Village Times July 2023


Independence Village of Olde Raleigh Resident Newsletter

Meet Nancy Nelsen
– by Pat Simpson

   Resident Jay Gordon moved into Independence Village back on June 15, 2021. He was followed nearly a year later (April 15, 2022) by his mother, Sylvia Gordon, shortly after her husband died. Jay has lived in Raleigh and has worked for a number of years for Rex Hospital transferring patients to and from radiology and other departments. He also likes to sing and act and has taken an acting gig in Raleigh’s Little Theater (“I always wanted to be a movie star,” he chuckles,)

   “I’m glad I moved here,” says Jay, “And so much has happened: During freak winter weather some of our pipes froze. A few drops of water began dripping onto my bed from the ceiling. Just as I left the room to report it, I heard a tremendous crash! It turned out that a pipe had sprung a leak right over my bed. The water build-up had proved too much for the ceiling and down it came. I thank the good Lord for saving me because my bed was totally destroyed – but without me in it. My mother, who lives just down the hall, was OK. And so was “Cally”, our cat.

   Jay (aka John Boyd Gordon III) was born July 10th,1959. His father, John Boyd Gordon II, was born in Gastonia, N.C. and served in U.S. Army Counter-intelligence during the late 50’s (1956-1959). “He was also a prize-winning amateur photographer,” says Jay. “Going back even further, my great-grandfather was a Presbyterian minister.”

   “Speaking of names,” said Sylvia, “I was born as Margaret Catherine. But it was the ”wrong” name as the result of a family misunderstanding, My grandmother solved the problem: she picked out the name Sylvia. I wasn’t aware of any of this until years later when I discovered my original name on an old application my parents had filled out for me to join the National Society Children of the American Revolution (C.A.R.).

   “Anyhow,” she continued, “I met and married Jay’s father in Shelby, North Carolina, where I was born and grew up. The Army moved us from place to place, such as Baltimore and Richmond. I graduated from Queen’s College in Charlotte, N.C., after which I taught high-school English in Baltimore and Richmond (where Jay was born). Then I worked in Raleigh for the North Carolina Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped for nearly 29 years until I retired in 1998.”

   “Jay has a younger sister,” she continued. “Her name is Catherine and she works in Houston, Texas as a pediatrician and endocrinologist. She tells me she will soon be taking a job with NIH in Bethesda, Maryland.”

   Sylvia, by the way, is an artist – and a very good one, I might say. She began to paint at age four and has been taking painting classes since 1976. Most of her artwork, saved when she moved out of the family home of 54 years on Raleigh’s Wayland Drive, now adorn the walls of her apartment.

Collards – by Margie Lewin

  Few culinary traditions run as deep as collards in North Carolina. This leafy green claims one of the longest growing seasons of any in North Carolina’s crops, and is oftentimes all that remains in home gardens and farms come January. On New Year’s Day, tables are filled with foods that symbolize luck and money: black-eyed peas, cornbread, ham and collards, the last of which resemble dollar bills and are believed to invite prosperity. Just like the New Year, collards return again and again to nourish and delight, bringing with them hope and a sense of State pride.

   In downtown Ayden, N.C., there is even a Collard Festival parade that includes live music, art shows, food trucks and more. this event is 50 years old.

Lebanon – by Richard Smalto

   When I was in the army, I belonged to the 48th armored infantry an outfit stationed in Europe that lost its colors in Korea because it ran. Colors are critical to the success of an army. They mark the location of the commander and serve as a rallying point for the troops. In the chaos of battle the ability to maintain a formation is critical to the army’s success. Because of the use of modern weapons and a change in tactics, colors are no longer carried into battle. However, in the past an elite corps of soldiers protected the colors and it was considered a great feat of arms to capture them.

   As a result of this tradition, we watched with a great deal of curiosity and a certain degree of trepidation as each company came to full strength while the remainder of the battalion was put into a state of readiness and complete mobilization. Reorganized and ready one evening. the German girls we were drinking beer with told us not to go to bed that night. That night at two o’clock in the morning we were awakened and mustered to be deployed we knew not where. Loaded onto large troop transport trucks, we moved to an airfield staging area where we waited to be told what our mission was.  We drank coffee as airplane engines came to life and non-commissioned officers scurried about. Engines roaring, hearts pounding, the order came to send us back.

   Later that day, in the barracks, we learned that Eisenhower decided to give us a chance to recover our colors by sending us into Lebanon to keep the peace. Before the order could be carried out, he changed his mind and told the generals to send in the marines. He said because he thought the 48th would muck it up again.

Somethin’ Fishy: A Fish Tale – by Frank Howes

   Once upon a time there was a group of men fishing for herring in a branch that ran into Contentnea Creek in eastern North Carolina. This was in the mid-sixties when the herring and shad were still thick in the rivers and streams when they ran in early April. On this particular occasion, the men were fishing at night, and while they waited for their nets to fill, they told tales around a campfire.

   Among those around the campfire was a young man named Eddie and a wizened old man named Mr. Tom.

   Eddie was a classic Southern good-ol’ boy and a former high school football star. He was competitive to a fault, and sometimes given to bragging.

   Mr. Tom was a laconic old tobacco farmer who was fond of a good joke.

   This evening, the conversation, naturally enough, turned to fish stories: who had caught the biggest fish, what was the best fish bait, and so forth. Many people told their story, but after each one, Eddie told a story about a bigger fish. People around the fire were obviously getting impatient with Eddie’s one-upmanship.

   Finally, at just the right moment, Mr. Tom started talking. He told a story about a bass he pursued in 1934. “I was a’ter this bass one time in ol’ man Corbett’s pond. I seen him jump once or twice. He was huge, but I could never catch him. Hooked him a couple o’ times, but he got away every time. I was bound and determined to catch that fish, so I kept working at it.

   “But that was a smart fish. He never bit on the same bait twice. I started out using worms. Then I used crickets, and later I tried grubs from a wasp nest. Each time I hooked him he got wiser. Like I said, that was a smart fish.”

   Determined to outdo Mr. Tom, Eddie said “Yeah, I’ve caught some big bass, but I like artificial lures, especially rubber worms. One time I caught an 11-pound bass on a rubber worm. Man, did he put up a fight.” He paused a moment, then said, “Mr. Tom, did you ever catch that fish.”

  “Yeah, I finally caught him. I outsmarted him.”

   “What’d you catch him on Mr. Tom?”

   Straight faced, without the slightest gleam in his eye, Mr. Tom said, “Castor oil.”

   “Castor oil How’d you catch a fish with castor oil

   “Well, I found out where that fish was a-layin’ up. I started feedin’ him regular one day. I fed him all the baits I’d used – worms, crickets, grubs, all his favorite foods. And then I used the castor oil, and I caught him!”

   “I still don’t get it, Mr. Tom. How’d you catch him with castor oil?”

   “Well, I soaked some bait in castor oil, and I fed it to him. I fed him ‘til he couldn’t eat no more, and that’s how I caught him.”

   “What,” said Eddie, “I still don’t understand how that helped you catch that fish.”

   “Well, that fish was so full, he was about to bust open, and when he crawled up on the bank to take a crap, I just reached down and picked him up.

   “Man,” Mr. Tom continued, “that was a whopper! It might have been a mite smaller than your eleven-pound whopper, but that was a big ‘un!”

It’s Never too late…

Olive – The Cat with Seven Lives – by Pat Simpson

   Recently my daughter Diana took her two boys, Charlie & Johnnie on a trip to Maine, specifically to Long Cove Artist Cottage, a rustic little self-contained Maine cottage on Deer Isle, located about 20 miles out in Penobscot Bays – a perfect retreat: everything they would need in one location – walking, swimming, and boating.

   The boys love animals, and when they met Olive the cat, it was love at first sight. Olive was very friendly, but her patchy fur seemed to indicate she was still on the mend from an injury. Her owner & host, Judith, said she was taken by a Bald Eagle but somehow got away and survived the attack, crawled home, and managed to get patched back together.

   “Olive was alone and covered in tree sap and very sick when I found her,” Judith explained. “After a lot of baths and medication, she was finally well enough to move back in.”

   “Wow,” said Johnnie, “I’m glad she’s alright.”

   “So am I,” said Charlie. “I’ll bet she has nightmares1”

   Olive, now on the bed where they had placed her, looked up as if she wanted to talk. As you know, cats can’t talk. But I’ll bet you didn’t know they could think…

   “You don’t know the half of it,” thought Olive. “Not only can I think, but I do have nightmares…let me tell you why…I was minding my own business – as cats always do – when ‘Bam!’ something hit me on my back. It really hurt! And I immediately felt myself being lifted from the ground. Something was pinching my back and I was getting higher and higher…so high that I thought I was looking down from Heaven.

   “That’s when I lost the first of my nine lives.

   “Suddenly, whatever or whoever it was, let me go. That’s when I fell from the sky. And that’s when I lost my second life.

   “It wasn’t until much later (as my mom Judith explained to me) that I learned eagles drop their prey to incapacitate them. They will use their strong talons to grab them and throw them off a high cliff. After they drop dead from free-fall, the eagle will devour them.

   “All I can say is that the next thing I knew, I awoke in the forest the following morning. I was surrounded by dampness, mud, and an overwhelming sense of isolation. My body bore the marks of the harrowing experience, with bruises on my neck, shoulder, and ankle. My right eye was swollen shut and I felt a wave of dizziness wash over me. I came to the grim realization that I had survived a great fall through the forest. Overhead, I could hear the cry of an eagle but the dense canopy of trees obscured me from its view.

   “What now?” I thought. “But I realized I had no choice. I had to confront the daunting challenge of surviving alone in the treacherous cold forests of Maine – and I would have to use every survival skill as well.

   “Aware that I couldn’t stay there forever, I decided to venture into the forest. I carefully treaded forward, one step at a time, as a precautionary measure to avoid stepping on hidden snakes or insects. I repeated this process – stepping and listening – repeating the cycle as I forged my way through the treacherous terrain.

   “I had no food, and when thirst struck, I resorted to licking water droplets from tree leaves. Determined to find civilization and home, I followed a small creek, hoping it would lead me to a larger river and eventually to help. Days without sustenance took their toll. I succumbed to hallucinations. With sheer determination I somehow managed to persevere.  However, I heard a voice that seemed too real to be a mere figment of my imagination. It was Judith! She emerged from the forest, took me home and provided me with food and tended to my injuries.

   “It was Judith who gave me healing. It was Judith who gave me the care I desperately needed.

   “Judith, I am but a cat; but I still have seven lives and I’ll be your friend forever!”

   P.S.  It wasn’t until later that I learned that Judith could have protected me with a “raptor shield”. You know – Protects against raptors. birds of prey: hawks, owls, eagles – like the one that almost got me. You can also get something like a spike vest or a coyote vest. What eagle in its right mind would want to attack cute little me? It would get a mouthful of spikes!”

Our First Wedding Anniversary: A Note of Thanks from Pat and June Cheek Simpson

    June and I just want everyone to know how grateful and thankful we were for Food and Dietary Director Charlie Banks (C.B.) and his staff’s fabulous treatment of us on Sunday evening, May 21, 2023. Just a couple of days before that I had mentioned in passing to C.B. that Sunday marked our first wedding anniversary. As you may know, June Cheek and I were married right here in the dining room a year ago. We will never forget C.B.’s wonderful food and service at our wedding reception that day.

   Fast forward one year later to Sunday evening – food server Mary Saseen had asked us at lunch-time to be at a certain dining room table at 3:30 pm. We knew that something was up – so we indeed arrived on time. Lo and behold, Mary, assisted by Imani Kelly and Jamaul Bible, brought forward a wonderful round wedding anniversary cake with three candles. She got the crowd to say “Happy Anniversary” as June blew out the candles. It was a wonderful cake (and wonderful prime rib) and we had a wonderful time!

   I pray for C.B. and his staff every day, asking God to grant them the gifts of “helps”, the gift of patience, and the gift of love. God granted all three prayers last Sunday night. June and I would like to thank them from the bottom of our hearts. May they all have one blessed day after another!

Meet Nancy Long Nelsen, one of our newer residents here at Independecnce Village, thanks to her son-in-law Gerrald, who suggested this place to her.

   “Gerald lives in neaarby Cary with his wife Carol, the youngest of my three daughters,” says Nancy. I’m glad to be here – it’s a litle too hard for me to care for myself like I used to do.

   “After all, I was once not only a Girl Scout, but I visited  Girl Guides in England.”

   I looked it up: Girl Scouts and Girl Guides are essentially the sameorganizations. Way back in 1907, a retired British general by the name of Robert Baden-Powell wrote Scouting for Boys which was the inspiration for the Scout movement in the United Kingdom and for the Boy Scouts of America (BSA), in 1910.

   In that same year, Robert’s sister, Agnes, started the Girl Guides Association. Two years later, an American named Julia Gordon Low met Robert and was inspired to form the Girl Scouts of the United States of America (GSUSA). The World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) was formed in 1928 and today it has member organizations in 145 countries.  

   So how did Nancy Nelsen become involved in both organizations?

   “It was during those hard times that _____(name)_________my father decided to move to South Carolina to start a business with his father. But he went bankrupt nevertheless and moved back north to Clio, Michigan where I grew up with my brother Edward. My father worked at Dupont in Flint, Michigan, but died in his 50s. My mother, Isabel, lived into her late 80s.

   “I kind of wanted to be a chemist, like others in the family, but I ended up being a teacher instead. I went to college at Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan, earning a BS in education and for over a year taught sixth graders in Marshall, a small town about 100 miles southwest of Clio.

   After college, I moved to Oxnard, California where I taught sixth grade for a year. It was there that I met Gilbert Nelson; he was a fun guy! Gilbert worked at the Naval Base in Port Hueneme (Spanish for “Resting Place”). Both the Port and lie Naval Base lie within the Oxnard city limits

   But I never lost my interest in the Girl Scouts. I believe Girl Scouts just simply made me a better me. I learned so many things about myself that maybe I could have found out without Girl Scouts but I think Girl Scouts helped me find myself and who I really am. It taught me that I am strong and bold and I can do whatever I put my mind to. It’s far more than Girl Scout cookies!

   So I jumped at the chance to take the job as Girl Scout director back in Clio.

   When I was younger, I had spent my summersand sorted mail at Christmas and Easter time. Working with the Red Cross I taught swimming to Girl Scouts as w ell as boating and canoeing in Northern working in Girl Scout camps and sorted mail at Christmas and Easter time. Working with the Red Cross I taught swimming to Girl Scouts as w ell as boating and canoeing in Northern Michigan’s Au Sable River

So I moved back to Clio and happily worked with the GSA until one day in 1955 the director admitted my name to the organization and I won a trip to England. I spent the summer with a group of Girl Guides learning how GSA works in England.

   Back home again in 1956 I caught up with Gilbert and we soon got married.

   Then we moved to Kingsville, Texas (pop. 25,000), located in southern Texas, where Gilbert became a student at the University of Texas, eventually earning a degree in agriculture while I helped pay his way through college.

    Eventually we h1ad three daughters: Dolores (the oldest), Karen, and Carol (the youngest). But over the years Gilbert and I found ourselves growing apart; so we have at last gone our separate ways.

   So here I am, starting life over in a new place and, hopefully, with some new friends. It may sound trite to you but my years in the Girl Scouts and Girl Guides have taught me courage, confidence, and character.

   It’s not too late to learn how to start over.

   Evee’s Story – By Phyllis Woolley 

   Hello IVOR peoples. I haven’t written for a while, so I have a lot to tell you. Most important is that Mom left me by myself, not 2 days, not 4 days, but almost3h 6 whole days!! Something wonderful happened while Mom was out gallivanting across the country. My cousin Alex and her friend Beth came to see me. Remember when I told you about Beth wanting to clip my nails in a hurry? Well I wasn’t too happy to see her. She didn’t try to clip my nails, so I settled down. I kinda let her know she wasn’t going to try that again. I had other visitors too! Two wunnerful ladies kept coming by to see if I was ok and they also made sure I had food and water. I feel so loved!!

   Then it happened!! I was beginning to think Mom was never coming back. It scared me a lot. But I was sleeping away and I heard peoples talking! I watched the door and in walked Mom. “Mom!” I meowed. I also meowed to Aunt Laura and Uncle Tony! “Thanks for bringing Mom back to me.” I thought she had gotten away and couldn’t find her way back! I let Aunt Laura and Uncle Tony pet me almost as long as they wanted for bringing her back. I was getting ready to ask Miss Wanda to put out a Senior Alert for her. 

   When Mom came in the door, I knew Mom had been hanging around with CHILDREN!! I know Mom would never leave me for a man people, or a woman people, but she just might leave me for sticky dirty CHILDREN! These were the worsest kind of children! I smelled GRANDCHILDREN and GREAT-GRANDCHILDREN! They are the stinkiest of all. I smelled popcorn and Cap’ n Crunch!! I could also smell blueberries and peanut butter! I think Mom ate chicken salad ‘cause she’s been talking about how good it was. Yucky yuck!

   I was pretty good while Mom was gone. I accidentally on purpose knocked my cat food off the shelf. My bowl was getting empty and Alex wasn’t here yet. I had to accept responsibility. (that’s what Mom always says, anyway). Besides, when Alex came in the door she said “EEVEE” and I was right in front of her. I don’t know how she knew it was me!  

   Well, life will be back to normal, for a while, at least. Miss Lilly came to see me today, but it was my nap time and I just said hello and went back to bed. I like her a lot and hope she comes back soon. Mom said she is going to slow down a little, but she is going to start back with the Writers club because she misses it. 

   Have a great day my peoples and always say your prayers! I said mine and Mom came back home to me. 


Big Hearts – by Margie Lewin

   Consider what our ancestors did not have when they first domesticated dogs: there were no other domestic animals, no agriculture, no written language. Tools made of metal did not exist. As best as we can tell humans didn’t even have fixed settlements yet. Life was radically different — but already we had dogs. Our lives have been intertwined ever since.

   Onto their wolfish heritage — the basic body, plan, social predisposition, intelligence, and acute senses — people added traits physical and mental, producing animals suited to labor and companionship. And what extraordinary companions dogs are.

   Many people now think of dogs as furry friends. In that spirit, although it’s still legal custom for dogs to be owned, this volume will eschew the language of ownership. Technically, dogs might be property but that term doesn’t do justice to who they are.

   Rather than referring to a dog’s owner, we can instead call them a dog’s person. We belong to them as much as they belong to us. And with a deeper understanding of who dogs are comma we can better return their love and trust.

The Moral Imperative – by Richard Smalto

   I am growing weary of being called a racist simply because I will not apologize for our country’s history of slavery. I would rather celebrate the fact that we have used our ingenuity to develop a free market economy which has contributed more to the cessation of privation than any other type of economy in the world. I think being woke is a joke and white guilt is ludicrous because it reflects a profound lack of understanding of the culture that shaped the modern world. I am not afraid to assert the fact that western culture which is populated by the Caucasian race predominately prevails because its application of the scientific method of reasoning enabled it to develop a technological superiority    which has helped it to dominate the rest of the world.

   It is an irony that western culture which recognizes as the central mode of power, the oppression of groups, also gave rise to the Christian concept of the sovereignty of the individual and from that the moral imperative that slavery was wrong and had to be eliminated. Slavery across groups in all societies in the past at no time was considered wrong. It would have been highly unusual in the past to be opposed to slavery.

   We have been asleep while a doctrine of mediocrity has crept into our colleges and universities and then found its way into our forms of communications and our corporations. I suppose it has succeeded because intellectuals mistakenly believe capitalism has created pockets of poverty and inequality.

   All economic systems produce inequality and social injustice. But it is western culture that   recognizes the pernicious parts of the problem and tries to do something about it.

   If you tear down western culture i.e. white culture, which appears to be the heart of the matter, then what are you going to replace it with? Are you going to replace it with another form of mathematics which is the foundation of our physics that enables us to comprehend the laws of the universe. Rather than wreck a culture that has flaws I choose to celebrate what has been achieved always trying diligently to eradicate the things we worry about and we know that are wrong. Are the great cities that have been built like Paris, London and Rome nothing to marvel about.  Is there nothing to be said about the outstanding universities like Oxford, Cambridge and Heidelberg that have helped shaped our thinking and formulated our thought.  And what about our art and the great cathedrals. Should we deconstruct what went in to sculpting Michelangelo’s David and or the labor required to build Chartres.

   In this era of resentment If we continue to weaponize guilt and attempt to reframe our history rampaging through the past denigrating our heroes what is to become of us? If we are not grateful for what we have will we ever appreciate what replaces it.


When we were but lads,

My brother and I,

We ran through the streets,

My brother and I.

And we ran to the park

At fireworks time.

As they burst overhead

At fireworks time.

 We stuck together

Through the flash and the thunder

Never flinching

But gazing in wonder.

Then we ran home in the dark,

My brother and I,

Because we stuck together,

My brother and I.

The Kindness of Strangers – by Fox Johnston

Dear residences and staff of IVOR:

    As many of you already know, my wife, Marilyn has left me, the community, and in fact the whole state. She has returned to the northeast, where most of her family live. As most things human, it is complicated, but we remain on good terms. It is not clear at this time whether or not our separation will be permanent. For now I will remain a member of the community for as long as I am able or until something changes for better or worse.

   I would like to sincerely express my gratitude for the support and kindness shown to me over the past week. Your compassion has been uplifting, and it is people like you that make the world a better place.

   Thank you all very much.


Seven Words Challenge – by Frank Howes

   Try to use the following 7 words (but at least 5) in a single sentence or paragraph: Jade (ornamental stone), Pneumonic (affecting the lungs), Tame (subdued), Circuit (moving around), Absorb (to soak up), Esperance (a cool sea breeze), Peripatetic (travels from place to place).  Example:

   Most of you know that I normally wander around dining room everyday looking for bridge players. I generally go in a complete circuit round the room seeking enough players to set up two tables, but of late I have ceased my peripatetic journeys. You see, I’ve had a terrible pneumonic affliction in the last few days. Well, not so terrible, I guess. Though at first, I thought it might be COVID, in the end it turned out to be a simple cold. Like most colds, it refused to be tamed by any of the popular nostrums that are supposed to cure colds. Of course, I did not expect more; I have become quite jaded with the claims of miracle cures by snake-oil manufacturers. So, I have stayed in my room without esperance of a quick cure, resigned to the fact that only time could cure my affliction. But I haven’t been completely listless; I have spent much of my time absorbed in fantasies – watching movies and reading good books while I was stuck in my room.

   Challenge: Use the same 7 words (but at least 5) in a single sentence or paragraph and submit it to Lifestyle and Health Coordinator Taylor Clodfelter. Entries will be judged by the Writers Club.  We’re looking for aspiring writers, not perfect wordsmiths! Winners may also be included in a future issue of The Village Times.