United Presbyterian Home
Friends and members of the class of 1949 from West Liberty High School came down Monday, Sept. 23, to visit and have lunch with Jane Vetter They reminisced about their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren and talked about their former teachers and classmates. Those visiting were Doris Ryan and granddaughter of Cedar Rapids, Shirley Schafnit of Bettendorf, and Marjorie Melick and Virginia Kron of Riverside. These ladies visit each fall but this time report that they will return in the spring.
Veeda Javid, a Pakistanian, spoke on Wednesday afternoon in the Campbell Room. She had especially requested an opportunity to come to UP Home, due to her relationship with former UP Home resident Laura McLaughlin. Laura served as a missionary in Pakistan before retiring to the UP Home where she met and married Mr. Milne. Veeda is especially endeared to the UP Home because of them and makes a special effort to visit the UP Home in their memory each time she is in this area.
Veeda thanked all retired missionaries of every denomination for their years of service in mission work which included medical, educational and other humanitarian assistance. She began by telling of her gratitude to missionaries who felt a school should be established in every village and aiding school children there. She applauded those who had thus trained her mother. This gave her mother the sensitivity to train her own children and to improve their own lifestyle. Veeda felt privileged to have learned from her mission-trained mother and then later to have received a scholarship to attend a mission school.
Veeda’s home is in the Punjab (central Pakistan), where the Presbyterian mission work began in the 1800s. As mission workers of all denominations worked together, the government recognized the importance of mission school and hospitals established for the good of their people. The Presbyterian work began with 16 schools. Today there are over 256 village schools. The Pakistani Presbyterian Church gradually took over the educational work and established its own board. Veeda chairs this board of education which has seen the number of village schools for both boys and girls increase. Secondary schools have also been established.
In 1999, the Pakistani government took over schools of all missions. When they did not maintain them, both the buildings and the academic standards fell into shambles. The government turned back the dilapidated properties to the former owners. Mission churches agreed to accept them only if their church names could be included in the land title and the name of the board of education. After several years of waiting, the government agreed. Thus the Presbyterian Board of Education was formed. As schools increased in numbers, they needed more buildings and departments, especially science and math departments. In 2003, the United Presbyterian Church of Washington and First Presbyterian of Iowa City donated a large addition. Laura McLaughlin Milne donated $27,000 for this addition to the school in Pashur, Veeda’s hometown.
Veeda went on to give updates on two suicide bomber attacks on churches in northwestern Pakistan the Sunday before. Some of her father’s family were killed, as were four schoolteachers. Veeda had no details on the recent earthquake in southern Pakistan but stressed the need of prayers for the government and people of Pakistan as well as the churches.
The Rev. Dr. Ed Morgan, pastor of Iowa City First Presbyterian Church when the addition to Pashur School was made, accompanied Veeda. He is also a friend of the Revs. Bob and Jean Wollenberg and the Rev. Kitch Shatzer, the UP Home chaplain.
Home staff hosted a thank-you party for the resident volunteers on Thursday afternoon in the Main Dining Room. Shatzer led in an opening prayer. The event was beautifully decorated with fall arrangements, and a delightful array of goodies were prepared and served by staff members. Volunteers report that the abundance and variety of homemade delicious candies, dainty cakes and desserts were enticing. A program of memories was prepared in video and trivia questions from each department head were presented in game form. Volunteers were taken back to the beginning of the home 66 years ago when staff and residents shared meals together family style. The growth of UP Home has been phenomenal as buildings, residents (presently numbering 277) increased. Children from day care came to entertain. They sang action songs with delight and gusto. Such little charmers! A lap robe embroidered with the UP Home logo was presented to each volunteer as expression of gratitude for their many hours of work.
Active Aging Week concluded with residents volunteering at Stewart School on Friday, Sept. 27. Volunteers, Connie Bauer, Pat Jenkins, Stephanie Kronolage, Amy Kleese and Stefanie Tschantz worked with the kindergarten classes to read, play games and flash cards. Each volunteer reported that it was an enjoyable day for all.
George Masson celebrated his 96th birthday in the Town Center on Wednesday of this week. Bill and Mary Wagamon and Wilma Snakenberg hosted the event for their friend and neighbor.
Members of the Washington High School Homecoming Court and Principal Erik Buchholz visited campus on Wednesday morning prior to the monthly campus council meeting. Homecoming royalty include queen candidates, Demitra Giardino, Mary Kate Horak, Chayse Jaspering, Marisa Powers and Mallory Van Winkle. King candidates are Fletcher Green, Jacob Green, Mason Quigley, Carl Sivels and Jiovanni Tapia. Carl Sivels is an employee of the Home and has many fans here, as was evident when the children from day care swarmed him with hugs. The candidates introduced themselves and answered a few questions during their time here. The residents were very impressed with the leadership of these young students and touched by their comments. Buchholz invited all residents to join the Washington High School activities for the rest of the week including the pep assembly, parade and the King and Queen coronations on Friday afternoon and football game on Friday evening.
Classic Et Cetera for Thursday included the overture to “The Magic Flute” by Mozart; “Der Hölle Rache” from “The Magic Flute” by Mozart; Suite from “The Bird Seller” by Karl Zeller; Queen of the Night’s Aria from “The Magic Flute” sung by Florence Foster Jenkins; Caprice No. 24 by Niccolò Paganini; Selections from “Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini” by Sergei Rachmaninoff; “Cwmavon,” a march by J. J. Richards.
Florence Foster Jenkins (1868-1943) may not deserve any publicity now, but she got quite a bit in her day. This is what Wikipedia says about her: “Florence Foster Jenkins was an American amateur operatic soprano who was known – and ridiculed – for her lack of rhythm, pitch and tone; her aberrant pronunciation, and her generally poor singing ability.” But she enjoyed singing for those who gathered at her arranged concerts. If she knew how badly she sang (and she must have) she never let on, which made it all the more hilarious, of course.