United Presbyterian Home
Many residents and guests attended the St. Patrick’s Day Buffet in the Main Dining Room on Sunday. They enjoyed traditional Irish food of corned beef and cabbage, Shepherd’s Pie, bangers and Irish stout gravy. Bill Dusenbery celebrated his St. Patty’s Day birthday at the Irish buffet along with his family who came to celebrate with him. Bill also baked German Chocolate Cake to share with his friends and neighbors in the Town Center on Monday morning.
Many residents were blessed with family visitors this week. Margaret Simpson’s son, Jim, visited for a couple of days. Jim is from Pennsylvania. Randy Porter and his family were here from Omaha to visit his mother, Winnie Porter. Jim and Rachel Pollock enjoyed time with their granddaughter and her young family from Indiana, and later in the week their son, Howard, and his wife arrived from Kansas. Stew Bell’s daughter, Carmen Sipes, and her husband stopped by to visit her dad on their way across the country; and Hazel Johnson welcomed a visit from her daughter, Judi Duncan.
Kerr Hall residents met for dinner Tuesday in the Main Dining Room. Hosts for the event were Wayne and Nadene Brown and Dorothy Miller. Each month Kerr Hall residents enjoy a special event together and share some camaraderie over a meal.
Spring arrived Wednesday with extremely cold and windy weather but also the promise of green grass, budding trees, bulbs peeking through the soil and birds chirping. The first day of spring is also the day when daylight hours and nighttime hours are approximately equal everywhere known as the Vernal Equinox. Mildred Houseal reminds everyone of this each year as she stands a raw egg on end and graciously invites everyone to stop and see it. We are always amazed how the rounded egg bottom sits so still on her counter.
Visitors walking through the Parlor this week told stories of a pony wandering up the marble steps to the second floor and then up the narrow stairway to the attic. Esther Bordwell did not witness the pony in the house but knows of stories in which the Brookhart children led a pony up the steps to the third-floor attic for a pony ride. The attic is unique in structure and may have been the location for much childhood fun.
Former United Presbyterian Home administrator Richard Colby wrote the following in an article for the Washington Sesquicentennial history notes in June 1989: “The large six-bedroom home had been constructed in 1909 by attorney and senator, Smith Brookhart, who was determined to have a fireproof and childproof house. He had insisted that all the floors and the roof be built of poured concrete. Unable to find a contractor in the area willing to use this unusual method of construction he took over the project himself and directed most of the work on this unique house. Dr. Kerr has called the attic the world’s only above-ground bomb shelter. The attic floor is concrete, the roof is concrete, and the stairway up to the attic is concrete. Many Washington residents can recall playing in the house as a child and especially roller skating in the attic.”
Classics Et Cetera for this week included the overture to “Judas Maccabaeus” by George Frideric Handel; Selections from “El Capitan” by John Philip Sousa; “Seville” by Isaac Albéniz in a transcription for guitar by Andrés Segovia; “A Bird in a Gilded Cage” sung by Beatrice Kay; 1st Movement of Violin Concerto No. 2 by Henryk Wieniawski; “The Cuckoo Above” by Johann Kaspar Kerll; “Coronation March” by Giacomo Meyerbeer in an 1850 transcription for band, played by the 1st Brigade Band.
John Philip Sousa (1854-1932) was educated in composition, harmony, counterpoint and orchestration as well as the violin. In addition to leading the United States Marine Band and his own Sousa Band during most of his career, he also wrote several operettas which were popular at the time. His most successful was “El Capitan,” about a leader of rebels in Peru and the new Viceroy’s attempt to defeat him. One of Sousa’s most popular marches, “El Capitan,” was taken from the show.