Meridian Star

March 23, 2014

‘Neverland’ is alive and well

By Barbara Wells
The Meridian Star

MERIDIAN — Returning to work at the Meridian Activity Center on Monday morning I wore the green “Born Lucky” T-shirt and Mickey Mouse “Happy St. Patrick’s Day” hat my sister told me I HAD to wear. I felt much like one of the merry pranksters, full of vim and vigor after a weekend in New Orleans.

    It wasn’t the same when I was living there – wonderful in memory naturally, but not as invigorating. My sister, Sister Al, is retired six years now and loves every minute not working. She is proud to be a "party girl." (The connotation has changed with age.) I’ve always thought I’d like to work as long as I could, but then I’ve been ‘born lucky" I guess, enjoying my workplace.

    So the idea of turning 65, retiring and taking classes at the center is certainly a tease to this young lady. But then, who else could do all the stuff I do here? Just kidding. It does make me wonder, though, what changes it would go through.

    Ten years ago when Lauren Mosley was ending her 30-year career at Meridian Parks and Recreation, this place was wide open for new ideas. Lauren began the senior activity programs in Meridian – at Bonita Lakes, Tuxedo and Highland Park – in the '70s. In those days, our seniors were very active politically; they often went by the busload over to Jackson to visit the governor and voice their opinions. They still voice their opinions, mind you.

    It was in those days that Mayor Jimmy Kemp formed the Lauderdale County Council on Aging. This group is now raising funds to continue providing activities during “May Is Older Americans Month.” This year, we will have the fish fry on the first Friday — May 2, rather than later, at the Frank Cochran Center. The health fair begins at 8 a.m. and goes until 11 a.m. They begin serving lunch at 11:3 a.m.  

    Be sure to tell your bank and doctor/hospital director, etc. about the month of May. It is a celebration of seniors – and we aren’t getting much to celebrate these days! They can send a contribution to the Meridian Activity Center, 3300 32nd Ave., Meridian, MS 39305. I am secretary on the Meridian Council on Aging Board; I’ll see that it goes to the fish fry.

Classes at MAC

    Cake decorating! Yes, cake decorating with Keith and Jean Houston begins Tuesday. At last we have enough people to have a class. It begins at 10:30 a.m. and goes until noon or so. The advantage of taking this class on Tuesday is that we usually serve a light lunch that day. (It’s not too late to join in; call me at (601) 485-1812).

    We are always interested in new classes at Meridian Activity Center. Our biggest problem is space. Until we open up more nights or Saturdays, it will always be a struggle. As it is, most of our classrooms service two or three classes during a week.

    Recently, we have had a request from Matthew Brown who is a Chi-Fit instructor. This is related to Tai Chi, which was once taught at the center by Lowell Hummer. This new mind and body exercise program will leave you energized, in better shape and more centered.

     Some of you in Meridian will remember Dr. Ken Staggs’ Tai Chi class (when he was a young fella) – it’s almost like a dance, slowly moving your arms and body around. Perfect for working on balance. Which all us old folks need to practice.

    We are now looking for a space for this class on a Monday evening (It is daylight now until 7:30 at night) in April. Well, it could possibly be on a Tuesday at 5:30 p.m., after our Zumba class. Call me if you would like to try. (601) 485-1812.

    This is only the second week of our free “Give It A Try” seated beginning yoga class on Mondays/Wednesdays/Fridays, beginning at 10 in the morning. It is primarily stretching while seated, though we do a few standing poses also to work on balance. It is an evolving class. Come with an open mind, please. Too easy for you? Then come to our other classes at 8:30 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. Mondays,  Wednesdays and Fridays.

    Monday night iPhone class begins next on April 7. This is a five-week class, from 6 p.m.-7:30 p.m. Remember, you need to pay before coming to class; just putting your name on the list will not give you a seat – and they are very valuable, the seats, I mean. (It’s a popular class)

    Besides our classes at Meridian Activity Center, we love meeting new people and introducing educational workshops. For instance, Becky Butler from Anderson Horizons Geri-Psych Center was telling me about a new service they provide for patients with congestive heart failure. It is especially beneficial in reducing emergency room visits for people with CHF (congestive heart failure).

    She is willing to teach a short class on all they have to offer at Horizons, which is located on the fifth floor of Anderson South (formerly Riley Hospital) —and the CHF Management Center, located on the first floor. Call me if interested and we’ll plan a class. (601) 485-1812. We are all about seniors!

    As most of you know already, our "Neverland" can be found by following signs posted at 29th Avenue and 36th Street, turning west on 36th, two blocks, left turn on 33nd Avenue – you will see our arched sign at the end of the block: Meridian Activity Center. 3300 32nd Ave. Phone (601) 485-1812 for information.

    Come in for a tour and to pick up a list of classes. We’d love to meet you!

    • Barbara Wells is director of Meridian Activity Center. You may e-mail her at