there, he had three three-year overseas assignments: Thailand, Germany and Senegal. He said it was one of the best jobs in the world and that “I almost would have paid State to work there.” He probably would still be there but for the State Department’s mandatory retirement age. However, his luck held. He now works part-time as a sub-contractor for State and other agencies. No surprise, the job requires a fair amount of travel, albeit primarily domestic.
Tim now travels internationally for pleasure. He returns often to Switzerland, where he lived from ages 13-18 years old and still has friends. Other recent trips include to Mexico and Argentina. In addition to being a skier, Tim runs, plays tennis and when he can find the time, a round of golf.
Asked why he became a BMAV member, Tim said he likes the concept of aging in place. He’s been in his house since 1979 and plans to be there for a long time to come. His neighborhood is full of interesting people and he knows many of them. He thought joining BMAV would give him the opportunity to connect with even more in the community via the village’s great social activities, events and outings to museums and historical places. Last but not least, he likes the idea of volunteering to help one another. He looks forward to being an active BMAV participant for many years.
In search of another word for “old”
You’re probably in your 60s, 70s or 80s. Granted, that’s right up there, but how do you feel about being referred to as “old”? If you’re like many of us, you don’t like it, especially if you don’t feel your age and are active and engaged in life. But what word would you prefer – one that not only doesn’t offend but also captures our essence? Ah, there’s the rub.
Laura Carstenson, a professor of psychology and the Fairleigh S. Dickenson Jr. professor in public policy at Stanford University came up with one in her op-ed in the Washington Post in late December: “perennials.” She wrote in part, “The symbolism it connotes is perfect. For one, “perennials” makes clear that we’re still here, blossoming again and again. It also suggests a new model of life in which people engage and take breaks, making new starts repeatedly.” What do you think?
Other recent BMAV events of interest
Most of us know that have more “stuff” in our homes than we really need but just can’t bring ourselves to tackle weeding out the excess. That can become an issue if you’re thinking about moving to a smaller home or you want to spare your heirs going through mountains of items after you’re gone.
At a recent decluttering/downsizing seminar for members of BMAV and other villages, two professional home organizers from Order Your Life talked about how to get started, how to decide what items to let go and what to do with them -- sell, recycle, give away or donate them to charity. The presenters had specific tips in each of several categories (e.g., clothing, art, furniture, tools, books, electronics). Visit BMAV’s website for their tips. [BMAV greatly appreciates the support of local businesses and professionals, including speakers who come to share their expertise and insights. We do not endorse any products or services.]
Men’s lunch out
It was nice to be with a group of men “of a certain age,“ concluded participants at the first BMAV men-only lunch – with 10 BMAV members and one guest meeting on January 23 at Cesco Osteria restaurant, where conversation was possible without shouting.
It was a convivial gathering. Topics discussed ranged from the impact of the new tax law (more than one tax/finance expert at the table) to health issues, good exercise routines for tender backs, tempting travel spots, retirement activities and building secure U.S. embassies. The last topic reflected the presence of three former Foreign Service officers and a construction expert. Books also were an active area of interest, whether favorite ones to read or the challenges of writing one. At least three of those present have written or are writing books.
There was general agreement at the conclusion of the luncheon to try for monthly men-only gatherings, with half of each session given over to a discussion of a common topic. The next one will be on February 22. RSVP for the location and topic.
Ladies’ night out
Twenty-six BMAV women and friends gathered on January 25 at the home of a member for champagne, salad, chocolates and conversation. Then they heard all about the changing thrift industry and got tips from BMAV member Peggy Engel, author of ThriftStyle: The Ultimate Bargain Shopper’s Guide to Smart Fashion on how to save money, buy better-made clothes and save the planet. This was the first of regular ladies’ nights out. [Note: The author will have a related article in the next Bethesda Magazine.]
Attendees of our third pot luck gathering on January 28 at the home of a BMAV village member thought it quite a success. This is a great way to get to know one’s neighbors better. We do hope there will be future pot lucks, but that requires members who volunteer to host. Please consider being a host. If you’re interested, contact Elizabeth Haile to work out a convenient date.
Upcoming events of interest
- February 8:BMAV happy hour, Black’s Bar and Kitchen, 4:30-6:30 pm.Friends welcome.
- February 14:Tech Tutors:Consumer Checkbook and Washington Checkbook online at Little Falls Library, 2-3 pm.A tech-savvy librarian will walk BMAV members through using the databases.
- February 15:Movie at the Avalon (“Senior Cinema Thursday,” $5). Movie at 10:30.If you’d like to meet up with others for coffee or lunch, or to carpool, contact Elizabeth Haile.
- February 22:Men’s lunch out, noon to 1 p.m., Cesco Osteria.
- March 7:Redefining aging: A caregiver's guide to living your best life, 10:30 am-noon, at Kenwood Golf and Country Club.Best-selling author Dr. Ann Kaiser Stearns couples findings from the latest research with powerful insights and problem-solving tips to help caregivers achieve the best life possible for those they care for – and themselves – as they age.Q&A session follows the presentation.Refreshment provided.Free and open to all, but RSVP is required.
- March 8: BMAV happy hour (location TBA), 4:30-6:30 pm.All are welcome.
- March 15: Movie at the Avalon(“Senior Cinema Thursday,” $5). Movie at 10:30.
- March 25:Architectural walking tour in Greenwich Forest
To RSVP or register for any of the foregoing events, click here to send an email or call 240-630-2628.
Shared interest groups
Aging, dying and death. The group usually meets monthly, 4-5:30 pm, at the home of Chris Palmer. The next meeting is February 11. For program information, contact Chris at 202-716-6160 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Birding. David Moulton, email@example.com, leads early morning neighborhood bird walks about twice a month. Contact him for more information or to be added to the group’s list of walkers.
Bridge. Contact Elizabeth Haile, firstname.lastname@example.org, for dates.
Knitting. The knitting and conversation group (formerly, Knitwits) meets about twice a month in a relaxed and fun atmosphere in members’ homes. All levels of expertise are welcome. The next scheduled upcoming meetings are February 8 and 22 and March 13 and 27. Contact Hanne Caraher for address.
There’s always potential for more shared-interest groups. Don’t be shy; send your ideas to Elizabeth Haile.
News you can use
Meaningful volunteer opportunities to match your skills
Are you looking for a meaningful volunteer job that puts your skills to good use? If so, Montgomery County Volunteer Center has a new initiative, 50+ Volunteer Network, that you should know about. The new program focuses on leveraging the professional and personal skills of the county's rapidly growing 50-and-older population by matching skilled volunteers seeking purposeful opportunities with organizations and agencies needing specific assistance.
Here are some of the anticipated opportunities:
- providing ongoing, program management and support, such as editing a newsletter or administrative and client intake services;
- short-term consulting projects, such as grant-writing, accounting, strategic planning, marketing, web design and IT help; and
- direct services to clients in need, including tutoring or mentoring programs, teaching adult literacy and providing career counseling.
Interested? For more information, go to www.montgomeryservws.org, send an email to email@example.com or call 240-777-2600.
NPR and PBS cover the village movement
National Public Radio had a recent segment of interest, “Village Movement Allows Elderly to Age in Their Homes,” which you can hear by clicking here. And in 2013, Ray Suarez of PBS NewsHour had a segment on Beacon Hill in Boston, where the village concept was born. View it here.
Do you have an idea for an article, a suggestion or question about BMAV or our community? Contact Lynn Barclay at 301-320-4962 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.