New senior columnist wants to hear your stories

NIAGARA, Wis. — Retirement has many different meanings for people and evokes a broad array of emotional responses.

I know first-hand what retirement can mean — I am 67 and have been retired since May 2016 from a job I loved for 28 years.

The importance of having a “good job” was something that had been drilled into me and all of my siblings since we were old enough to work. I began babysitting at age 10, and had my first summer job when I was 14. I was so excited and took great pride in buying all of my own school clothes that year with my own money. Life was good when you were working. And I grew up believing that no matter how difficult the problem, it could be solved as long as you had a job.

I completed college and began what I considered a typical life. By the time I was 35, after a few twists and turns, life was pretty good. I had been married for 15 years to a wonderful husband. We were both gainfully employed, had two children who were healthy and pretty typical for their ages, and had put down roots in Niagara. What did I have to complain about?

Yet I was feeling very discontent with my life. By the time I hit 40, my oldest son described our situation pretty accurately when he said, “Two parents in their midlife crisis, one kid in adolescence and another in puberty. What a household!”

It was at that time that I found Gail Sheehy’s book, “Passages,” that she had published in 1974. It had been a ground-breaking bestseller, and it was just what I needed at the time. It dealt with the predictable crises that occur in adult life. Everyone was very familiar with the stages in a child’s life: the terrible 2s, puberty and adolescence. Parents everywhere had stories of helping their children through the growing pains associated with each of these stages and willingly shared tips and strategies for keeping their parental sanity.

But until Sheehy published her book, no one had a handle on why they felt a certain way as they travelled through adulthood. And they certainly had very little knowledge of how any of their peers felt, because once one attained the age of 21, they were simply declared adult with all of the privileges and expectations that came with that title.

In this first book, Sheehy penned chapters with titles such as “The Urge to Merge,” “Beginnings of the Couple Puzzle” and “The Deadline Decade” as ways to define the struggles of growing up in and through the adult years. Her final chapter in this first book dealt with what we typically refer to as the senior years and was titled, “Renewal.”

When I first found this book, I was 35 and did not read that last chapter. I did, however, read the section titled “Deadline Decade” and was most relieved to learn that I was normal! The book helped me to make the changes I needed to make at the time, and I was much happier after that. I found the job that would take me to retirement.

Fast forward 20 years to 1995, when Sheehy published a second book, “New Passages,” on the same general topic. By that time, Sheehy herself had made the journey through much of her adulthood and had some new insights to share. Plus, she had interviewed hundreds of people who had made that journey with her. Why a second book? What changed? As one reviewer stated: “‘New Passages’ has a lot to interest the reader who wants to know how to live the rest of a life that may last much longer than in the past and that may have to be lived with fewer economic resources.”

In her updated book, Sheehy acknowledges that how a person travels through life greatly depends on the generation with whom they are traveling. She cites five different generations and defines how their journeys differ due to the attitudes developed by each in response to the challenges they have faced. She speaks of two examples of aging, with such descriptive phrases as the “Sage Seventies” and the “Celebratory Centenarians.” Now those are chapters I will read!

By now, you may be asking yourselves, “Why is she going on and on about these books? Is this column going to be book reviews now or what?” The answer to that is simply “no.”

But I did need to set the stage for how this column is going to change as we travel this journey of aging together.

The retirement years will now be the primary focus of this column. I am just beginning this journey, but I suspect many of you have been on it for awhile and have lots of stories to share and advice you could give. This column will not be just about me, although from time to time I may share some personal stories. It will mostly be about you and the people in our communities who are of similar age. It will tell their stories and show how they now are making the most of the later chapters of their lives.

It will also provide a description of the many resources available locally that can help all of us experience a life well-lived in our later years.

How did you approach retirement? How did you prepare yourself for the run to the finish line of life? Do you have a story to share? Advice to give? Do you know of someone who has a story? I am sure you do, and I am also sure they are all stories worth telling.

What are you doing now that you are retired? How did you prepare for retirement? Whether you travel, plant a big garden, knit socks or have started an entire second chapter in your life, I want to hear from you. We will have a nice chat, and I will help you tell your story.

This is your column, and we can make it something to look forward to each week as we travel this retirement road of discovery together.

Contact smkillian1969@gmail.com or 715-251-4694 or 1040 Prospect St., Niagara, WI 54151.





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

Sunday: Uno, 1 p.m.; dunking donuts, 2 p.m.; church, 2:15 p.m.

Monday: Room visits, 10 a.m.; brouhaha, 11 a.m.; line dancers, 1:30; ice cream social, 3 p.m.

Tuesday: Craft, 10:30 a.m.; reminisce, 1:15 p.m.; Kentucky Derby, 2 p.m.; PJ dice, 6:30 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,11 a.m.; Bible study, 1:30 p.m.; Crystal Hogan, 2 p.m.; laundry day, 4 p.m.; dinner theater, 5 p.m.

Friday: What’s cooking, 11 a.m.; Catholic Mass, 2 p.m.; sing along, 2:30 p.m.; happy hour, 3 p.m.; Valentine’s dinner, 5 p.m.

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

Iron County Medical Facility

Crystal Falls

Room visits: 9 to 11 a.m. Sundays and 1 p.m. Monday, Thursday, Friday

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

Crafts: 9 to 10:30 a.m. Monday and Friday

Sunday: One-to-one church visitors, 8:30 to 11 a.m.; hang man, 10 a.m.; afternoon matinee with popcorn, 1:30 p.m.; Church of Christ, 3 p.m.

Monday: Bingo, 2 p.m.; Sunshine Club, 2:30 p.m.

Tuesday: Book club, 10 a.m.; prayer, 10 a.m.; mystery ride travel film, 1:30 p.m.; current events, 2 p.m.; Western movie, 6 p.m.

Wednesday: Coffee social/ball selection, 9 to 10:30 a.m.; getting pretty 1:15 pm.; Men’s Club, 2 p.m.; night bingo, 6 p.m.

Thursday: Hair and party prep, dress delivery, 9:30 to 11 a.m.; Valentine’s ball music and fun 2 p.m.; romance movie, 6 p.m.

Friday: Wii Fun, 2 p.m.; Web browsing, 2:30 p.m.

Saturday: Puzzler puzzle time, 10 a.m.; Geri-Gym, 11 a.m.; intergenerational social hour, 2 p.m.



Wet Your Whistle, 9:30 a.m. daily.

Exercise, 10 a.m. daily

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

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

Popcorn Day every Friday

Sunday: Just jokes, 10:15 a.m.; “Company’s Coming,” room visits, 1:30 p.m.; Protestant church, 3 p.m.

Monday: Did you know, 10:15 a.m.; bingo, 2 p.m.; po-ke-no, 5:45 p.m.

Tuesday: Trivia, 10:15 a.m.; Lutheran church, 2 p.m.; movie and manicure, 5:45 p.m.

Wednesday: Sharpen your senses, 10:15 a.m.; Valentine’s party with the Golden Throats, 2 p.m.; flip five, 5:45 p.m.

Thursday: Crosswords, 10:15 a.m.; bingo, 2 p.m.; crazy for cards, 5:45 p.m.

Friday: Finish lines, 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

Maryhill Manor

Niagara, Wis.

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

Sunday: Catholic Mass, 9 a.m.; Derby Day, 10:15 a.m.; bingo, 1:30 p.m.; Protestant service, 2:30 p.m.; Christian fellowship, 5:30 p.m.

Monday: Shopping outing, 9:30 am; Valentine craft, 10:15 a.m.; nickel jokereno, 2 p.m.

Tuesday: Rummage bingo, 10:15 a.m.; resident council, 2 p.m.; you be the judge, 2:30 p.m.; Yahtzee, 6:15 p.m.

Wednesday: Protestant service, 9 a.m.; baking, 10:15 a.m.; jokereno, 2 p.m.; Chaplet of Divine Mercy, 3 p.m.; “Family Feud,” 6:15 p.m.

Thursday: Catholic Mass, 9 a.m.; Scattegories, 10:15 a.m.; Valentine social, 2 p.m.; concert by Crystal Hogan, 6:30 p.m.

Friday: Exercise, 10:15 a.m.; hippo trivia, 10:30 a.m.; happy hour with Ray and Mindy, 2 p.m.

Saturday: Baking, 10:15 a.m.; pamper and polish, 2 p.m.; bingo, 5:45 p.m.

Victorian Pines

Iron Mountain

Juice time, 10 a.m. Monday through Saturday

Exercise, 11 a.m. Monday through Friday.

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

Sunday: Coffee clutch, 10 a.m.; Bible study, 1:30 p.m.; refreshments, 3 p.m

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

Tuesday: Birthday party, 2 p.m.; refreshments, 3 p.m.

Wednesday: Catholic Mass, 2 p.m.; refreshments, 3 p.m.

Thursday: Music with The Girls, 2 p.m.; rosary, 3 p.m.

Friday: Birthday party, 2 p.m.

Saturday: Movie and popcorn, 2 p.m.

Florence Health Services

Florence, Wis.

Morning news, 6 a.m. daily.

Beauty shop open on Tuesday and Thursday.

Sunday: Bingo, 10 a.m.; Music with Grace and Dave, 2 p.m.

Monday: Bingo with Bette, 10 a.m.; send out Valentines, 2 p.m.; reminisce, 6 p.m.

Tuesday: Tom Palmer, 2 p.m.; social hour, 3 p.m.

Wednesday: Manicures, 2 p.m.; room visits, 3 p.m.

Thursday: Pastor Jason, 10 a.m.; Valentine’s couple’s lunch, 11 a.m.; taco bar lunch, noon; reminisce, 6 p.m.

Friday: Catholic Mass, 10 a.m.; craft, 2 p.m.; one-to-one visits, 3 p.m; flippo, 6 p.m.

Saturday:  Bingo, 10 a.m.; movie and popcorn, 2 p.m.; reading, 6 p.m.

Pinecrest Medical  Care Facility


Busy Bee, 12:45 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Sunday: Grace Church, 10:15 a.m.; ball toss, 10:30 a.m.; Lutheran service, 2 p.m.; life stories, 3:30 p.m.

Monday: Life connections, 9:45 a.m.; worship and communion service, 1:30 p.m.; rosary, 2:30 p.m.; bean bag toss, 3:30 p.m.; checkers, 6 p.m.

Tuesday: Baking group, 10:30 a.m.; bingo, 1:45 p.m.; Pictionary, 3:30 p.m.; book cart, 6 p.m.

Wednesday: Valentine party prep, 10:30 a.m.; Valentine party with Jim Clements, 2 p.m.; rummy, 3:30 p.m.

Thursday: Valentine’s Day breakfast, 8 a.m.; bingo, 1:45 p.m.; cards, 3:30 p.m.; “Trouble” board game, 6 p.m.

Friday: Catholic Mass, 10:30 a.m.; social circle, 2 p.m.; one-to-one visits, 6 p.m.

Saturday:  Karaoke, 10 a.m.; trivia, 10:30 a.m.; ice cream social, 2 p.m.; Reminiscing, 3:30 p.m.


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 at 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.

Pasty sale every third Saturday of the month — except on holidays. 

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.

Crystal Falls Center

Head cook: Lucy Korhonen


Closed indefinitely due to a small fire. Clean-up is underway and then approval of the health department will be needed before reopening. We apologize for any inconvenience.

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. 

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. Christine McMahon has information for all meals and can be reached at 906-774-2256, ext. 235. For transportation, call Buzzin’ Around Town at 906-282-0492. Rides are $3 for age 60 and older, and $3.50 for younger than 60. 

Transportation is available from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. 

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. 

Fence Center/Town Hall


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

Florence Community Center/Town Hall


Home-delivered meals are available as always. Meal is served at 11:30 a.m. at the center on Friday only. The meal site is temporarily closed Monday through Thursday due to a staffing shortage.

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. Transportation arrangements can be made to and from the meal site.

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

Enjoy friendly interaction with other crafters.

Iron River Center


Meals served 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Monday through Wednesday; a $4 donation is encouraged from those 60 and older, and a $5 payment is required from those younger than 60. Thursday meal, 3:30 p.m. soup, 4 p.m. salad bar, with dinner at 4:30 to 5:30 p.m.

A seminar open to the public will be on Thursday at the center. Speakers will be orthopedic Dr. Harold Cline at 4:45 p.m. on learning how to take care of balance, fall prevention and exercising; and Michigan State Police Trooper Geno Basanese at 5:15 p.m. on scams. The Iron County Authority on Aging Board sponsors this seminar. Reservations are requested by Wednesday by calling 906-265-6134 for the salad buffet at 4 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. supper of barbecue chicken, mashed potatoes, cheesy cauliflower and dessert. A $4 donation is suggested.

Niagara Northwoods Senior Cafe and Center

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

Senior center director: Jill Anderson, 715-251- 4154

Noon meals served Monday through Thursday. Transportation is available to the meal site for those living in the Niagara area. We welcome any senior groups who would like to use the meal site as a meeting place — join us 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 invited to give it a try. Those who haven’t been here in a while are encouraged 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 on Tuesday, 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 drawing.

If Norway-Vulcan are schools are closed due to bad weather, so is the senior center. If the schools are on a two-hour delay, the center remains open. 

Cards are played daily after the noon meal.

Craft and exercise classes are on Mondays and Thursdays.

Ceramic and art classes are on Wednesdays.

Puzzles always in the works.

Note: File of Life packets available at the center.

Sagola Center


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

Special note: The center will be closed for the remainder of February – the cook is on vacation.