Cinematic marvels can bring magic into your life

IRON MOUNTAIN — Movies have always been a big part of my family. They’ve also been a large part of my relationship with my husband. When we were dating, Friday nights were our date nights, as every other night one of the two of us was working. Hence on Fridays, after we’d changed out of our business casual garb and grabbed something to eat, we’d go to the cinema. Over the holidays, when the extended family floods the town of Iron Mountain, it is usually tradition that at least some of us attend a film at the theater together.

This year, the flick of choice was “The Greatest Showman.” Some went to “Star Wars,” and my husband and I went to several others, but the largest group to go together went to the circus. My cousin got some dirty looks as she saved eight seats while we filled our popcorn buckets and soda cups, but fearlessly she warded off fellow movie goers, and we successfully sat together in the same row.

As I think back throughout the years, there are certain films that stick out in my mind as having memories beyond what I saw on the screen. When I was a kid, I used to watch the “Sound of Music” and “My Fair Lady” every year with my cousin, Allie. While munching on cookies that we’d snuck from the dining room, we would camp out in the upstairs of my grandparents’ house, plant ourselves in front of the old box TV, and watch the classic musicals. When Professor Higgins would come on the screen, we would boo and stick our feet on his face — we were very mature — and we’d scold Liesl as she danced with Rolf and thought he was everything her world had to offer. To this day, we have every song from those movies memorized, we still think Eliza should’ve picked Freddy, and we never understood how Maria was able to make that many outfits that fit perfectly out of two drapes.

Other Christmas vacation favorites are “Clue,” “Star Wars” and “Les Misérables,” as well as anything the Hallmark channel has to offer. In my immediate family, every year on the night that we decorate our tree, we watch “Home Alone”; we used to watch “Prancer,” but much to my mother’s dismay, several years ago she was outvoted. We also tend to squeeze in either “Miracle on 34th Street” or “The Grinch” on that night. When we take our annual ski trip, we always watch “Snowball Express.” My mom’s favorite part is when they’re in the middle of the snowmobile race, and a giant tumbleweed bush lands straight on them; she laughs uncontrollably. My grandfather’s favorite movie is “Dr. Zhivago,” and I learned the theme song on the piano for him, and my grandmother’s favorite movie is “Gone with the Wind.” Clark Gable will forever be timeless.

“The Princess Bride” is not only a favorite of my family but of my extended family in Florida as well. Both our families can recite the lines word for word, with or without the movie actually playing. When my husband and I first started dating, we watched the movie on a particularly frosty night in January, in my old Chicago apartment, and I turned to him and told him that there was a lot riding on whether or not he liked this movie, because if he didn’t, I may have had to reconsider our relationship. In reality, it wasn’t actually that serious, but thank goodness, he fell in love with it too. On my birthday two months later, he proudly gave me a shirt featuring the film, which is one of my favorite gifts ever received.

Thus, when it was time for us to decide which movie we’d be going to as a family this year, “The Greatest Showman” won out for multiple reasons, but most importantly, my grandmother wanted to see it. She’s always loved the circus, with its elephants, sparkle and mirage. As we all piled into our seats and shuffled around our massive coats and scarves, we’d all settled into the idea that the movie was going to be good, but none of us fully realized how great it would actually be. My uncle, who abhors musicals, came with because he did not realize it was a musical; even he liked it. My mother, who sat next to me and whispered her thoughts into my ear the entire time, couldn’t wait to come back with my dad, and I, emotionally wrecked person that I am, broke out in tears during one very particular song.

The bearded lady, arguably one of the most talented singers from the show, rallies her fellow performers in song about not allowing the world to shut them down simply based on the fact that they are different. She sings, “I won’t let them break me down to dust. I know that there’s a place for us, for we are glorious! When the sharpest words wanna cut me down…I’m gonna send a flood, gonna drown them out. I am brave, I am bruised, I am who I’m meant to be, this is me!

“Look out ’cause here I come. And I’m marching on to the beat I drum. I’m not scared to be seen; I make no apologies, this is me!” As she sang the words, and the other members of her circus family danced and sang with her, it was almost as if the message of the tune was meant for much more than the audience of that time. The words were an anthem for anyone who’d ever felt defeated or chastised, and so in that moment I was engrossed in the reality that I felt as though I was a parallel of the bearded lady, and that I was meant to be singing along with her.

P.T. Barnum says, “The noblest art is that of making others happy.” In some way, movies create magic. They make you feel something you weren’t sure how to feel, and realize ideas you thought you understood but really didn’t. They can make you laugh and cry, feel somber and joyous, and in some way, a film that is truly sensational will touch you. In “The Greatest Showman,” as a theater critic is talking to Mr. Barnum, he expresses how he “never much liked his show but that he always thought the people did,” and he compared the idea of putting all people, of different sizes, shapes and colors on one stage, to a “celebration of humanity.”

Human nature is built on connection. We desire to have relationships, either with friends, family, lovers, pets, ourselves, God, bosses — relationships are what help to make us human. Is it realistic, then, to say that our fascination with cinema can be derived from the hypothesis that film allows us to feel a connection, either to the story or characters, that then in turn allows us to better understand the relationship that we have with ourselves? While I’ve seen “The Greatest Showman” twice, and am dying to go again, it’s not because I want to overpay for candy. Rather, it is because I want to feel the way I felt watching the narrative for the first time. It is the same feeling I get when I’ve accomplished a goal I’ve been striving toward; the same sentiment I feel when I watch my sister play volleyball; the affection I have when I see my husband after work; the response I experience when a stranger tells me my writing has moved them; and the same pride I’ve experienced as a student shows me the grade they’ve received on a paper they’ve worked hard on: alive. With life being so complicated, where you’re filled with obstacles that try to break you down to dust, build a connection that will out live life’s frailty, and bear your bruises with honor, so that the greatest showman of your life is you.





Scenes and sounds, 11:45 a.m. Monday through Saturday.

Sunday: Scenes and sounds, noon; Uno, 1 p.m.; dunking donuts, 2 p.m.; church, 2:15 p.m.

Monday: Pretty nails, 10 a.m.; library cart, 11 a.m.; line dancers, 1:30 p.m.; ice cream social, 3 p.m.

Tuesday: Crafts, 10 a.m.; reminisce, 1:15 p.m.; Kentucky Derby, 2 p.m.

Wednesday: Room visits, 10 a.m.; rosary, 11 a.m.; bingo, 2 p.m.; movie and popcorn, 3 p.m.

Thursday: Reading buddy, 10 a.m.; Bible study, 11 a.m.; What’s the word?, 1 p.m.; Crystal Hogan, 2 p.m.

Friday: What’s cooking, 11 a.m.; Bunko, 1 p.m.; Golden K bingo, 2 p.m.; happy hour, 3 p.m.

Saturday: Meet and greet, 10:30 a.m.; spinning records, 11 a.m.; Daily News, 1 p.m.; bingo, 2 p.m.

Iron County Medical Facility

Crystal Falls

Room visits, 1 p.m., Monday, Wednesday, Friday.

Exercise, 11 a.m., Monday, Wednesday, Friday.

Sunday: One-to-one church visitors, 8:30 to 11 a.m.; Yahtzee, 10 a.m.; room visits, 9 to 11 a.m.; bingorama, 2 p.m.; Church of Christ, 3 p.m.

Monday: Crafts, 9 to 10:30 a.m.; bingo, 2 p.m.; Sunshine Club, 2:30 p.m.

Tuesday: CF library, 9:30 a.m.; Book Club ,10 a.m.; travel film, 1:30 p.m.; current events, 2 p.m.; romance movie, 6 p.m.

Wednesday: Coffee social, 10 a.m.; travel club, 10 a.m.; Amasa Senior Center, 10 a.m.; Name that word, 2 p.m.; night bingo, 6 p.m.

Thursday: Puzzler, 9:30 a.m.; bowling, 10 a.m.; wildlife film, 1 p.m.; Christ United, 2 p.m.; happy hour, 2:30 p.m.

Friday: Crafts, 9 to 10:30 a.m.; Hawaiian luau, 2 p.m.; island movie, 6 p.m., dress tropical.

Saturday: “Price is Right,” 10 a.m.; pass the prize, 10 a.m.; geri-gym, 11 a.m.; intergenerational social hour, 2 p.m.



Wet your whistle, 9:30 a.m. daily.

Movie, 10:45 a.m. daily, and 3:15 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Gathering place, 11:40 a.m. Saturday and Sunday, and 11:40 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Popcorn Day Fridays.

Protestant Church service, 3 p.m. Sunday.

Exercises, 10 a.m. daily.

Sunday: Just jokes, 10:15 a.m.; morsels and more, 1:30 p.m.; Protestant church, 3 p.m.

Monday: Who, what, when, 10:15 a.m.; bingo, 2 p.m.; movie, 3:15 p.m.; pokeno, 5:45 p.m.

Tuesday: All shook up match, 10:15 a.m.; Lutheran church, 2 p.m.; movie and a manicure, 5:30 p.m.

Wednesday: Remembering when, 10:15 a.m.; Golden Throats entertain, 2 p.m.; Flip Five, 5:45 p.m.

Thursday: Crosswords, 10:15 a.m.; Golden K bingo, 2 p.m.

Friday: ABC game, 10:15 a.m.; Catholic Mass, 2 p.m.; chips n’ chatter, 2:30 p.m.

Saturday: Current events, 10:15 a.m.; bingo, 2 p.m.; movie, 3:15 p.m.

Maryhill Manor

Niagara, Wis.

Rosary, 8:30 a.m. Monday through Friday.

Parachute, 1:30 p.m. daily.

Monthly support group for grief and loss, 2 p.m. second Monday of the month.

Weekend pet visits.

Sunday: Rosary, 8:30 a.m.; Catholic Mass, 9 a.m.; bingo, 10:15 a.m.; tee time golf, 1:30 p.m.; Protestant service, 2:30 p.m.;

Monday: Nickel joker-eno, 10:15 a.m.; fun facts, 2 p.m.

Tuesday: Bingo, 10:15 a.m.; resident council, 2 p.m.; Yahtzee, 6:15 p.m.

Wednesday: Bag toss, 10:15 a.m.; jokereno, 2 p.m.; Chaplet of Divine Mercy, 3 p.m.; movie and popcorn, 6:15 p.m.

Thursday: Catholic Mass, 9 a.m.; Scattergories, 10:15 a.m.; derby day, 2 p.m.; Whammo, 6:15 p.m.

Friday: Exercise and trivia, 10:15 a.m.; happy hour, 2 p.m.

Saturday: Pamper and polish, 10:15 a.m.; pamper and polish, 2 p.m.; coffee social, 2 p.m.

Maryhill Manor, Alzheimer’s Unit

Niagara, Wis.

Bread making, noon daily.

Chicken soup, Communication Program, 4 p.m. daily.

Sensory Group, 6 p.m. daily.

Movie, 6:30 p.m. daily.

Sunday: Table ball, 9 a.m.; puzzles, 9:45 a.m.; Bible stories, 10:15 a.m.; sing-a-long, 12:15 p.m.; bowling, 1 p.m.; bingo, 2 p.m.; balloon ball, 3:30 p.m.

Monday: Table ball, 9 a.m.; spelling bee, 9:45 a.m.; Bible stories, 10:15 a.m.; old TV shows, 12:15 p.m.; Animal Kingdom, 1 p.m.; pamper and polish, 2 p.m.; kickball, 3:30 p.m.

Tuesday: Play dough molds, 9 a.m.; puzzles, 9:45 a.m.; table ball, 10:15 a.m.; sing-along, 12:15 p.m.; foot soaks, 1 p.m.; creative art, 2 p.m.; balloon ball, 3:30 p.m.

Wednesday: Play dough molds, 9 a.m.; spelling bee, 9:45 a.m.; coloring, 10:15 a.m.; old TV shows, 12:15 p.m.; through the years, 1 p.m.; pamper and polish, 2 p.m.; golf, 3:30 p.m.

Thursday: Table ball, 9 a.m.; puzzles, 9:45 a.m.; Bible stories, 10:15 a.m.; sing-a-long, 12:15 p.m.; foot soaks, 1 p.m.; men’s group, 2 p.m.; parachute, 3:30 p.m.

Friday: Play dough molds, 9 a.m.; spelling bee, 9:45 a.m.; coloring, 10:15 a.m.; old TV shows, 12:15 p.m.; creative art, 1 p.m.; happy hour/music and memory, 2 p.m.; kickball, 3:30 p.m.

Saturday: Table ball, 9 a.m.; puzzles, 9:45 a.m.; Bible stories, 10:15 a.m.; sing-along, 12:15 p.m.; foot soaks, 1 p.m.; bowling, 2 p.m.; parachute, 3:30 p.m.

Victorian Pines

Iron Mountain

Exercise, 11 a.m. Monday through Friday.

Juice pass, 10 a.m. daily.

Shopping days: 10 a.m. Tuesdays and Fridays, must sign up.

Sunday: Bible study, 2:30 p.m.; refreshments, 3 p.m.

Monday: Bingo, 2 p.m.; refreshments, 3 p.m.

Tuesday: Music with Crystal, 2 p.m.; refreshments, 3 p.m.

Wednesday: Bingo, 2 p.m.; refreshments, 3 p.m.

Thursday: Left, center, right, 2 p.m.; rosary, 3 p.m.

Friday: Bingo, 2 p.m.; refreshments, 3 p.m.

Saturday: Movie and popcorn, 2 p.m.

Florence Health Services

Florence, Wis.

Sunday: Bingo, 10 a.m.; Old Maid cards, 2 p.m.

Monday: Poetry reading, 10 a.m.; bingo with Bette, 2 p.m.; room visits, 3:30 p.m.

Tuesday: Resident council meeting, 9:45 a.m.; horticulture, 2 p.m.

Wednesday: Catholic Mass and rosary, 9:30 a.m.; balloon badminton, 2 p.m.; room visits, 3:30 p.m.; music by Grace and Dave, 6:30 p.m.

Thursday: Lutheran service, 10 a.m.; lunch outing to Barb’s Cafe, 11 a.m.; tree paintings, 2 p.m.

Friday: Yahtzee, 10 a.m.; omnicord sing-along, 2 p.m.; social hour, 3:30 p.m.

Saturday: Bingo, 10 a.m.; kings in the corner card game, 2 p.m.

Pinecrest Medical Care Facility


Life connections, 9:45 a.m. every Monday.

Busy bee, 12:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Rosary 2:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Sunday: Grace church, 10 a.m.; Pictionary, 10 a.m.; cribbage, 2 p.m.; manicures, 2 p.m.

Monday: Worship and communion service, 1:30 p.m.; decorating, 3:30 p.m.; bowling, 6 p.m.

Tuesday: Resident council, 10 a.m.; happy hour, 2:30 p.m.; Scattergories, 3:30 p.m.; one-to-one visits, 6 p.m.

Wednesday: Casino outing, 10 a.m.; Jim Clement entertains, 2 p.m.; social circle, 3:30 p.m.

Thursday: Cards, 3:30 p.m.; ball toss, 6 p.m.

Friday: Mass, 10 a.m.; bingo, 2 p.m.

Saturday: Coffee social, 10 a.m.; crafts, 10 a.m.; bingo, 2 p.m.; balloon toss, 2 p.m.

Victorian Heights

Crystal Falls


*Activities director out on leave. Please call the home for additional information.


Note: All centers ask for 24-hour advanced reservations for lunch. If you have meals delivered and will not be home, notify the center.

Alpha-Mastodon Center


Meal noon every Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.

Amasa Center


Open Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

Lunch at noon.

Bingo on Tuesdays.

Free meal drawing on Thursdays.

Breen Center


Meals Monday through Friday.

Cards and games available 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 2 p.m.

Hostess on duty Monday through Friday.  

Treats and coffee, 8:30 to 11:30 a.m.

Center retail store is open 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday; volunteers and donations are welcome.

Birthdays acknowledged every day.

Evening meals are on the first and third Thursday of the month. Salad bar opens at 4 p.m., with dinner at 5 p.m. Donations are $4 for those 60 and older and $5 for 60 and younger.

Blood pressure and blood sugar testing every fourth Wednesday.

Crystal Falls Center

Head Cook, Tracy West


Meals will be served on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 5 p.m., with the salad bar opening at 4:30 p.m. The dinner donation is $5 for those age 60 and older and $6 for those younger than 60. There is a $1 charge for take-out containers. All are invited. 

Cribbage will be played at 1 p.m. Wednesdays and be concluded in time for dinner.

The center is closed Thursday through Sunday. 

A site council meeting takes place at 3 p.m. on the third Wednesday of the month. 

A blood pressure reading can be taken by request at any time while the center is open.

Monday: Soup, salad, chicken, broccoli, alfredo over noodles, homemade dessert.

Tuesday: Soup, salad, pancakes, scrambled eggs, sausage, homemade dessert.

Wednesday: Soup, salad, pork and sauerkraut, pierogis, homemade dessert.

Crystal Lake Center


The center is closed on weekends.

Monday: Woodcarvers, 10 a.m.; mahjong in dining hall, noon; Les Artistes Art Club, noon; Bridge Club, 12:15 p.m.

Tuesday and Thursday: Pinochle, 12:30 p.m.

Tuesday, Thursday and Friday: Billiards, 9:30 a.m.

Wednesday: Spinning Spools Quilters Guild, 1 p.m., crafters, scrapbookers and others also welcome; knitting and crocheting class, 1 to 3 p.m.

Friday: Smear, 12:30 p.m.

Last Saturday of the month: Music jam starting at 1 p.m. Admission is free.

Dances take place from 7 to 10 p.m. on the second and fourth Fridays of the month. Admission is $6; coffee is free.

The Photo Club meets 1 to 3 p.m. on the first Tuesday of the month.

Evening meals are usually on the second and fourth Tuesday of the month. Salad bar opens at 4 p.m., with the meal served at 4:30 p.m. A donation of $4 is accepted for seniors age 60 and older but not required.

Home-delivered meals are for seniors 60 and older can be delivered seven days a week. Suggested donation is $4 per meal. For information, call Chris Tramotin at 906-774-2256, ext. 235.           

Transportation is available from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Call the center to book a ride.

Felch Center


Meals served at 11:30 a.m. Monday through Wednesday.

Bingo after lunch on the first and third Wednesday of each month.

A congregate jigsaw puzzle is done daily.

Aging and Disability Resource Center of Florence County


Director: Tiffany White

Suggested donation for seniors older than 60 is $4 per meal. Residents younger than 60 must pay $7. Reservations and cancellations needed 48 hours in advance.

The ADRC can assist area seniors and those with disabilities with transportation Monday through Friday. Transportation reservation should be made with meal reservation.

Four senior dining locations are listed below:

Fence Center/Town Hall


Meal at noon Wednesdays only. Reservations are requested. Cribbage and cards are available.

Florence Community Center/Town Hall


Meal is served at 11:30 a.m. Monday through Friday. 

Jigsaw puzzles, cards, cribbage and board games are available. The coffee is always on as well.

Senior Dining Center-NWTC, Aurora


Serving lunch at 11:30 am, Monday through Thursday

Tipler Town Hall


Serving lunch at noon on the second Thursday of the month.

Hillcrest Senior Dining Center, Aurora


Meal is served at 11:30 a.m. Monday through Thursday. Jigsaw puzzles, cribbage, cards and board games are available. The coffee is always on as well.

Hermansville Center

Coordinator: Pam Haluska


Meal is at noon Monday through Friday. Suggested donation is $3 for age 60 and older and $7 for those younger than 60.

Morning coffee is available daily.

Fifteen games of “fun bingo” are played each Tuesday and Friday, along with a 50/50 drawing.

Tuesday: Bingo, 12:45 p.m.

Wednesday: Cards played in the afternoon. Call ahead to see if a game will be going on.

Friday: Bingo, 12:45 p.m.

Monday through Friday: Walking in the gym, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. A treadmill also is available.

Friendly interaction with other crafters.

Iron River Center


Meals served 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday; a $4 donation is encouraged from those 60 and older, and a $5 payment is required from those younger than 60.

Thursday meal, 4 p.m. salad bar, with dinner at 4:30 p.m.

DICSA operates all meals and transportation out of the Iron River Center. Rides are $2.50 donation for age 60 and older, and $3 required for younger than 60. Call 906-265-6134 to schedule a ride

Niagara Northwoods Senior Cafe and Center

Corrie Maule, Meal site manager, 715-251-1603

Jill Anderson, senior center director, 715-251- 4154

Noon meals served Monday through Thursday.

Transportation to the meal site from the Niagara, Wis., area is offered.

They welcome any senior groups that would like to use the meal site as a meeting place — join them for lunch and then stay for a meeting or social time.

Wii games, cards, puzzles and board games are available to play.

Other activities are in the works — suggestions are always welcome.

Those who have not been at the meal site/senior center are invite to give it a try. Those who haven’t been here in awhile are encourage to come back.

Norway Center

Director: Susie Slining


Monday through Thursday: Meals served at noon, with salad bar. Soup also is available at 11 a.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Milk, juice, bread, fruit, tea, and coffee served daily. Meal donation is $5. Reservation for the meal should be made in advance.

Two special-themed meals take place each month, with bingo, prizes and a 50/50 drawing.

Two evening meals offered at 5 p.m. on the first Monday and third Wednesday of the month, with bingo, prizes and a 50/50.

Cards are played daily after the noon meal.

Craft and exercise classes: Mondays and Thursdays.

Ceramic and art classes: Wednesdays.

Puzzles always in the works.

A senior coloring class meets daily. All are welcome. Some materials will be provided.

Monday — Noon meal, with tater tot casserole, peas, salad bar, fruit, juice and dessert.

Monday — Evening meal at 5 p.m. with company chicken dinner, mashed potatoes and gravy, vegetables, soup and salad bar and dessert. Bingo with prizes will be played. They also will have a 50/50 drawing.

Telephone reassurance is available for any senior who doesn’t get out much and would like a friendly daily phone check to see that all is well.

Note: A CSFP food card (green card) is available to income-eligible seniors. Make an appointment to get signed up. File of Life packets available at the center.

Note: Ask about the Medicare Savings Program. This program helps people pay their Medicare part B premium. You may be eligible. The local MMAP counselor can be reached at 1-800-803-7174, or dial 211.

Sagola Center


Meals: Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, 11:45 a.m.

Cards: Tuesday and Wednesday and Thursday.

Commodities every other month and quarterly commodities are every three months.

A puzzle table is available to enjoy.

Volunteers are always welcome.