Meridian Star

October 6, 2013

Gifts of love are never-ending

By Barbara Wells
The Meridian Star

MERIDIAN — Writing this article for Meridian Activity Center sometimes feels like putting a quilt together...what kind of quilt I’m not exactly sure of. Oh, I know! It’s a "crazy quilt." Though sometimes it seems like a "log cabin" the way I methodically tie one paragraph into another.

    Most of all my articles are contrived much like a “quilt as you go” – front, backing and batting all sewn at the same time, off the top of my head. If you were to come into my office, you’d know exactly how I feel as it reflects the lifestyle I have adapted in the past 10 years since coming to work here. People would never believe I was once executive secretary to the commander/publisher of Pacific Stars and Stripes newspaper (with only one personal photo on my desk, that of my parents).

    Our Parks and Recreation director has threatened on more than one occasion to get a dumpster over here next time I go on vacation. I only wish my office had the same kind of neglected order found in the once existing Wall’s Candy Store across from Highland School on 20th Street.

    Remember how in high school, the bored "bad" kids would work on a spitball for awhile, then at the most strategic moment when the teacher just turns to the blackboard ... WHAM! He tosses it up to the 12-plus foot ceiling, where it either sticks with all the others turning into stalactites or falls with a dull splat at his feet (if he's lucky) or on his neighbor’s sweater.

    When I introduce ideas for some of our classes, sometimes they fly up, up and stick...or not. When Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) Director Diana Glover asked me to post flyers about a special project her volunteers were working on, I thought it might be a nice "feel good" activity for our sewing groups.

    Ari’s Pillowcase Project was adopted by Teresa Anders’ smocking class. Ariel Ball of Laurel fought a rare form of cancer for three years, but died in 2008. Her family recalled the handmade pillowcases – so brightly cheerful and soft – that were sent home with patients and wanted to do this one thing in Ari’s name to provide comfort to other children. Mrs. Anders’ class contacted Ari’s mother in Laurel, who provided tags with Ari’s name to attach to the pillowcases, and in no time they had 70 pillowcases to donate.

    The finished pillow cases will be delivered to Batson Children’s Hospital in Jackson, Children’s Hospital in New Orleans, and St. Jude’s in Memphis.

At the Center

    Speaking of a gift that is never-ending ...

     The eight computers donated to Meridian Activity Center by the Lauderdale County Council on Aging in 2007 continue to educate and amaze seniors who are just now entering this technological age! It would not have happened without a godsend of an instructor named Tom Milhorn and his sister, Phyllis Millet, who are still teaching (Windows 7 and 8). Who knew that in such a short time we would be (now) using a small notebook or "tablet" to take pictures with, send e-mails or make searches?

    All those gadgets we saw in sci-fi movies and on "Star Trek" are coming to life ... in our lifetime! (No small wonder my office looks like it does; it hasn’t had time to catch up!"

    I would love to sing the praises of our newest technogeekie, but fear a stampede to take his classes. You who have already or are on a list for next year know to whom I refer.

    General public: You do know who to thank for all these wonderful people who give the gifts of love at such a nominal fee. Thank your city administration and staff. We are one of few cities in the state of Mississippi providing their public with such treasures at such a nominal fee. I will tell you if you will phone me on your small cell device. Thank you very much.

Halloween fun

    We are still looking for a bit of public creativity by rewording the title of a song or making up words to a song with a Halloween twist to promote a moment of glee or ghoulish laughter on Oct. 31.

    Send your entry to or snail-mail it to Meridian Activity Center at 3300 32nd Ave., Meridian, MS 39305. The winner of the best song will get a treat  (or, maybe a trick) if you dare leave your name. Entries must be received by Oct. 30.

Life writing class

    Life Writing class with Steve Owens begins one week later than originally planned – on Wednesday, from 10 a.m.-11:30 a.m. Call to let us know you plan to attend as class size is limited.

The old sew and sew

    Drag that old Singer sewing machine out of the closet, dust it off and bring it in on Thursday afternoon, from 1 p.m.-4 p.m. – or 5 p.m.. We’ll learn to clean out all that gunk on the bobbin, thread your needle and sew a straight line so that you can finally begin to make some neat Christmas decorations (wild stockings) or aprons, or even pajamas for yourself.

    Call (601) 485-1812 to register. You’ll have a blast being creative. Or not. Maybe just sewing straight lines.

Keep moving ...

    Don’t forget to exercise. Just because we are close to the holidays, we now have Zumba for those who can move to the beat; Slimnastics for the "I’ll take a little bit of everything;” two different yoga classes for the “I do it my way” set; strength training for those who can stand and exercise; and floor and seated class for those who cannot!

    Meridian Activity Center is open to adults 21 years and older. The fee for an eight-week class for a Meridian citizen is $20; if you live in the county it is $25. Seniors over the age of 55 pay half price.

    We are located in the heart of Meridian, off 29th Avenue and 36th Street – 3300 32nd Ave. – in the old Lamar Elementary School building. Phone (601) 485-1812 for information or if lost.

    • Barbara Wells is director of Meridian Activity Center. You may

e-mail her at