Village Times April 2024


Independence Village of Olde Raleigh Resident Newsletter

Things To Remember About Our Furry Friendsby Margie Lewin

    • You should know how to address puppy socialization, teach life skills and use positive reinforcement.
    • When encountering a therapy dog the owner should say: “I know she’s a very sweet looking dog and you want to pet her. However, she does have a job and needs to remain focused.”
    • Based on genetic evidence the researchers found that a dog’s breed does not predict its behavior.
    • A kitten in the animal world is what a rosebud is in the garden.
    • Siamese cats were considered so important in the far east that they were reserved for royals, while other breeds were revered as temple guardians.
    • Today’s purebred cats can cost thousands of dollars, though the same animals can often be found in shelters.


Word Power-Shakespeare – by Richard Smalto 

   William Shakespeare was an English playwright, poet and actor. He is widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world’s pre-eminent dramatist. He wrote more than 30 plays and over 100 sonnets.  His plays have been translated into every major language and are performed more often than any other playwright.  I became acquainted with Shakespeare as a boy when knowing about him was required in high school English.  One of the plays we read and has stayed with me ever since was the play about Julius Caesar. This play can be understood on more than one level.  On one level it appears to be about a successful military man seeking absolute power but if that was all it was about, it would be taught to schoolboys and that would be the end of it.  As we grow older and learn more about life however, we realize from rereading Anthony’s Eulogy of Caesar, who has been assassinated, he is telling the Roman people something more profound. He is telling them, to avoid forfeiting their birthright, which is to be free and to be governed by law, they are duty-bound to rely on what they have seen not what men who are supposed to be honorable tell them.

   The last lines of the Eulogy which deftly reminds the citizen of this obligation, made me study the life of Julius Caesar indefatigably and has remained with me ever since follows:

   ‘You all did see that on the Lupercal I thrice presented him a kingly crown, which he did thrice refuse: was this ambition? Yet Brutus says he was ambitious; And, sure, he is an honorable man. I speak not to disprove what Brutus spoke, but here I am to speak what I do know.

   You all did love him once, not without cause: What cause withholds you then, to mourn for him? O judgment! thou art fled to brutish beasts, and men have lost their reason. Bear with me; My heart is in the coffin there with Caesar, And I must pause till it come back to me.’

   After the Eulogy is over, he ends his funeral oration making citizens aware of what is in Caesar’s will. 

‘Here is the will, and under Caesar’s seal.
To every Roman citizen he gives,
To every several man, seventy-five drachmas.
Moreover, he hath left you all his walks,
His private arbors and new-planted orchards,
On this side Tiber; he hath left them you,
And to your heirs forever, common pleasures,
To walk abroad, and recreate yourselves.
Here was a Caesar! when comes such another?’

My Junior High School Reunion

Excerpted from

“Mom’s Excellent California Adventure”

Courtesy of her wonderful children.

by Joby Gilbert

   On Thursday, May 19, 2010, I flew to California, a trip I was very familiar with. My sister Diane picked me up at the Ontario Airport and I unpacked and got settled in.

   Friday, May 20th, was a day to recuperate and catch up on my sleep. And talk, talk, talk…one would think it had been three years instead of three months since our last visit.

   Saturday, May 22nd – the day of the reunion was a lovely day. The reunion was held at the Balboa Bay Club and started at 4:00 in the afternoon. Diane went with me and we took advantage of valet parking. We would have had to walk blocks away if we hadn’t.

   We walked up the path and up two steps to the doors, went inside where we discovered MORE STEPS! Only two, but still…ADA was supposed to have been passed. I asked the receptionist where the Wilson party was. “It is upstairs,” she said.

   “Oh, where is the elevator?” I asked her.

   “We don’t have an elevator,” she answered.

   At this point my sister spoke up as only she can, “YOU WHAT?”

   The receptionist went to the manager who came out and showed us to some chairs outside another room am told us he would see what he could do. I explained that our invitations clearly stated that wheelchairs and walkers were welcome.

   The lady who had organized the reunion came down and apologized and explained that because there weren’t as many who were coming to the reunion, they had to take a smaller room and it was upstairs. There also was no restroom upstairs.

   At this point, the manager came back with a transfer chair and some waiters who would carry us up the stairs. We thought they were going to carry us up fireman style until the wheelchair arrived. They carried Diane upstairs with a third waiter following with her oxygen tank while I went to the restroom.

   When I came out, I told them I just needed a strong arm and someone to carry my walker. Do we know how to make an entrance or what?

   The party was fun, although a little disorganized, and I got to see a lot of people I hadn’t seen in 60 years. The food was delicious and we saw a lot of old photos and caught up with a lot of people. Most of those attending were the popular ones with one or two who weren’t as popular. I will have to say that I looked more like I did in 1950 than most of them.

   When it was time to go, we had to get our waiters again and they took Diane first in her wheelchair all the way out to wait for her car. I had to wait, and I finally called down and asked “Where is my strong arm?” Up they came and down I went and out to the car.

   It was a fun evening and I am so glad I went.

   Sunday, May 23rd, was another nice day…not too warm and not too cool. Diane’s Woman’s Club was having a gold party and I brought my gold with me… Just some broken gold chains and a platinum ring setting that Tom’s mother had sent to me, plus a few other things. I had it all appraised in Raleigh and I was offered more in California, so I sold it. I made over $200 so I was happy. The club ladies had also brought snacks and goodies, so we pigged out and played games. After we got home, Austin came over for a visit and we talked about his T-shirt quilt. He also brought more shirts, so I ought to have enough now.

   Monday, May 24th was the Woman’s Club meeting. Brunch was served, plus we brought home enough for a couple of breakfasts. I do enjoy seeing the ladies and feel like I know them.

   Tuesday, May 25th, we went to lunch with a friend of Diane’s from the club. We were treated for Diane’s birthday. Shirley was a very nice person. That afternoon I went with Diane to a meeting with her doctor. A bit later we went to see Carolyn’s mother, Marie, who was staying at Mt. San Antonio Gardens. I think she knew who I was, but it was hard to tell.

   June 2nd came way too soon and it was time to come home. Diane and I went out to breakfast and stopped by Misty’s so I could say goodbye to her. Here she is with her cast. A broken ankle and she has a cast up to her thigh. It took time to heal but she is fine now.

   So my darling children, I had the most extraordinary California adventure, thanks to you. We did something almost every day and I was able to see all of my friends. But the high point for me was being able to go to the Wilson reunion. I love you all for giving me this fantastic gift. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

 Dining at Independence Village – by Frank Howes

   This review of the dining experience at Independence Village of Old Raleigh is unsolicited and comprehensive. It is intended for three groups: existing residents of Independence Village, and especially for new residents and prospective residents. I have been here eight years as of July 1, 2024. I can therefore speak with some authority about the food.

These are my findings:

    1. Though the food is not perfect, it is consistently good.
    2. No dining director can always please 150+ residents – different people have different tastes. Some like this amount of seasoning, some like that. Some want their vegetables cooked al dente, some want them cooked until they are soft. The most common single complaint about the food is that it is too salty, especially the soup. Regarding salt, people should be aware that:
        1. The kitchen staff adds little or no salt to the food.
        2. The salt that is used is usually Kosher salt that is primarily used to clean and prepare meats.
        3. Though many people complain that the food is too salty, there is almost an equal number of people that add salt, often without even tasting the food.
        4. The salt in the soup comes primarily from the stock that is used to make the soup. No additional salt is added.
    3. The dining director tries to accommodate people when they ask for certain foods. 
    4. The main complaint I personally have is that we sometimes have too many carbs, perhaps this is because I consider corn a grain and a starch (not a vegetable). I usually pass on the starches, or I eat a partial portion (look at me, do I LOOK like I need more carbs?).
    5. Often the desserts are so good they are almost irresistible.
    6. FOOD is the number one complaint at ALL senior living communities, primarily because different people have different tastes. 
    7. The kitchen staff at Independence Village has equipment limitations that prevent them from doing everything they would like to do. This is exacerbated by the fact that there is limited space in the kitchen.
    8. One of the reasons that Independence Village is among the best values in senior living in Raleigh is because Independence Village controls costs. In the dining room this means that the company has a contract with one particular food supplier. Nevertheless, the dining director sometimes finds ways to procure food from other suppliers, or to select different menu items than those suggested by the home office. This adds additional variety to the food.
    9. The wait staff is, almost without exception, professional and accommodating. However, there are sometimes problems that arise because of hearing loss among residents, and because of varying degrees of dementia (some residents are very rude). In those cases, you can expect management to try to resolve issues, but you can also expect them to support their staff.
    10. Having been here almost eight years, I can say without reservation that the current dining director, Charlie Banks, is the best dining director we have had in that period.

In conclusion, I rate the dining at Independence Village a solid four out of five stars.

Sincerely Frank Howes

Endorsed by the following people (along with their length of stay):

Lest we Forget: George Makarewicz

by Pat Simpson

   I had intended to interview resident George Makarewicz one day but never did – because he suddenly passed away on September 23, 2023 – only about five months after his 70th birthday on April 12th. He died from a stroke in the arms of his sweet companion Tanya Crane here in Independence Village while Colin Searcy, the owner of Caring Senior Service of Raleigh vainly tried to save him.

   George was born in Belgium to parents Wiktor and Jozefa Makarewicz and had two brothers. While he was still young, his parents – seeking a better life in the USA for their children – emigrated to Boston, MA and then Newark, NJ, before settling in South Plainfield, NJ. Eventually, it was there that George spent the next 30-plus years. After a brief attendance at Rutgers University, George began work as a machinist at Captive Plastics in Piscataway, NJ where he worked for the next 30 years before retiring in 2006. In 1975 he met and married a girl named Betty Grego; together they raised two children: Rachel and Adam, who in turn, bore children Tilley, Henry, and Zachary. More recently, Betty became very ill with leukemia so George devotedly cared for her until her death in 2013.    

    Tanya says that George loved sports. He played soccer and basketball in high school and attended sporting events at every opportunity. He was an avid fan of the Jets, Mets, Knicks, and Rangers and loved to talk New York sports with anyone who would listen.

   George was easy going and always liked to have a good time. He was a friend to everyone. More than anything, music always seemed to be his way to connect with people. And he loved listening to music and going to concerts. Whether it was the Eagles, The Band, Willie Nelson, John Prine, the Stones, Bob Dylan, or Simon and Garfunkel, he found true joy in listening to and appreciating good music.

   As I mentioned, I never got to interview this fine man but I feel a connection with him in more ways than one. I, too, briefly attended college: namely Hartwick College in Oneonta, NY. And I spent five years as a toolmaker apprentice at Bendix Corporation and 30 years in IBM’s Field Engineering Division. I love sports and I love music, everything from attending classical music concerts to listening to good Rock ‘n Roll ballads.

   And I have even been to Belgium. In 1994 my wife Anne and I visited Bruges, the “city of lace” – an unforgettable place, to be sure.

   Tanya still misses George very much and still listens to his favorites. She’s a fine lady and a sweet girl and deserves all of God’s blessings.

The Golden Years – by Pat Simpson

I dreamed of the Golden Years, my love.
   not knowing what they were.
But then we flew over the rainbow,
   And I never let go of your hand.
It really did happen,
   It really is true.
That somewhere over the rainbow,
   The skies were Carolina blue.
The Golden years, my love,
   It turns out, were here and now,
And everything around us
   Was golden too, somehow.
Let’s hold hands in the sky
   To the place where lovers fly
     And never, ever, ever let go again
     And never, ever, learn how to cry.
            -–(by Pat Simpson)
You knew one day you’d have to go,
    But thought you’d have more time.
We can’t reverse time’s one-way flow,
    But at least you’ll have this rhyme.
You had your shining moments,
    Upon this life’s darkened stage,
And in my book of wonderments
    You’ll never be just another page.
Like the exploding of a star,
  You’ve changed me in and out.
Your light will travel with me far,
  Past when all other lights go out.

In Memory of June Kyna Cheek Simpson

07/24/1955 – 03/28/2024
By Pat Simpson

   June’s parents lived in Newport News, Virginia during WW II, but after the war years, they moved to Raleigh, where most of her mother’s relatives lived and where her father found a job in the U.S. Postal Service. June Kyna Cheek was born July 24, 1955 in Raleigh, North Carolina at the old Rex Hospital on 700 Wade Avenue.  Her father was Thomas “Everett” Cheek, a Quaker (Society of Friends) from Moore County. (“I was raised poor and sweet.”). He worked his entire career with the Post Office, eventually becoming Supervisor of Mail Carriers in Raleigh.

   June’s mother was Gladys Beverly Smith, whose family lived in Raleigh. She was a beautiful person although she was partially deaf.

   The family were members of the First Congregational Church of Raleigh. Each Sunday after church they all went to their Aunt Bertha’s house, where Bertha cooked Sunday dinner. Afterwards all the family, including aunts & uncles who gathered, would sit on the large front porch, while the young ones enjoyed the big porch swing.

   June’s family home was a big white house at 201 Harrison Avenue in Raleigh; it was built by William Ellington, Aunt Bertha’s father, who owned a saw & finishing mill in Raleigh. The city renamed the street & address 864 Morgan Street. It’s now known as the Ellington House.

   June had no sisters but two brothers: Gary (deceased) and David, former 2-term mayor of Irvington, Virginia, where he makes his home with his wife, Anne.

   June went to Fred A. Olds Elementary school and then on to Leroy Martin Junior High School. After graduating from Broughton High School in 1971, she went to Louisburg College, a two-year community college in the nearby Louisburg, North Carolina. After graduation she took an office job in a local Wachovia bank – until family duty called — her ailing mother needed her. So June moved back home to help out. The mother-daughter pair morphed into a best-friends relationship.

   The whole family sometimes worked together in their “victory garden” located in North Raleigh. Dad and David tilled the soil and David would hoe the weeds. June would pick vegetables and help harvest the fruit of their labor.

   But June tired easily – she was born with a weak constitution and her health grew steadily worse. She was at first diagnosed with lupus, an autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system attacks its own tissues and organs. But after a long period of time and many tests the doctors at last diagnosed her with scleroderma, a rare condition worse than lupus. It put her on a constant roller coaster of bad health/good health.

   Her father died in 2007. A few years later her mother’s health declined—and she found herself moving into Morningside of Raleigh, an assisted living facility on Dixie Trail in Raleigh.  Ever-faithful June moved into a small apartment nearby and helped the best she could until her mom died in October of 2016. 

   June’s health was also weakening and she soon found herself moving into Independence Village of Olde Raleigh, where she met a better life, a healthier life –– and a husband!

   It was a first wedding for June; the third for Patrick Simpson – whose first two wives had passed away. But it was love at first sight for both. He’ll never forget this “angel with a broken wing”.

   June is survived by her husband Patrick, her brother David, and cousins Sharon, Michael and two others.

Walk a little slower…

It’s Springtime in the south