By Julia Beauregard
Hometown Weekly Correspondent
Walpole seniors gathered together to celebrate the annual COA birthday party, an event where everyone is celebrated. Community members celebrated the fourth birthday of the senior center building itself, as well as a collective birthday celebration for all the seniors in attendance.
Attendees celebrated over cake and sparkling cider, while being serenaded by the Retropolitan Duo, who indulged audience members in musical hits from the 1950s and ‘60s.
Memory cards were left on the table and the attendees delighted in writing down their favorite memories from the previous year. The room came to life with laughs, carols of the “happy birthday” song, dancing, singing, and chit-chat from friends and neighbors.
“It’s crazy! It’s been four years, which feels like a long time; and it is a long time, but it also isn't much time at all. Time's a thief!” COA Director Kerry McManama stated. She went on to explain that the senior center had lost so much time to COVID, but she also enthusiastically shared: “We’re almost back to pre-pandemic users and participation!”
After everyone enjoyed their cake, the COA director called everyone’s attention. Although this event was meant to celebrate all community members, McManama shared, “We want to honor the people who are here every day, because not only do they show up every day, but they welcome new people along with them!”
She then wanted to pay respects to the COA “super users” by awarding them a pin and certificate. For reference, the Walpole Senior Center was only opened for 290 days in the 2022 season. However, the number of "check-ins" from these "super users" ranged from 213 to 460 check-ins for the year. Community member John Baker, the embodiment of "90 years young", claimed the title of greatest "super user" of all, as he held the highest number of check-ins.
Individuals in attendance wore bright smiles on their faces despite the dreary day outside. It was hard not to be happy with the electrifying atmosphere that the community members created. As McManama shared with the assembled: “If you ever want to fuel yourself back up, come here!”
More information about the Council on Aging can be found at www.walpole-ma.gov/council-on-aging