Thursday, July 21, 2016

"Aging as an Art Form" at Wesley Palms

Residents tell inspiring stories of life-changing events 

Don McEvoy is a storyteller. As a former civil rights activist in the 1960s, minister, church pastor, author and personal friend of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Don has numerous stories to share about himself and his work.

But one of his passions is telling the stories of others –particularly stories of his fellow Wesley Palms residents. 

“During my eight years living here I’ve met scores of fascinating people,” Don said. “I’ve concluded that everyone, yes, everyone, has a fascinating story that needs to be preserved. You can’t go to dinner here without meeting someone with an interesting tale. That’s why I collected the ‘wisdom tales’ from my friends, each of whom has mastered the art of aging with grace and style.”

These stories are collected in Don’s latest book, Aging as an Art Form: Through the Eyes of Residents of Wesley Palms. The book contains 50 stories, experiences and life lessons either self-written or told to Don through interviews.

Among Don’s favorite stories are: a career minor league baseball player who barely missed being a New York Yankee; an aeronautical engineer who was the one of the first women to be accepted in an aeronautical engineering study project at New York University; musings of a concert violinist who after retirement needed to decide what to do with her vintage Italian violin made in 1695. Other stories include a resident who until the age of 14 lived in a traveling sawmill/lumber camp with her parents and drew inspiration from their hard work to become a doctor, a celebrated surgeon who after losing his vision, rededicated his life to working with the blind. Don’s book relates numerous stories of love, tragedy, celebration and hope from artists, athletes, musicians, professionals and home makers.

“All of these stories give the reader insight about who these people really are and how their experiences, passions, triumphs and disappointments shaped their lives,” Don said. “If there is an overall theme it would be perseverance and courage. Every one of these stories points to how the story teller’s life experiences has contributed to him or her aging gracefully.”

Read selected stories from Aging as an Art Form here. 

Editor’s note: Aging as an Art Form is available from Outskirts Press and Proceeds from the book benefit the residents of Wesley Palms.

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