History is best learned by living it and seeing it in person

IRON MOUNTAIN — My mother has always told me that I have an old soul, and for many reasons, I’ve always believed her. I love books, and not just the beauty of holding a hardcover in your hands and flipping through its pages. No, I love the scent of books. They have a smell, especially ones you find at secondhand stores, where years of reading having occurred. I hate digital text, and I’m definitely that person who goes to the movies and comes out saying, “The book was better.”

I also love history. I could tell you any random fact about the Titanic that you’d want to know, I’ve read every single autobiography of the men from the 101st Airborne Division featured in “Band of Brothers” and watched the series more times than I care to admit; I stash old records on old shelves and scour the racks in stores searching for artists like James Taylor, Nat King Cole, and Michael Jackson.

After taking a film class in college, I bought an old Nikon camera from the ’80s and I refuse to put anything in it other than black and white film. I own saddle shoes, vintage hat boxes, and original posters from the first Broadway show of “Les Miserables.” While I love the past and fully engross myself in it as often as possible, I think what I really love is the knowledge I gain from looking at it. It comes as no surprise that with my love of learning comes a love of travel. Traveling is what allows me to see the world as it is and as it once was.

When I was growing up, my grandfather used to have a giant map in his office with pins and strings connecting all the places he’d been with my grandmother. I’d grown up hearing stories about how in France they couldn’t find a burger without an egg on it, in Katmandu on a safari camp, my grandma broke her leg and had to ride an elephant back to civilization, and in India on the way to the Taj Mahal they saw a camel carrying so much hay they could barely see his face. From a very young age, and without really realizing it, I fell in love with the world.

In college, my suitemate was Australian. We met and instantly hit it off. While we only lived in the same country for six months, we were so tight that the following summer I booked a flight to Brisbane, and together we jetted through Australia for two weeks. We walked the beaches of the Gold Coast, browsed the markets of Sydney, and fed kangaroos at Lone Pine Sanctuary. It was my first real trip on my own — I had no family with me, I made the extremely long flight by myself, I planned it all — and I was hooked.

Following that summer, I studied abroad in London with a literature group for a little over two weeks, and then backpacked my way through Europe alone for five more after that. With our educational group, we stayed in a beautiful bed and breakfast right near the Piccadilly tube stop, and did we ever live. We owned the embarrassing tourist double decker bus, explored the Tower, and went to all the museums. We shopped at Camden, sat in the highest seats at plays, ate in Covent Gardens, and saw the queen (she was in a car, wearing blue, and it was a perfectly unplanned moment). We traveled outside of the city to Oxford, Boscastle, Tintagel, and Stonehenge. We actually got to go inside of Stonehenge, one of the rarest of experiences.

On my free days, I visited the home of Charles Dickens, the Parent Trap house, and the Churchill War Rooms. For any World War II buff, the War Rooms are a must see. There are actual cubes of sugar on display, along with tea cups, from the original rooms. London, however, was only the beginning.

I then took a train from Kings Cross Station, sadly not from Platform 9 3/4 to Paris, where my travel loving grandparents and travel reluctant mother were waiting for me. I’d planned on going to the city of lights alone, and staying in a hostel as I did for the rest of my trip, but my grandmother has a greater love affair with France than even I, and she wanted to show me her Paris, which was nothing less than magnifique. We went to the Louvre, Normandy, Montmartre, and Versailles. I climbed the 422 steps to the top of Notre Dame, on a day that was pouring down rain and fog covered the city, but life was still present. My mother and I ate tiramisu from heaven at Café Panis, and we consumed so much onion soup I’m surprised we didn’t smell of it. I bought paintings along the Seine and sat for hours in the Shakespeare and Co. bookstore, reading and listening to the piano. My grandma and I would take walks after dinner, looking into the shop windows and admiring the fashion. She showed me her city, and I discovered mine

Then I went to Ireland, where I stayed for several days in Dublin and then in Galway. Dublin, though full of energy and excitement, was my least fulfilling venture. While there, I was able to go to the Giant’s Causeway, which is truly breathtaking, but hysterically, while I visited Dublin, so did President Obama. On the day that I’d planned to travel to Belfast to see the Titanic Museum, he was giving a speech, and the entire town was shut off. I then decided to go to Trinity College, but that was what Mrs. Obama was doing, and it too, was closed. The irony made for a wonderful story though.

Galway, however, was a dream. It was quaint, small, and lively. It had cobblestone streets, sidewalk vendors, string lights, and people that felt like home. I learned that the Claddagh originated there from a tinkery old man I met who loved to feed the birds on Sundays; he shared his bag with me, so I could make friends of the gulls too.

My final stop, before returning to London, was Scotland, where I once again met up with my Aussie. We stayed in Edinburgh, toured the Highlands, and the castle. We went on a haunted literary tour, and saw the Chariots of Fire beach. Throughout all of it, my trusty backpack Henry was with me. He took anything I threw at him, from new clothes to souvenirs for my family. He never gave out, until I arrived back in Michigan, where he promptly allowed his strap to snap.

While I haven’t traveled outside of the country in what feels like eons, my adventures haven’t stopped. My husband indulges my need to move around frequently, and we go up to the Copper Country, take a ride to Green Bay for the day, and hustle back to Chicago. My life has been full of blessings, and full of experiences. I’ve seen more than most people get to in their lifetime. I’m beyond grateful for the times I’ve had, but I don’t plan on letting that be all I do.

I love the world because it exposes me to ideas and wonder that I’ve never seen before. It expands my mind in a way that nothing else can. It brings the stories to life and the readings to fruition.

That is why I was so disappointed in Dublin, because I wasn’t able to really learn while I was there. History can be taught, shared, and instill a passion, but history is best learned from someone or something that’s experienced it. I can read about “the Blitz” all I want, but when I see the actual impact still left on statues in London, I’m able to better comprehend its magnitude.

My love of traveling the world came from a deep desire to understand it, and to see it with my own eyes. The amazing thing is that I will never know or see everything, no matter how hard I try or how many books I devour, but thankfully, my old soul will also never stop trying to.





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.; brouhaha, 1 p.m.; bingo, 2 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.; room visits, 1 p.m.; bingo, 2 p.m.; movie and popcorn, 3 p.m.

Thursday: Reading buddy, 10 a.m.; bible study, 11 a.m.; What’s that word?, 1 p.m.; pokerno, 2 p.m.

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

*For a complete weekly schedule, please contact the home.

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

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

Monday: Christmas photos of residents.

Tuesday: Shopping trip to Shopko.

Dec. 8: Auxiliary beer and pizza party with music.

Dec. 11: Musical Christmas caroling.

Dec. 13: Gifts from Santa party.

Dec. 15: Santa’s Elves.

Dec. 16: Iron County Girl Scouts caroling.

Dec. 18: Cookie decorating.

Dec. 19: Color light tour.

Dec. 20: Community breakfast.

Dec. 22: Christmas sing a long.

Dec. 29: Monthly birthday party.

Dec. 31: New Year’s Eve party



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, Sunday, 3 p.m.

Exercises, 10 a.m. daily.

Sunday: Just Jokes, 10:15 a.m.; Markham piano music, 2 p.m.; Protestant church, 3 p.m.

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

Tuesday: Who am I?, 10:15 a.m.; Christmas Wheel of Fortune, 2 p.m.; movie and a manicure, 5:45 p.m.

Wednesday: Remembering when, 10:15 p.m.; Christmas Name That Tune, 2 p.m.; Flip Five, 5:45 p.m.

Thursday: Bake sale, 10 a.m.; crosswords, 10:15 a.m.; good neighbor bingo, 2 p.m.; Crafts, 5:45 p.m.

Friday: ABC game, 10:15 a.m.; Catholic Mass, 2 p.m.; chips n’ chatter, 2:30 p.m.; movie, 3:15 p.m.; gathering place, 4:30 p.m.

Saturday: Wet your whistle, 9:30 a.m.; current events, 10:15 a.m.; gathering place, 11:40 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, second Monday of the month at 2 p.m.

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.; christian fellowship, 5:30 p.m.

Monday: Creative art, 10:15 a.m.; Family Feud, 2 p.m.; Baptist service, 6 p.m.

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

Wednesday: Trivia and coffee, 10:15 a.m.; Jan and Gino, 2 p.m.; bible stories, 3 p.m.; movie and popcorn, 6:15 p.m.

Thursday: Catholic Mass, 9 a.m.; Scattegories, 10:15 a.m.; gingerbread house making, 2 p.m.; Whammo, 6:15 p.m.

Friday: Christmas cookie decorating, 10:15 a.m.; happy hour, Ron Willinski, 2 p.m.

Saturday: Baking, 10:15 a.m.; pamper and polish 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.; kick ball, 3:30 p.m.

Tuesday: Play dough molds, 9 a.m.; puzzles, 9:45 a.m.; table ball, 10:15 a.m.; sing-a-long, 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.; kick ball, 3:30 p.m.

Saturday: 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.; 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: Tuesdays and Fridays at 10 a.m., must sign up.

Sunday: Packers vs. Buccaneers, noon; bible study, 2:30 p.m.; refreshments, 3 p.m.

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

Tuesday: Wheel of Fortune, 2 p.m.; refreshments, 3 p.m.

Wednesday: Golden Throats, 2 p.m.; refreshments, 3 p.m.

Thursday: Crosswords, 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: Hallelujah hands puppet show, 10 a.m.; Packers vs. Buccaneers, noon; bingo, 2 p.m.

Monday: Christmas tree decorating, 10 a.m.; bingo with Bette, 2 p.m.; Girl Scouts visit and cookie social, 3:30 p.m.

Tuesday: Yahtzee, 10 a.m.; music by Jan and Gino, 2 p.m.; one to one time, 3:30 p.m.

Wednesday: Balloon badminton, 10 a.m.; gingerbread houses with Valri, 2 p.m.; room visits, 3:30 p.m.; music by Grace and Dave, 6:30 p.m.

Thursday: Lutheran service, 10 a.m.; manicures, 2 p.m.; comedy hour, 3 p.m.

Friday: Catholic communion service, 10 a.m.; tabletop bowling, 2 p.m.; social hour, 3:30 p.m.

Saturday: Bingo, 9:30 a.m.; family Christmas party with music by Jan and Gino, 1:30 p.m.

Pinecrest Medical Care Facility


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

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

Rosary every Tuesday at 2:30 p.m.

Sunday: Grace church, 10 a.m.; shopping outing, 10 a.m.; cribbage, 2 p.m.; Packers game, noon; Packers party, 2 p.m.

Monday: Song 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.; decorating, 3:30 p.m.; Hallelujah Hands puppet team, 6:15 p.m.

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

Thursday: Exercise, 9:30 a.m.; Christmas music with Bob, 11 a.m.; bingo, 1:45 p.m.; cards, 3:30 p.m.; ball toss, 6 p.m.

Friday: Mass, 10 a.m.; fish fry outing, 3:30 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


*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 every Tuesday, Thursday and Friday at noon.

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 Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.; volunteers and donations are welcome.

Birthdays acknowledged every day.

Evening meals are held first and third Thursday of the month. Salad bar opens at 4 p.m. with dinner served 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. (a salad bar will be open at 4:30 p.m.). The dinner donation is $5 for those age 60 and over and $6 for those under age 60. There is a take-out container charge of $1. All persons are invited. 

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

Center is closed Thursday through Sunday. 

A site council meeting is held on the third Wednesday at 3 p.m. 

Crystal Lake Center


The center is closed on the 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, scrap bookers, etc. 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 are held on the second and fourth Friday’s of the month from 7 to 10 p.m. Admission is $6 and coffee is free.

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

Evening meals are usually on the second and fourth Tuesday of the month. They have a salad bar beginning at 4 p.m. with the meal beginning at 4:30 p.m. A donation of $4 is accepted for seniors (60 plus), but not required.

Home delivered meals are for seniors 60+ and 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 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Call the center to book your ride.

Felch Center


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

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

Congregate jigsaw puzzle done daily.

Aging and Disability Resource Center of Florence County


Director: Lori Friberg

Three senior dining locations are listed below:

Fence Center/Town Hall


Meal at noon on Wednesdays only. 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.

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.

Hermansville Center


Pam Haluska


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

Morning coffee is available each day

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

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 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. A treadmill is also available.

Friendly interaction with other crafters.

Iron River Center


Meals served Monday through Thursday from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.; $4 donation is encouraged (over 60) and $5 (required under 60).

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

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

Niagara Northwoods Senior

Cafe and Center

Corrie Maule, Meal Site Manager


Jill Anderson, Senior Center Director

715-251- 4154

Noon Meals served Monday through Thursday

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

We welcome any Senior groups who would like to use our meal site as their meeting place; join us for lunch and then stay to have your meeting or social time.

Wii games, cards, puzzles, board games available to play for your enjoyment

Other activities are in the works; your suggestions are always welcome.

If you have not tried our meal site/ senior center we invite you to give us a try. If you haven’t been here in a while, we encourage you to come back.

Norway Center

Director: Susie Slining


Monday through Thursday: Meals served at noon with salad bar. Soup is also available on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 11 a.m. Meal donation is $5. Make meal reservation in advance.

Milk, juice, bread, fruit, tea, and coffee served daily.

Two special theme noon meals each month with bingo, prizes, and 50/50.

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

Tuesday: TEFAP quarterly food distribution, 9 to 11 a.m. at the Iron Mountain Senior Center.

Wednesday: Blood pressure clinic 11 a.m. to noon.

Dec. 11: Center board meeting, 10 a.m.

Dec. 12: Winter dinner; cheese ravs, garlic bread, broccoli, soup and salad bar, fruit, juice, dessert. Bingo, prizes, 50/50; please sign up early.

Dec. 19: Christmas dinner; sliced roast beef, mashed potatoes, gravy, green bean casserole, fruit, juice, dessert; Bingo, prizes, 50/50; please sign up early.

Dec. 20: Blood pressure clinic, 11 a.m. to noon.

Dec. 21: Birthday club; have a birthday? Please join and have your picture taken.

Dec. 25: Center closed for Christmas.

Cards are played daily after the noon meal.

Craft and exercise classes: Mondays and Thursdays.

Ceramic and art classes: Wednesdays.

Puzzles always worked on.

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

Telephone reassurance is available. If you are a senior who doesn’t get out much and would like a friendly daily phone contact, the center will have someone check in 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. Your local MMAP Counselor can be reached at  1-800-803-7174, or dial 211.

Center membership cards are available for $5 at the front desk.

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.

Puzzle table for all to enjoy.