H.K. MATTHEWS An Exclusive Interview
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[ FROM THE EDITOR ] Josh Newby
Marketing Communications Director and Editor-in-Chief Suddenly becoming the care-recipient in a relationship in which you’ve traditionally been the caregiver can be a bewildering transition. Take an elderly parent, for example. For the better part of a century, they have provided for and given counsel to their children and/or grandchildren. Whether implicitly or explicitly, they have had the final word on things and an element of distinction in their lives. Suddenly, they find themselves with a diminished physical or mental capacity, reliant on their children, usually the adult daughter. This changes the relationship and each partner’s fundamental identity. They have to not only admit to themselves and to others that they need help, but they have to be willing to receive that help from people they raised themselves. Hopefully they raised their children well. For the child, this process can be equally confusing and maybe even frustrating. The child, now an adult, probably has not seriously relied on the parent for quite some time, and yet now, they are the one relied upon. This role reversal happens hundreds of times a day, and the related feelings of uncertainty are natural. During these times, Council on Aging is here for you, with advice, support and respite. As your family dynamic changes, you’ll need help, and that’s why in this issue we have information on how to stay together, and what happens when you don’t. Remember Spring Break as a kid? Well, elder
adults like to have fun too, and we’ve got just the ticket for you in this issue. We also provide a preview of more adult-friendly book, movie and television options. Time with family doesn’t have to be limited to conversations about financial planning and longterm care; watch a show together or head out to the movies, preserving the fun in your relationship. I am so, so excited about this issue’s cover star, a true pioneer for civil rights and human dignity in our area and across the nation, H.K. Matthews. The 91-year-old minister has fought for the better part of a century to ensure equal rights for black citizens, and has been to jail 35 times in that pursuit. Bravery has never been better represented within our pages than in the profile and interview of this man, and I’m honored to have him adorn our cover. Read more about his past, and our future, on page 26. I hope this issue edifies and encourages you in some way, and offers topics of conversation you can share with your beloved parent or child, regardless the nature of that relationship now. Give me a call if you enjoyed an article or have a suggestion. My direct line is (850) 266-2507. Until next time, enjoy life—you’ve earned it.
Readers’ Services SUBSCRIPTIONS Your subscription to Coming of Age comes automatically with your membership to Council on Aging of West Florida. If you have questions about your subscription, call Josh Newby at (850) 432-1475 ext. 130 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Please do not hesitate to contact Josh with any questions or comments about your service, and thank you.
CHANGE OF ADDRESS When calling or emailing us your change of address, please provide Council on Aging of West Florida with both the old and new addresses to expedite the change.
6 COMING OF AGE SPRING 2019
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Council on Aging of West Florida 2019 Board of Directors Officers Chair: Kathleen Logan First Vice Chair: Lois Lepp Second Vice Chair: Malcolm Ballinger Secretary: Pensacola City Councilmember P.C. Wu Treasurer: J.M. Novota Immediate Past Chair: Sonya Daniel Board Members Lorenzo Aguilar DeeDee Davis Joel Fleekop Donna Jacobi, M.D. Escambia County Commissioner Lumon May Tammy Hardy-Fauber Thomas Pace Jr. Jan Pacenta Tara Peterson Diane Scott, Ph.D Caron Sjoberg Sue Straughn Edgar Turner Dona Usry Marie Young Members Emeriti Joe Black • John Brick • Kenneth Kelson Zola Lett • Charles H. Overman III Malcolm Parker President/CEO John B. Clark Marketing Communications Director and Coming of Age Editor-in-Chief Josh Newby Published for Council on Aging of West Florida by Ballinger Publishing 314 N. Spring St. • Pensacola, FL 32501 850.433.1166 • Fax 850.435.9174 Owners Malcolm & Glenys Ballinger
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Disclaimer: Coming of Age magazine is published quarterly by Ballinger Publishing for Council on Aging of West Florida, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Reproduction or use of the contents herein is prohibited. Comments and opinions expressed in this magazine represent the personal views of the individuals to whom they are attributed and/ or the person identified as the author of the article, and they are not necessarily those of the publisher or Council of Aging of West Florida, Inc. This magazine accepts no responsibility for these opinions. The publisher and Council on Aging of West Florida reserve the right to edit all manuscripts. All advertising information is the responsibility of the individual advertiser. Appearance in this magazine does not necessarily reflect endorsement of any products or services by Ballinger Publishing or Council on Aging of West Florida. ©2019
SPRING 2019 LIFESTYLE MAGAZINE FOR SENIORS 7
An Exclusive Interview with H.K. Matthews Take On Spring Cleaning
In Every Issue
12 Philanthropy Corner 14 Virtual Reality for Seniors 16 Talking Through Tension 18 Spring Break Festivals 20 Entertainment
10 Advocacy 36 News from Council on Aging of West Florida 38 Thank You to Our Donors Stay Connected!
On the cover: H.K. Matthews photographed by Guy Stevens
8 COMING OF AGE SPRING 2019
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The Invisible Problem by John Clark
President, Council on Aging of West Florida
A question was recently asked, “What makes your job and Council on Aging so special and what makes seniors so special?” Well, seniors are not special “just because they are seniors,” however, seniors are often a forgotten segment of our society; in some cases, they are invisible. In fact, if you look around at the social services “safety net type programs” in our community, you would find there are some 45 plus nonprofit organizations providing some type of social services. The overwhelming majority are childrelated programs/services. While other organizations serve all ages, the fact is most of their clientele are nonelderly. Unfortunately, many people assume that the needs of seniors are met through Social Security and Medicare. To some degree that is what makes seniors sometimes invisible and forgotten. Top this off with the fact that seniors do not often have the most “vocal and visible advocates," like younger populations. Clearly a child will often have a very vocal and persistent advocate in the form of a parent or guardian. That is not always the case with seniors. On top of that, as seniors age and reach a point where they need services or help, they might not even have family who can help or advocate on their behalf. Enter Council on Aging. The only nonprofit program in Escambia and Santa Rosa Counties offering safety net programs and services for seniors and their caregivers is Council on Aging. To Council on Aging, seniors are special and not an afterthought or a forgotten segment of our society. The Council on Aging cares for seniors and, in fact, we have almost 55,000 reasons to care! Those 55,000 reasons are the number of seniors 10 COMING OF AGE SPRING 2019
in our state who have been properly assessed as needing assistance with home and community-based services, such as adult day care, Meals on Wheels and personal care assistance. Unfortunately, because of inadequate funding, these 55,000 seniors must be placed on a statewide waiting list until funding becomes available. It is because of these 55,000 seniors that the Council on Aging has joined forces with the Florida Council on Aging and other providers and advocates around the state to ask the Florida legislature for increased funding in General Revenue aging programs to help serve some of those 55,000 seniors on the state waiting list.
OUR ASK OF THE FLORIDA LEGISLATURE: • PROVIDE: $9.95 million in General Revenue funding to serve 1,282 of the MOST at-risk seniors on the Department of Elder Affairs waiting list for the Community Care and Home Care for the Elderly and Alzheimer’s Respite Care Programs. Includes: $7,256,316 to serve 862 persons on the waiting list for the Community Care for the Elderly (CCE) Program; $1,491,712 to serve 128 seniors on the waiting list for Alzheimer’s Respite Care (ADI) and $1,202,748 to serve 292 seniors and caregivers on the waiting list for Home Care for the Elderly (HCE). • COMPARE THE COST OF CARE: $9.95 million to serve 1,282 frail, at-risk seniors at home versus $112 million to serve 1,282 frail seniors in a nursing home. Potential Medicaid long term care savings/cost avoidance of $102 million by serving just 1,282 of the most at-risk seniors on the waiting list.
• EVERYONE BENEFITS: The senior benefits because they can receive home and community-based services in their own homes or the home of a loved one and avoid more costly institutional care. All taxpayers benefit if we can reduce the growth of the cost of Medicaid nursing home care which is, of course, is paid by taxpayers. So yes, we do care about seniors. To us, they are not invisible and they are not forgotten. We see them needing assistance and having to be placed on the waiting list for services. To us, that is not acceptable and that is why each year we seek support for funding for state General Revenue aging programs in our state. This year’s legislative session will be dealing with weighty issues and challenges, and support for aging programs is one of them. While ultimately it will be up to our legislature to adopt a state budget which must be then signed by the Governor, we certainly were very pleased that Gov. Ron DeSantis, in his budget proposal to the legislature, recommended an increase in funding of $9 million for General Revenue aging programs. That was wonderful support from our Governor. But the process is not over. We now must ask for similar support from our local state representatives. You can help, if you wish to do so, by contacting them and advocating for support for state aging programs. Their contact information is as follows:
Senator Doug Broxson, District 1 311 Senate Office Building 404 South Monroe Street Tallahassee, FL 32399-1100 850-595-4100 418 West Garden Street 4th Floor Room 403 Pensacola, FL 32502 850-595-1036 Broxson.firstname.lastname@example.org Representative Mike Hill, District 1 1101 The Capitol 402 South Monroe Street Tallahassee, FL 32399-1300 850-717-5001 8800 North 9th Avenue Pensacola, FL 32514 850-494-5690 Mike.email@example.com Representative Alex Andrade, District 2 402 South Monroe Street 1401 The Capitol Tallahassee, FL 32399-1300 850-717-5002 226 South Palafox Place Suite 401B Pensacola, FL 32502 850-595-0467 Alex.firstname.lastname@example.org Representative Jayer Williamson, District 3 1401 The Capitol 402 South Monroe Street Tallahassee, FL 32399 850-717-5003 4286 Woodbine Road Unit D1 Pace, FL 32571 850-995-3698 Jayer.email@example.com
SPRING 2019 LIFESTYLE MAGAZINE FOR SENIORS 11
Home Instead Senior Care
by Lauren Meadors
Council on Aging is lucky to have donors and volunteers who give their time and effort to seniors. We are blessed to have amazing individuals inside and outside of our agency advocating for the wellbeing of seniors in our community in ways that often extend far beyond the reach of our own programs. Home Instead Senior Care owners Stacy and Kaipo Robello have been both philanthropists and educators while fiercely advocating for seniors. The Robellos purchased ownership of Home Instead Senior Care of Pensacola from Stacy’s mother in 2017. The business has always been a family affair and focused on caregiver needs. Stacy worked closely with her mother Carlette Howell over the years building the business into what it is today. Started in just a one-room office, the business recently moved into a large location with an exclusive training center and caregiver café. This year marks the Pensacola office’s 20th anniversary, and a relationship just as long with Council on Aging. In the past 20 years, Home Instead has served 2,335 clients and employed 1,779 caregivers and is one of the top performing offices in the country.
to participate on their team for events like the Alzheimer’s Association’s walk and fundraising initiatives The Pensacola office works closely with the Home Instead Senior Care Foundation to raise matched funds for Council on Aging directly. Just last July, Give65, a 65-hour long online fundraiser, brought in almost $13,000 for air conditioners for seniors. Not five months later, the foundation rolled out another online fundraiser for our Meals on Wheels program on Giving Tuesday, raising over 8K in just one day. The Robellos certainly lead by example, personally donating to Council on Aging through the Rat Pack Reunion.
One of the foundation’s initiatives, Be a Santa to a Senior, challenges local Home Instead offices to get the wish lists of seniors in the community who may not receive presents from family Home Instead has a high employee retention rate, partially because of their at the holidays and attach them to Christmas trees in stores. Shoppers caregiver education and employee engagement. Employees are engaged then purchase the holiday gifts, and Home Instead picks them up from the not just in the company and work stores to wrap and deliver them. The they are doing, but in the community. Pensacola office has participated in The Robellos passion for supporting elder initiatives have become a deeply this program since year one, totaling at least 15,000 individual gifts over personal value within the company through this effort, inviting employees 15 years. Last year, more than 500 12 COMING OF AGE SPRING 2019
seniors received presents from perfect strangers tailored to their wishes, including dozens of Council on Aging clients. Home Instead staff and caregivers are engaged every step of the way in contributing to their community in a heartwarming effort. “It’s easy for us to give to Council on Aging, because people tend to forget seniors. But if it wasn’t for them, we wouldn’t have what we have,” Stacy said. “They built Pensacola and we need to thank them for putting such strong roots down”. While Stacy understates her philanthropic efforts as something that is obvious to all business owners, Kaipo will tell you that his wife’s business philosophy is special. Kaipo was a business owner long before marrying Stacy, owning Waterboyz, Aloha Screen Printing, and various liquor stores. “As a business owner, I had often found myself on the taking side. Stacy changed me and made me want to be on the giving side,” he said. Kaipo points to Stacy’s upbringing as a source of their philanthropic view, that she was raised to see giving back not
They built Pensacola and we need thank them for putting such strong roots down”.
- Stacy Robello
as a business model, but a family one. This became apparent many years ago, when he, and his pickup truck, were first recruited to help with picking up presents from stores across the city.
Recreation&Leisure Courses for Adults & Children Computer for Seniors, Painting, Life Planning, Tai Chi, Swing Dance and more! 850-484-1797 | pensacolastate.edu/ce Registration open for new classes
“Giving my time to Be a Santa to a Senior was a turning point for me,” Kaipo said. “Our first check that I gave to Council on Aging changed my life.” The Robellos see giving simply as a function of who they are and how they engage their employees; they are most proud of their educational role in the community. Internally, they work with employees using an education program endorsed by the Alzheimer’s Association that creates a strong career path for employees. They don’t keep their valuable resources to themselves but go out and provide public education programs that range from helping businesses become Alzheimer’s-friendly to helping retired seniors get back into the workforce. Stacy continues to advocate for seniors even further, with a role on various groups such as the Escarosa Senior Alliance, the Healthcare Professionals Association of Northwest Florida, and even was selected to serve on the Advisory Council for the Florida Department of Elder Affairs.
Pensacola State College does not discriminate against any person on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, color, gender/sex, age, religion, marital status, pregnancy, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, or genetic information in its educational programs, activities, or employment. For inquiries regarding Title IX and the College’s nondiscrimination policies, contact the Executive Director of Institutional Diversity and Student Conduct at 850-484-1759, Pensacola State College, 1000 College Blvd., Pensacola, Florida 32504.
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The depth of their involvement in elder issues and the greater Pensacola area has turned them into strong advocates that we are glad to have on our team, as more than just donors, but advocates and friends to our seniors. SPRING 2019 LIFESTYLE MAGAZINE FOR SENIORS 13
Exploring New Worlds with Virtual Reality by Will Isern
players, the game is developing a global benchmark for navigation skills against which patients with dementia can be measured.
For many older adults who are unable to get around like they used to, life can begin to feel quite small. Those in assisted living may miss their old homes, favorite park or family events which they are unable to attend. Feelings of isolation and loneliness can set in. Now, emerging technology may provide an avenue for these adults to, at least temporarily, travel to famous locales across the world, take a dive in the ocean or relive favorite memories, all without leaving their living room. Virtual reality is presenting new ways for older Americans to experience the world.
One company, Rendever, is leading the implementation of virtual reality in assisted living facilities across the country. The company demonstrated its technology in Pensacola in November. The company’s director of community engagement Toby Patel said older adults benefit both from the stimulation that virtual reality provides as well as the group setting in which it is often conducted.
“Multiple studies have shown that social isolation in this population is correlated with a 30 to 50 percent increase in mortality,” he said. “It’s a big problem. By bringing a group of seniors to the same place, at the same time, we’re allowing them to share their favorite memories together, as well as form new memories We’re still a ways off from the lifelike together through these new experiences. holographic projections of science fiction This not only allows the group to engage favorites like Star Trek, but virtual reality with their environment during the has matured into a usable technology session, but we often hear about seniors with real-world applications in recent sitting together hours or even days later years. The technology uses a headset and continuing to discuss their previous that covers the eyes and immerses users virtual reality experience.” in virtual worlds of video and sound. Virtual reality can do more than just let Getting set up with a virtual reality can seniors travel, as well. Researchers in be very easy. Many systems simply the U.K. hope to harness the technology let the user strap a smartphone into a to identify the onset of dementia. The headset. Many kinds of virtual reality virtual reality game "Sea Hero Quest VR" content are available from an everchallenges players to captain a boat growing number of creators. Users can through various tasks. The game tests take a ride in a hot air balloon, stroll the the player’s navigation skills, one of the Gardens of Versailles or visit a pet store first skills to deteriorate as dementia full of puppies. sets in. With more than three million 14 COMING OF AGE SPRING 2019
“This data will help scientists to develop vital new diagnostic tests and ultimately help preserve everyone’s ability to share their most precious moments,” the game’s creators said in a press release. “Improving our ability to detect the earliest signs of the disease will play a key role in effectively deploying new drugs and managing the disease.” Meanwhile, doctors in California have used virtual reality as way to distract patients undergoing painful medical procedures. According to a study published in the journal Future Medicine, doctors at the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles found that patients using virtual reality during painful medical procedures experienced reduced levels of pain and general distress and expressed a desire to use virtual reality during future painful medical procedures. Those seeking to maintain and improve motor skills can benefit from virtual reality, as well. A study published in the journal Nature showed that seniors playing a game designed to train multitasking abilities were able to achieve performance levels of a 20 year old after one month, with cognitive gains persisting for six months. By 2060, more than 20 percent of the U.S. population (98 million people) will be aged 65 or older. As virtual reality continues to develop, many of these seniors may spend their golden years adventuring, relaxing and connecting in virtual worlds.
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Talking Through Tension: How to begin difficult conversations
by Lauren Meadors
The idea of talking with those we love about a time when they will no longer be with us can feel too painful to bear. In a perfect world, we could avoid the unpleasantries, pass away peacefully and leave a tidy situation for our families. This is rarely the reality. Avoiding preparation for death often leaves families in legal and financial turmoil. Even before death, individuals may become incapable of being their own
16 COMING OF AGE SPRING 2019
healthcare decision-maker and need someone else to. If a family does not know the wishes of the individual's decisions like keeping someone on life support can cause rifts and lasting guilt. As nice as it would be to have a cookie cutter approach to death, no family is the same. A mother and daughter pair of best friends may avoid this conversation, not despite
their closeness, but because of it. A husband and wife may not be able to think about this talk because of the pain of imagining a day without their spouse. Estranged families may find conversation about the weather daunting, never mind an emotionally raw exposé on each other’s wants and needs. Talking about death and preparing for it is overwhelming, no matter your family model, but it doesn’t have to be. >
PERSONAL/FINANCIAL DOCUMENTS People tend to think about death preparation as just a will or trust. Wills are important documents that should be prepared with legal counsel in order to ensure your assets go to whom and where you intend. Outside of this process, there are simple things that an individual can do to get their personal affairs in order. Create a folder including (but not limited to):
• Your legal name and Social Security information • Birth and marriage certificates • Employment information • Bank account information and access • Recent tax return • Car title and deeds to property • Insurance information with policy numbers • Medication list and instructions • Names and numbers of friends, family and doctors • Information on accessing your will and legal documents • Pet’s medical and care information Be sure to list any and all income sources and how to access them, as well as any debts and upcoming bill information. Make sure to update this folder regularly and have someone who knows where it is. For more items you may wish to include, check out www.nia.nih.gov/health/ getting-your-affairs-order. HEALTH CARE ADVANCE DIRECTIVES Families need to also prepare for end of life transitions and care. At some point in the dying process, you may lose the ability to communicate your wants and needs, so it is of the utmost importance to discuss your wishes with your family while in good health and create HealthCare Advance Directives. These include:
DNR - A Do Not Resuscitate order asks that medical professionals withhold CPR should your heart stop beating, or if you stop breathing A living will - This is a statement about the type of medical care you wish to receive if unable to make your own decisions, such as if you would want to be kept alive on life support. Fivewishes.org is a legally valid document that walks you through different types of decisions to consider in various situations
HealthCare Surrogate Decision - This document names the individual who is legally able to make medical decisions for you in the case that you are unable to . Floridahealthfinder.gov provides guidelines and examples of these documents. GETTING STARTED The list of things to take care of and discuss can seem daunting, but there are tons of resources. The most important thing for you to do is to decide what works best for your family and dedicate your time to getting started.
Deathoverdinner.org asks questions about the type of conversation you are trying to have and tailors resources for your goals of the conversation. The site selects readings and videos for you to share with your family to check out before coming over for dinner and having a meaningful discussion. This is a great tool for those who aren’t quite ready for the specific details of death but want to start the conversation. TheConversationProject.org is another great resource. The site provides detailed conversation starter kits about the dying process, Alzheimer’s, choosing a health care proxy and more. These kits ask practical questions about a person’s feelings towards all facets of the area and help facilitate a great conversation between individuals.
THE 40-70 RULE While death is certainly the most final, it is not the only difficult conversation to have with your aging loved ones. Many face the difficult decision of discussing when their parent should move in with them or stop driving. Aging parents also struggle with these conversations, unsure how to approach them without worrying their children. The 40-70 Rule: An Action Plan for Successful Aging empowers individuals at least 40 to have these conversations with their parents in their 70s, available at caregiverstress.com
For more information, call
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Festival Season offers cultural opportunities for every age by Matthew Haminov
Who says your golden years have to be quiet and sedate? Many of those currently enjoying mature adulthood are the same people who stood crowded and cramped, rain or shine, in front of the Woodstock stage in 1969. That tenacious generational spirit is not something that easily weathers away with age. So, to honor this spirit, we have put together a list of events and festivals within an eight-hour drive from Pensacola that can reinvigorate and revitalize the lives of seniors—or anyone—looking for a little something more out of life.
New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival
Double Decker Arts Festival
The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage festival is the perfect opportunity to spice up your routine. The festival celebrates New Orleans’s cultural history on two separate weekends, and though the music is the highlight there is much more to the festival. You can literally taste the Creole culture because there will be multiple food areas and stands offering classic Louisiana cuisine. There will also be opportunities to witness New Orleans artisans in the process of their craft. Finally, the festival features artists large and small from different musical genres. This year, headliners include Herbie Hancock, Rolling Stones, Dave Matthews Band, Katy Perry, Jimmy Buffet, Pitbull, Earth Wind & Fire, The Doobie Brothers and Ziggy Marley to name a few. For more information, visit nojazzfest.com.
The Double Decker Arts Festival transforms the small town of Oxford into a bustling crowd of art curators and observers. This event is a very casual, outdoors event that showcases Oxford as a hub for culture and art. Artists will be showcasing their work along the Downtown Square and there will also be artists demonstrating their creative processes and techniques first hand. In addition, explore Oxford and the surrounding towns with bus tours or the 5K and 10K runs, which will take place on the Saturday of the event. Headliners of the event include Eric Gales, Thacker Mountain Radio, Lilly Hiatt, Kate Teague, Cedric Burnside, Emily King, Durand Jones and the Indicators, Lucero, Shovels and Rope and Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit. For more information, visit doubledeckerfestival.com.
April 25 to 28 & May 3 to 5 / New Orleans, Louisiana
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April 26 to 27 / Oxford, Mississippi
Spoleto USA and Piccolo Spoleto
May 24 to June 9 / Charleston, South Carolina The Piccolo Spoleto Festival is a very cerebral event comprised of 700 programs held over the course of seventeen days. This festival features musical events with titles such as, “A World of Jewish Culture,” "Sunset Serenade,” "Early Music Series” and “Charleston Jazz Series.” Each of these separate programs contains within them multiple performances and features. In addition to music, The Piccolo Spoleto Festival will feature a smorgasbord of theatre, dance, visual art and literature. For more information, visit piccolospoleto.com.
May 9 to 12 / Black Mountain, North Carolina
The LEAF Festival is a unique experience, melding aspects of camping with a festival. The LEAF Festival spans 200 acres of Blue Ridge Mountain country and features six performance stages, eight family adventure villages, more than 100 vendors, over 400 performing artists and dozens of interactive activity centers. Vendors will be scattered across the festival as booths featuring May 25 to 26 / Decatur, Alabama handcrafted goods, culinary cuisine, and healing arts. The mid-south’s oldest ballooning event, the Alabama Headliners of the festival include Shovels & Rope, India. Jubilee is an ideal festival for those looking for something Arie, Trevor Hall, Larkin Poe, Black Violin, The War and that is simultaneously relaxing yet exhilarating. Aside from Treaty and the Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio. For more literally floating in the sky with nothing in between your information on ticket pricings and other aspects of the face and the open air, sixty balloon pilots from twenty festival, visit theleaf.org/the-festival. states will participate in the festivities to compete against one another. Also, unlike most of the events on this list so far, the Alabama Jubilee Hot Air Balloon Classic makes for an ideal family outing. Moreover, both admission and parking are free. For more information, float on over to alabamajubilee.net.
Alabama Jubilee Hot Air Balloon Classic
International Cherry Blossom Festival March 22 to 31 / Macon, Georgia
This festival is rooted in the history of William A. Fickling Sr. circa the late 1940s when he discovered a Yoshino cherry tree in his backyard. Fickling then learned to grow the trees and distributed them freely to his community. Many years later, the Yoshino cherry trees have bloomed all over Macon, Georgia and have inspired the International Cherry Blossom Festival, which operates on the theme “Love, Beauty and International Friendship.” This year’s festival is wide ranging with events such as Purple Madness: A Tribute to Prince; Wiener Dog Races; Bed Racing; a Bollywood Ball; the 38th Cherry Blossom Parade and The Conquest Show band. For more information, visit cherryblossom.com.
SPRING 2019 LIFESTYLE MAGAZINE FOR SENIORS 19
FOR YOUR ENTERTAINMENT by Josh Newby A new year brings new opportunities to improve oneself, gain fresh perspectives—and consume all the new entertaining content one can stomach. And while most book, television and movie releases tend to heavily cater to an audience that skews younger, there is a fair amount specifically for the mature adults who appreciate ideas and art a little more nuanced, contemplative and grown-up. Whether you prefer watching, reading or listening, you’re sure to find some great options in our great entertainment preview of 2019.
FIRST UP, BOOKS
Gingerbread by Helen Oyeyemi: You might think
you love gingerbread, but your carb-fueled passions have nothing on mother and daughter Harriet and Perdita Lee, and family friend Gretel Kercheval. As the story of their family and their lifelong ambitions, grudges, successes and failures unfold, the one constant in Perdita’s life is the mysterious recipe, which holds an odd power on all who feast on it. (March 5)
Lost and Wanted by Nell Inland by Tea Obreht: The Testaments by This isn’t your John Wayne Freudenberger: Helen Margaret Atwood: Clapp is an MIT physicist and proud naturalist. Soon, she begins getting phone calls from old friend Charlotte Boyce, Helen’s old roommate. There’s just one problem—Charlotte is supposedly dead. Helen is forced to confront her beliefs, or lack thereof, in this suspenseful novel that grounds the supernatural within our rational world. (April 2)
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Western; this mythical, sweeping story pairs a frontierswoman (Nora) and former outlaw (Lurie) as their lives intertwine in surprising, sometimes violent ways. They are each trying to make their ways in this brave new world, and both harbor good and evil tendencies as they take on grand expeditions, mysterious beasts and ancient spirits. (Aug. 13)
This sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale came along at just the right time, as gender-based politics are at a boiling point—and Hulu’s breakthrough original series needs additional fodder for its third season. Set 15 years after the van door slammed on Offred’s attempt at freedom, this novel follows three new women from Gilead. (Sept. 10)
NOW LET’S DISCUSS TELEVISION
Big Little Lies (HBO):
Is there a better, more compelling, more intricate show with this good a cast currently anywhere on TV? Probably. But there’s nothing more deliciously entertaining than the trials and tribulations of these seemingly shallow and vicious yet emotionally complicated women played by Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, Shailene Woodley, Laura Dern, and (this upcoming season) Meryl Streep.
Killing Eve (BBC America): Grace and Frankie (Netflix): Did anyone Did anyone expect this show to be anything more than a procedural you could easily find on network television? The idea of a spy and assassin chasing each other around isn’t exactly groundbreaking; and yet, the show’s perfect pacing, courage to explore its inevitabilities, and amazing characters elevate it above its competition. The various subplots show real adults making difficult decisions, full of regret, languish and unintended consequences.
ON THE SILVER SCREEN
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (July 26):
Where’d You Go, Bernadette (Aug. 9):
tell Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin that their funniest days were supposed to be behind them? Apparently not, because the duo are still serving up laughs into the show’s fifth season, which is way longer than most Netflix shows maintain their quality. If you’re unfamiliar, the premise follows the two as they attempt to cope with the realization that they’re respective husbands are, shall we say, more than just work buds. Hijinks ensue.
A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (Oct. 18): Maybe it’s
I Am the Night (TNT):
Poor basic cable television, I had to throw them a bone, but this one is actually pretty meaty. From the director of Wonder Woman and starring that film’s Chris Pine (everyone’s third favorite Hollywood Chris), this miniseries documents a teenage girl who was left at a casino as a baby, and the investigative reporter who tries to connect her birth mother’s seedy dots. Like other shows on this list, its style far exceeds its substance.
Cats (Dec. 20): Based on
the famous Andrew Lloyd Webber musical, this screen With Quentin Tarantino Based on the acclaimed at the helm and Leonardo novel of the same name, these hyper-partisan times, adaptation stars Idris Elba, Rebel Wilson, Judi Dench DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, Margot Where’d You Go, Bernadette or perhaps social media’s and Ian McKellen as the Robbie, Al Pacino and Kurt stars Cate Blanchett as affinity for bringing out titular characters who must Russell starring, this movie the miserable mother who the most antagonistic in about Hollywood’s golden goes missing, prompting people, but there has been make the annual decision about who will ascend and age promises to deliver her teenage daughter a resurgence of interest come back to a new life. on that classic Hollywood to discover more about in Fred Rogers as of late. Memory is perhaps the feel, while also happening her mom than she ever Enter this biographical most well-known musical to feature the Manson knew. This film also stars drama, in which Tom number, but the show is murders. This is Quentin Billy Crudup, Kristen Wiig, Hanks plays the beloved Tarantino, after all, who Judy Greer and Laurence Presbyterian minister and full with poignant tunes, including The Jellicle Ball, has said this will be one of Fishburne and is directed by TV star. Stray Cat Strut, and Cats In his last pictures. It looks to Richard Linklater, who may the Cradle. certainly be one of his best. just be the most dependable purveyor of quality grownup films in the industry.
SPRING 2019 LIFESTYLE MAGAZINE FOR SENIORS 21
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TAKE ON SPRING CLEANING Get into the minimalist craze, but keep the things most dear to your heart
by Kaitlyn Peacock
It’s that time of year again, when people start talking about getting rid of clutter, deep cleaning their home or making a change in their life. This year in particular, spring cleaning has gripped the nation in its rubber gloved, Pine Sol-smelling hand, with the rising popularity of Marie Kondo’s cleaning and minimalist living show dominating Netflix. But sometimes, getting rid of the clutter is easier said than done. Maybe you have a lot of things in your home and just don’t know where to start. Or maybe the things you have collected over the years have sentimental value you just aren’t willing to let go of. Getting rid of clutter doesn’t have to be a chore, nor does it have to mean choosing memories over clean living. Instead, use this year’s spring cleaning as a time to start organizing your home and your life in a way that makes your golden years easier and purposeful.
> Start with the messiest room: You may think it is going to be
If your home is a menagerie of wonderful things you’ve collected over the years or just a bit messy, decluttering your home can open pathways, get rid of havens for harmful allergens and allow more light into the space. It can also help if you are planning to downsize at some point down the road to start getting rid of things early, rather than throwing everything out in one go. Here are a few tips and tricks to try when tackling the clutter.
> Take small steps: This may seem like a contradiction to the last
easier starting small and working your way up, but starting in the most challenging room when you have the most energy will keep you going for the entire rest of the clean up. Once you’ve tackled the biggest hurdle and come out victorious, the rest will seem like a walk in the park. point, but taking smaller steps keeps the project from becoming overwhelming. Especially for larger homes, focusing on one task at a time will make the clean up less stressful. Organizing your time is as much a part of organizing your home as the actual clean up. Aim to clean up one corner at a time for larger room.
SPRING 2019 LIFESTYLE MAGAZINE FOR SENIORS 23
> Use the four-box method: This method is the fairly
typical solution to downsizing and decluttering. The basic premise is you have four boxes to place each thing you own into: keep, trash, donate, and store. Keep the things that are of practical use to you, throw away anything broken or any trash, donate the things you don’t want anymore but still can be useful and store the things that you don’t at the moment have a practical use for. We will touch back on the storage portion of this method later.
> Ask yourself, what would you replace first if you
Photo by Nicolas Huk
MEMORY KEEPING In practice, decluttering can help you open up your home or prepare for downsizing if you are moving out of a large, empty house to a smaller, more practical one. However, deciding what to get rid of can be extremely stressful, especially if you have many items in your home that are of sentimental value to you. That drawing your daughter made as a three-year-old might
> Online scrapbooking: Sure, you can do normal
scrapbooking, but soon, storing and keeping track of all those scrapbooks can become bothersome. Instead, there are easy websites and programs that allow you to upload photos and keep the memories of some of the special moments in your life. Ask for help in connecting your computer to a television and make a slideshow to have on in the background or at family reunions so you can reminisce together.
lost everything: Deciding what is of practical use can be very difficult, especially when you may have a lot of sentimental belongings. So, instead ask yourself, if your home burned down to the ground tomorrow but you could buy back everything you lost, what items would you buy first? Those are your keep items. As your list gets longer, those items become store items, donate, then trash. not be a work of art, but it has value to you. To you, it’s not trash, it has a value more intimate than many of the other items in your home. However, you really don’t need that old lion statuette your friend gave you 30 years ago, even if he has now passed and you think of him every time you look at it. It may be time to part with it, but there are ways of keeping the memories these items are associated with in your mind.
> Pass it on: For some special items, they may not just
be important to you. Family heirlooms are still a practice going on today, but it doesn’t just have to be family. Know of a neighbor or family member that really liked that big, old vase? Pass it on so they can enjoy the item as much as you have.
> Get creative: Sometimes instead of getting rid of the
things that don’t have a practical purpose, you can make something practical from those items. Sometimes, you Make a memory box: One of the oldest and best ways just have to roll up your sleeves and think outside the of keeping sentimental things is a memory box. Keeping box. Have a bunch of children’s projects and drawings a single box of good size doesn’t take up that much you really can’t part with? Have them made into a quilt. room, and if you fill it with small trinkets and photos, Have far too many photos to fit into a memory box and you’ll be able to keep those memories for a long time. not comfortable with the computer? There are services The lion statuette might not fit in the box, but take a that allow photos to be printed onto tiles, floor boards, photo of it, and allow yourself to donate it without losing any number of things. By making something out of any of the feelings you had with it. them, you can use them every day and remember all the good memories associated with them.
24 COMING OF AGE SPRING 2019
PREPARING FOR END-OF-LIFE Maybe you are thinking sure, my home is messy, but I like it a little messy and I don’t think there’s any need for me to do these things. Sounds like too much work, especially when I should be spending these years enjoying the rest of my life. Decluttering your home now can actually help make those years just as wonderful as you deserve them to be. It’ll put you in a better position for when moving around gets difficult, or if you or your spouse are beginning to have memory problems. And, if you are convinced about jumping head first into the decluttering fad, here are some things to keep in mind during the process.
> Make an inventory: As you are going through your
home, make a note of what items you are going to be keeping. This can be useful if you ever have home damage due to fire, natural disasters or burglary, as you will have a record of your possessions. However, it can also be useful for divvying up your possessions in your will. Keeping track will makes things easier to remember what all you have to pass on to your family.
> Stop losing items: If you or your loved one is suffering
room for what you need to live, downsizing when you have already decluttered your home makes the process less stressful. Moving is never easy, but not having to deal with excess will take a bit of the burden off your shoulders.
> Improve your home’s mobility: Many seniors begin to have mobility issues as they grow older. Having a clean home can make it safer for you to get up and around, as you will have less tripping hazards in your way, and it also clears the way for mobility improvements to be made on your home. Ramps, handrails and bathroom accommodations are all easier to install when you don’t have as much stuff laying around.
> Have a healthy environment: Along with everything
else, keeping your home clean can help prolong your life. Allergens tends to hide in unused items, plus it’s harder to keep a space clean of dust, dirt and germs if there are more things to clean. Bringing your possessions to the essentials will help keep your home a safe, clean environment.
Now, you’re all set to start your cleaning adventure. You might be dreading it, and no one would blame you, but once it’s over, you’ll be left with a beautiful, clean space to continue living your best years. Without the worry of all the clutter getting in your Downsizing: There may come a time when you decide way and while preserving the memories most important to you, decluttering can make your home your home is just too big for you. Whether you need to move due to mobility issues or because there’s too much the haven it’s supposed to be. from memory problems, keeping track of items may be difficult. By getting rid of excess items, you make it easier to find the things you use on a regular basis and by keeping something in the same spot, it’ll make it easier to find later on.
SPRING 2019 LIFESTYLE MAGAZINE FOR SENIORS 25
photo by Guy Stevens 26 COMING OF AGE SPRING 2019
H.K. MATTHEWS AN EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW by Kelly Oden
rowing up in the small community of Snow Hill, Alabama, Hawthorne Konrad Matthews wasn’t blind to the injustices happening around him, but he also never imagined he would grow up to be the Reverend H.K. Matthews—an agitator, an activist and eventually, an icon of the civil rights movement. After serving in the Army during the Korean War, Reverend Matthews relocated to Pensacola where he worked as a day laborer. A self-described heavy drinker in his youth, those early years in Pensacola were spent chasing the next bottle. In 1959, Matthews gave up drinking for good and found a home in the church community where he was mentored by Reverend W.C. Dobbins and ordained in the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church in 1961. Reverend Matthews, along with many other civil rights activists both locally and nationally, was instrumental in the ultimately successful efforts to integrate the Palafox Street lunch counters, to get more black people hired at local institutions and to remove the rebel mascot and COA: Tell me a little bit about down there and play. We played your upbringing. What was ball and we shot horseshoes. your childhood like? There was no such thing as television or telephones. My HKM: I was born and reared in a grand uncle who founded little place called Snow Hill, Ala- Snow Hill Institute—and who bama. That's in Wilcox County. was a friend of Booker T. WashI was reared by my grandmoth- ington—had an old T Model er because my mother died Ford. We were not allowed to when I was six weeks old. My do anything on Sunday, so we'd grandmother reared me as her pack in that old T Model Ford own child. She was a country and pretend we were going school teacher. We would walk someplace. My cousins in that to school because we had to area–the whole family of them bypass schools that we could were musicians. They all played not attend because of our col- musical instruments. My aunt or—because of our race—so was the mother, she was the we would have to walk miles piano player. The father played and miles and miles. There trumpet. There were seven chilwere times we used to walk 13 dren—five boys, two girls—and miles to one school that she both girls played piano. The taught at. We had to walk 13 boys played everything—saxomiles a day one way to go to phone, clarinet, trumpet, tromschool and then when we got bone. Spike Lee's daddy, Willie, to the school, we had to go out was the drummer. and cut wood to build a fire in a potbelly stove. About time the COA: What did you imagine you building got warm, it was time would grow up to be or to do to go back home again. We had when you were a little boy? a pretty interesting life. I didn't do a lot because our houses HKM: I had no idea. I graduwere kind of scattered about in ated high school in 1947 and the community. But I had some went off to Alabama State in cousins who lived down the Montgomery. I had relatives road from us and we would go there—my aunt and uncle ran
other confederate symbols from Escambia High School’s athletics department. Additionally, Matthews played a big role in the protests over the 1974 shooting death of a black motorist by a white sheriff’s deputy—a role that sent him to the state penitentiary and got him blacklisted from Pensacola. Reverend Matthews also took part in the Bloody Sunday march in Selma where he was beaten and gassed and witnessed a multitude of atrocities that bring tears to his eyes to this day. While Matthews was persona non grata in Pensacola for many years, the arc of history eventually bent toward justice, with Matthews receiving a full pardon in 1979, a Pensacola park named in his honor in 2006 and a variety of awards and accolades for his work in the civil rights movement. Coming of Age had the distinct honor and pleasure of speaking with Reverend Matthews about his upbringing, his activism, his faith and his 2007 autobiography, Victory after the Fall. the dining hall. After a semester at Alabama State, I left because I was doing my own thing. I was pretty wild. I told my grandmother I was leaving because the kids were picking on me. I think I just kind of had her wrapped around my finger. She agreed with me and I transferred to Alabama A&M. I stayed there for three and a half years. Then I enlisted in the Army during the Korean War.
out of the army, that's when you moved to Pensacola, right? HKM: All of my mother's brothers and one of her sisters lived here. One of my uncles was a Church of Christ preacher, which was really not a good fit. But he took care of me and so I moved in with him. It was 1955 and I was 27 years old. COA: What were your thoughts on Pensacola in the late 1950s and early 1960s?
COA: What made you decide to enlist? HKM: I really didn't have any thoughts. I was working day HKM: I was rebellious. I didn't jobs—I was a day laborer. We have enough sense to know would go down in the morning that I was going into a really, and just stand around and see really stringent environment by if anybody would hire us. My enlisting in the Army. main objective at that time was to just make enough money to COA: Did the Army tame you? buy the next bottle. I was a reHKM: It domesticated me to a ally, really heavy drinker. I guess point. I did rise to the rank of I loved it—up until I quit drinking Sergeant. I also became a mili- in 1959. tary police officer. I was in for six and a half years. I didn't see COA: What was the impetus to too much combat. I saw a little, quit? but not a lot. HKM: Nothing made me sick COA: When you came back from or anything like that, but I was the Korean War and you came living on North Haynes Street at the time and I was going to SPRING 2019 LIFESTYLE MAGAZINE FOR SENIORS 27
that you really started to get involved in civil rights activism. What led you to that role and how much of that had you been involved in as a young man prior to moving here? HKM: I’ll answer the last question first—none at all, but being born and reared in Snow Hill and having to bypass white schools to go to an inferior school and use inferior books had an effect on me. The teaching was not inferior because my grandmother was a stickler for learning. But, watching white people call my grandmother ‘auntie’ and ‘girl’ and referring to me as ‘boy’ and ‘preacher,’ you know, I was just a young boy and it stuck with me.
Top: Reverend H.K. Matthews and actor Lorne Greene work together on Hubert Humphrey’s campaign. Bottom: NBC News journalist Kristen Welker interviews Reverend H.K. Matthews at the 50th anniversary of the Selma to Montgomery marches, 2015.
school under the GI Bill. We were getting $80 a month for the GI Bill. I had gotten a room added on to my house up on Haynes Street. I was paying $50 a month mortgage on the room that I had added on. I was working at Baldwin Dairy at that time, which was on the corner of A and Gregory Streets. I would use that $80 to pay the $50 mortgage. In November of 1959, I had gotten ahead. I'd already paid my mortgage, I guess because I'd worked a little more regularly at Baldwin Dairy. We got our checks on the 18th, which was on Friday. That $80 check was all mine because like I said, I'd paid the 28 COMING OF AGE SPRING 2019
mortgage and everything. So, I started drinking that Friday and Sunday morning I woke up and I had $17 left. I had drank up $63 worth of liquor. That morning, I bought a bottle of Spearmen beer. I went home that night and I didn't say anything to my wife. I got in the bed and I pulled up a glass of Spearmen beer. I held it up and I looked at it and I said to myself, “When I drink this, I'm not drinking anything else.” And that was it. It was the end of it. To this date I have not had a drink so, you know, come November of 2019 it will have been 60 years ago. COA: It was here in Pensacola
My father lived in Camden, Alabama, which was 17 miles from Snow Hill. My grandmother and I used to catch the Greyhound bus on the weekend and go down and visit my father who was a farmer. We loved to go— especially during watermelon season. During that time they had the rails on the bus with the strap hanging down. My grandmother would be standing in the middle of the bus holding onto me with one hand and holding onto the strap with the other hand. That bus would bob and weave around those clay roads dirt roads. We weren't standing there because there were no seats available. There were seats all over the bus—all in the front, but we couldn't sit down in those seats because we were the wrong color. I can remember as a child looking up at my grandmother with tears in my eyes and saying, “Why is it that they treat us like they do?” She said, “That's all right, baby. Life is like a revolving wheel—those who are on top today will be on the bottom tomorrow.” That's all she would say, but I knew even as a child that this was not the way human beings were supposed to be treated.
I came to Pensacola and like I say, all I was looking for then was the next bottle. I quit drinking in 1959 and in 1960 a call went out from on high and I yielded to that call. But prior to my yielding to that call, a young United Methodist preacher came to town by the name of Reverend W.C. Dobbins. He came to be the pastor at St. Paul Methodist Church over on Gadsden Street and he just wasn't used to this atmosphere or environment. He went down to one of the five and dime stores—there were four of them at that time—Walgreens, Woolworth, Kress and Newberry. He went to buy some thread and material for his wife who did a lot of sewing. After purchasing the material, he went to the lunch counter to order some food and he was told, “We don't serve your kind in here.” That didn't sit too well with him, so he came back and he called all of the ministers in the community together. During that time I was not preaching, but I was involved in it. There’s a chapter in my book called “Awakening a Sleeping Giant” because I knew that was not how we were supposed to live. Reverend Dobbins formed the Pensacola Council of Ministers and asked me to work with them. We met with the stores that had lunch counters. They refused to accommodate us. They refused to hire any—at that time they called us Negroes—in their establishments other than as janitors. We started having mass meetings and we started a selective buying campaign. We took out a full-page ad that said we will not shop in any of the stores downtown until we are able to eat at the lunch counters. That went on for a year or so. We boycotted, but we were not allowed to use the word boycott because we were doing it under the banner of the NAACP. That’s why we called it a selective buying campaign—
in other words, we selected ting in front of the black and white television in the Gaston where we spent our money. Motel in Birmingham, which We had students sitting in and was the only place that black those of us who were adults people could stay. From that and ministers would be walk- point on, it ignited us. I got ining the picket line outside of volved, deeply involved. Reverthe stores that were being tar- end Dobbins subsequently got geted for sit-ins. We were do- transferred and when he got ing it for the protection of the transferred nobody wanted to students and to protect the take up the mantle. I had the students from themselves—to reputation of at least seeking keep them from doing anything answers and so the Baptist that could have caused them ministers went on television hurt, harm, danger or arrest. and declared me as the leader But, the arrest part didn't work of the movement. So, this manbecause there were policemen tle of leadership just kind of fell in this town who were spraying on my shoulders. It was noththe kids with acid and burn- ing that I looked for—nothing ing them with cigarette butts. that I thought as a boy in the Some of the policemen were back woods of Snow Hill that I taking flashlight batteries off of would ever be involved in. the racks and sticking them in the kids’ pockets and then ar- After that I started leading movements and we started resting them for shoplifting. going all over the state with Finally, the Merchant Associa- school problems and the intetion held meetings and they gration problems. decided that they could not continue to absorb the losses COA: Let’s talk about Selma. they were getting due to the Tell me about that experience. withholding of funds. Because HKM: Well, during that time the not only were we selectively movement was hot and heavy. buying in terms of the five and I was working at a building over dime stores, but it was broad on the corner of Jordan and range as well. We asked black Palafox Street as a janitor when people not to shop at any of the the call went out from Dr. King stores downtown until the merfor people to gather in Selma for chants decided that they were rallies and eventually a march going to do what was right. If from Selma to Montgomery. we could spend our money, we They were having nightly mass ought to be able to spend it in meetings. I got in my little pink all areas of the store. Conseand white 1957 Fairlane Ford quently, the merchants started and I made my way to Selma. acquiescing to our demands I attended the mass meeting and they told the ministers that on Saturday night preparing for they would allow black people the march on Sunday morning, to eat at the counters. March 7, 1965. Dr. King was This is how I got involved. Later, not there, contrary to a lot of we started doing other things. reports that say I marched with We went to Birmingham after Dr. King on the Edmund Pettus the 16th Street bombing that Bridge. That is not true because killed the four little girls. It was Dr. King was not in the first during the time that Schwerner, march. He was in the march on Chaney and Goodman—the the 14th of March—on the folthree young men who went lowing Sunday where they were down to Mississippi—were successful in going across the killed and buried in an earthen bridge. But, during the time dam. The day that that bodies that I was in Selma there was a were discovered, we were sit- white minister—and it's kind of
Reverend H.K. Matthews being taken to the state penitentiary in 1975.
haunting—by the name of Reverend James Reeb who was clubbed to death outside of a cafe there in Selma. I saw that happen and it's not a pleasant memory. COA: Why was he clubbed to death? HKM: Because he was working with us. He was clubbed to death by a mob of white men. COA: You’ve mentioned in other interviews how surprised you were by the violence of that day.
try again. I expected them to try and stop us or to stop us. Even when they made the announcement, “Take your people back to the church. This march will not be allowed to continue,” I never in my wildest dreams thought that we would be confronted like we were. They didn't give us much time because we continued to march when they said it would not be allowed. They waded in to us with billy clubs, riding their horses, spraying their tear gas. White people were living underneath the bridge and they were cheering—all that was a beautiful sight to them. I'll tell you like I told Bill Clinton when he was here campaigning, I said, “Yeah, I was there. I got beaten, but I was in the middle of the march. If I had been towards the front maybe I would have gotten beaten worse.”
HKM: I was. I expected them to try and stop us. As a matter of fact, I expected them to stop us. I think everybody did, but I think we were all going on a premise of something like what my grandmother used to always tell me—nothing makes a failure but a trial and if you don't try, you don’t know. I guess the following Sunday It's even hard to fathom now. they subscribed to the idea that Well, with the new administraif at first you don’t succeed, try, tion it’s not, but it has been in SPRING 2019 LIFESTYLE MAGAZINE FOR SENIORS 29
the past hard to fathom how human beings could do other human beings like they did us. When I think about how they did us, I think about Heather Heyer. I think about how they did her and how the silence coming from the top is so loud until it's deafening.
too—but we had people who were on the front lines and that was a healthy feeling.
COA: After Selma you came back to Pensacola and this is when you led some of the efforts with the local schools in terms of the use of the rebel mascot and the confederate George Wallace had ordered flag. Tell me about that. that and those troopers along with local law enforcement HKM: Well, it was because of made sure that we were beat- the integration—I call it assimien. People were beaten to a lation at that time, but integrabloody pulp. They talk about tion of the schools. Escambia John Lewis and I tell him now High was the main culprit—the whenever I see him, “Man, if people at that time at Escamyou hadn't had hair, they’d have bia High. I've always contended killed you.” They just really beat that it was not the use of the him to a bloody pulp, but there rebel mascot and rebel flag, was another lady by the name but it was the misuse because of Mrs. Amelia Boyington. They they flaunted those symbols in beat her down. I mean she was the faces of the students. As just lying there on the ground they flaunted them, they sang, and we were falling like domi- “N***** go home” and “You noes, just to be honest. Thank don’t belong here.” W.D. Childers God, like I say, for my being in and Smokey Peaden were two the middle of the march. That's state representatives who were the reason that I try to go back on the side of those who were each year. I try to go back be- flaunting it. So, we started cause I like how it feels to be having nightly mass meetable to walk across that bridge ings again and nightly demuninhibited and to see African onstrations to protest the use American law enforcement of those symbols. They used people helping to guide the them the more. We protested the more. Finally, after many, march. It's a good feeling. many months of that and many COA: Do you find yourself trau- arrests and many riots, we went matized at all by what happened to court over on Palafox Street. that day and the things that you Judge Arnow ruled that those experienced and witnessed? symbols were racial irritants and he issued an order for them HKM: Sometimes, I guess. You to remove those symbols. know when I think about it—and you can't help but think about But still the kids were being it. Every time my knee hurts, it misused and mistreated. So makes me think about it. I don't we pulled the black kids out know about traumatized. That of school across the county might be a proper word for it, and we established Freedom I'm not sure. But it bothers me. Schools in different churches I'm bothered by it. I was telling and we used retired teachers you about Reverend James to teach them. That lasted for Reebs—we had so many white several months. Finally, they people who were with us. I agreed to change the name, too. learned that all white people are not bad and all black people COA: Do you think they agreed are not good. We had so many because they were not getting white people who were with the federal funding for those us. I mean not in the shadows, kids who were pulled out? not behind the scenes supporting—and we appreciated those HKM: That was the point. It was at a point that they were 30 COMING OF AGE SPRING 2019
I can remember as a child looking up at my grandmother with tears in my eyes and saying, ‘Why is it that they treat us like they do?’ She said, ‘That's all right, baby. Life is like a revolving wheel—those who are on top today will be on the bottom tomorrow.’ I knew even as a child that this was not the way human beings were supposed to be treated.”
Photo courtesy of UWF Historic Trust
losing money. So, they weren't going to be able to sustain themselves for too long with the black kids being out of school, so they acquiesced. I was arrested out there at Escambia High. I was arrested a total of 35 times plus the two trips to the state penitentiary. They sent for me to come out there because they knew that I had my hand on the pulse of the young people. They sent for me to come out there because they were having a riot. I was up in the principal's office. I believe Sydney Nelson was the principal at that time. There were white parents trying to break the door down to the office to get in to get to me. They weren't successful, but not because they didn’t try. Finally the parents dispersed and we went down in the courtyard where the fighting was taking place. When the black kids saw me coming with the principal, they all started running toward me and saying, “Reverend Matthews, they're going to take us to jail.” The principal leaned over and said to me, “None of
them are going to jail. We're taking them home.” So, on the strength of what he said, I got the bullhorn from a deputy. I stood on the steps of the bus and made this one pronouncement—“Nobody is going to jail.” With that, the deputies moved in and arrested me for inciting a riot. Well, I didn't know what it was for until after we'd been locked in the jail courtyard for about an hour while they were trying to figure out what they were going to charge us with. It was a quite a few students. Sue Straughn, who is an anchor with WEAR Channel 3, was one of the main students. There were many other students who were arrested. They charged me with inciting a riot, which was a felony. And then they allowed me to sign the bond of all of the kids and myself. Now, how do you arrest the person on a felony charge and allow the felon to sign his own bond and sign the bond of all those kids? When we went to trial, they had lied so much that they couldn't get their lies straight. The deputies were out in a hallway arguing amongst them-
selves. But anyway, the jury— and they were all white—found us not guilty. That restored my faith—to a degree—in the justice system. COA: Another big moment in your activist life was when a black motorist named Wendell Blackwell was killed by a white sheriff’s deputy in 1974. That story really struck me because this is still happening. Tell me about Mr. Blackwell. HKM: Okay, and during that time, you know, they were a little cryptic with killing us. But that's over and done with. They're not trying to hide it anymore. But anyway, Wendell Blackwell was my cousin also. He had been to Club 400 out in the Olive area and he was coming back with a young lady by the name of Deborah Jones, which is another unsolved murder. We found out that the sheriff’s deputy, Doug Raines, was dating Deborah Jones, who was black. From what we know, Doug Raines tried to stop the automobile to get her out of the car. I guess Wendell tried to outrun him, but you don't outrun fast police cars. When Raines did finally stop him, he ordered Blackwell out of the car and ordered him to put his hands on the car or something. But anyway, Blackwell cupped his hands behind his head like this. Doug Raines, from a distance of three feet, blew Wendell Blackwell's brains out with a 357 Magnum. Their contention, their lie, was that Blackwell fell and when he fell they reached under his head and he had a 22 caliber pistol in his hand. We knew that was not true. We knew it was a drop gun, so we started having nightly demonstrations because we wanted Doug Raines to be prosecuted. And Sheriff Untreiner refused to prosecute him at that time. But before that, we learned about Deborah Jones being in the car with Blackwell. Reverend B.J. Brooks (who was president of the NAACP at the time) and I went to see Debo-
Reverend H.K. Matthews and fellow citizens march in Pensacola to protest the shooting of Wendel Blackwell in 1974.
rah Jones. She lived over by L Street in a mobile home and she was a part-time employee at The Pensacola News Journal. We went to see her and she had a meeting or something she had to go to, so we only talked to her for a little while. She told us that the mobile home she was living in was the property of Doug Raines. And she said that if we could come back tomorrow, she would finish talking to us about it. Well, this is one of the times that we actually talked too much. We had a press conference that afternoon and we said that we had spoken with Deborah Jones and that we were going back the following day to complete our interview with her. Well that night, they found her body thrown off of the viaduct up by the old Washington High where the J.E. Hall Center is. They spotted a camper that was registered to Doug Raines. We reported all of this to the sheriff's department to no avail. No
arrests were made and to this day, no arrest has been made. I called a deputy about 10 years ago. I brought the articles and showed them to him—as a matter of fact, I left them with him. About two months after that, he sent those articles back to me with no return address on it and no comment. Three or four years ago, they had a big billboard over on the west side with Deborah Jone's picture on it as an unsolved murder. I called Crimestoppers and left a message on the voice mail that I had some information about Deborah Jones. I guess they just haven't had time to get back to me. It's only been four or five years ago. COA: Are you involved in the Black Lives Matter movement? HKM: I am, but you know, my contention on that is that all lives matter. I don't like to see anybody slaughtered. I'm also against these people who are out there killing policemen be-
cause all policemen, all people who put on a blue uniform or brown uniform and wear a badge and have a gun are not evil. There are some policemen out there who will do all they can to uphold the law. I'm involved in Black Lives Matter specifically, but in all lives matter generally. COA: What advice do you have for young people growing up today who some feel may be a little bit more complacent than your generation in terms of getting out there and creating change? HKM: First of all, they are not all that complacent, but they are active in the wrong way. My advice to them is to try to get your head screwed on straight. Get your education. Try to stop turning on each other and start turning to each other. Try to be constructive. Stop the useless killing of each other. I mean that not just for young black people, but for young people period.
SPRING 2019 LIFESTYLE MAGAZINE FOR SENIORS 31
Lunch counter at Woolworth's. Photo courtesy of UWF Historic Trust
Learn who you are. Know that you’ve got worth and just like you've got worth, understand that your fellow man has worth also. What's the old saying? “I think that I shall never see a poem as lovely as a tree for poems were made by fools like me but only God can make a tree.” So, I say to them, only God has the ability to create a human being. You don't have the right to take what God has made or to destroy what God has made. Get yourself some education. Get yourself ready for the world. Stay in school. When you get it here (points to head), nobody can take it. If you got it here (points to hands) that's good— it's good to have, but they can rob and steal it and you no longer have it. COA: You mentioned that you were arrested 35 times and sent to the state penitentiary twice. What was your jail experience like? HKM: My stretches in jail were not long—they were all in and out basically except for the trip to the state penitentiary. It was more about harassment because they wanted to shut me up. Their purpose was to get me out of circulation. Leading up to getting to the state peni32 COMING OF AGE SPRING 2019
tentiary, the judge revoked my bond. I was out on bond and I had a press conference and said that we were getting ready to give the biggest demonstration Pensacola had ever seen. I was getting ready to go to the mass meeting the same night that I had that press conference and two deputies showed up at my door to arrest me because my bond had been revoked. The judge said that any judge would be a damn fool to let a man run free who is threatening to do the same thing that he was arrested for in the first place. So the deputies were a little dumb, you know, not too smart. One of them told some of the black people at the jail that they wish I had run so that they could have shot me. They woke me up at about 2 am the following morning to transport me to the state penitentiary. We got to Chattahoochee about 3:30 in the morning and the deputies got out of the cruiser to go into one of those all night cafes. They came around and opened the back door of the cruiser. I was handcuffed to a young white fella who said to me, “Come on, HK. Let's run.” You'll have to excuse my language, but I said, “If you go, you’re going to catch hell trying to carry me. I'm not going anywhere.” When they
got back to the car, they found us still intact—still sitting there like two little mummies. When they deposited me at the state penitentiary and got ready to come back the Pensacola, the young white fellow I had been handcuffed to cornered me and said, “I want you to know that I'm not an inmate at all. They had me handcuffed to you in order for them to shoot you and say that you were trying to escape.” I had eight contracts out on my life. My house was shot into numerous times and rocks were thrown through the window. But, to answer your question when I got to the state penitentiary, I was scared. I might as well be honest. I’d heard too much about state penitentiaries and what they do to you in there. But once I was in, almost every inmate there already knew who I was. They had followed me on television and followed me in whatever printed media they could get. They knew who I was and they formed a protective wedge around me in that prison and they didn't allow anybody, including the correctional officers, to get close to me.
back to the state penitentiary, so I called Rueben Askew, who was a dear friend. I was the first one to encourage him to run for governor, you know. But anyway, I called him and said, “They're getting ready to send me back.” He said, “Go home and go to sleep. You will not go back to the state penitentiary.” So, he moved to commute my sentence to time served, which was 63 days. Of course there was some strong opposition to that. Ultimately, Askew commuted my sentence to time served. He publicly said, “I do not want to give you a pardon.” He could have, he said, “but this taints free speech and I want your case to go all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.” It did, but based on some technicality and I've never known what the technicality was, they refused to hear it. When Bob Graham got elected, I made an appeal to him for a pardon. Bob Graham graciously and immediately issued a pardon and restored all of my rights because they all know that everything was political—the arrest, the trial, the sentence and the release were all political.
COA: Why were you sent there COA: Thinking about that that and how long were you there? era, do you feel like the Civil Rights Movement achieved the HKM: A chant is what got us, goals that you hoped it would? you see. At one of the Wendel Blackwell demonstrations, we HKM: I do, but I also feel that sang a chant—“two, four, six, we are regressing and I attrieight. Who shall we incarcer- bute that to the leadership at ate?” They said we were chant- the top in this country. I put it ing, —“two, four, six, eight. Who at the doorstep of number 45. shall we assassinate?” So the I can't in good conscience put crime was extortion by threat in everything at the doorstep, but I that we were trying to force the can put the encouraging of viosheriff to do something against lence against people of differhis will and that was to get rid ent backgrounds—racial backof Doug Raines. grounds, ethnicity, religious backgrounds. When I think The first-time I went to the about how he did with the Censtate penitentiary for 30 days. tral Park Five after they were I got out on an appeal bond acquitted. I think about the and the Ninth Circuit Court of birther movement. I think about Appeals upheld my conviction, so many things—even this so I was sent back for 33 days. morning when I heard Michael Then, I got an appeal bond to Cohen say, “Donald Trump is the Florida Supreme Court. a racist.” I mean, he said those They were going to send me
I try to hasten to tell people that I get all of the accolades because I'm the only one who had the privilege of going to jail and prison, but I'm by no means the only one who worked in the vineyard of civil rights. There were plenty of people right here in this city who did, too."
words. So, I think we have retrogressed and I think a part of that retrogression is our fault as a people. You mentioned the word complacent early on. We became so complacent, so satisfied with what we supposedly had gained, which was really what already belonged to us, so we really didn't gain anything. We just wrestled from the lion’s jaw those rights that he was chewing on that belonged to us. We just pried his mouth open and took them out. But now the lion has reappeared and he's grappling at every bit of civility and rights that we've enjoyed. We just can't allow that to happen. We cannot allow that to happen. COA: What do you tell people, particularly white people, who believe that racism doesn't exist in America in the same damaging ways it once did? HKM: Get your head out of the hole. Get your head out of the sand. Anybody with any sense at all who can see the everyday workings around them and say that racism has abated, is gone, no longer exists—they don’t have any common sense. There was a time when it was, as I said early on, cryptic. It was hidden. It was not so brazen. But now they think they have a license. I think about nine people in Mother Emmanuel Church up in Carolina. Nine people who only wanted to worship God. Dylann Roof didn't migrate. He was homegrown. The quietness is deafening when it comes to that.
HKM: Dr. King because of all of the things that they've tried to drag him into—the scandals and stuff—he was still a man who stood up. He always said, “Never let a man drag you so low as to make you hate him.” When I was in the State Penitentiary and the Lord just would not cooperate with me for nothing I did my best to hate. I just I haven't been able to do it. I always say hatred is like acid—it eats up the container. So I can't hate.
Above: Dr. Lawrence Carter of Morehouse College presents Reverend H.K. Matthews with the 2014 “Gandhi, King, Ikeda Community Builders Award” for his life-long work of nonviolent protest and his commitment to equality for all. Below: Reverend H.K. Matthews stands at his namesake park on 12th Ave.
COA: Tell me a little bit about your book Victory After The Fall. What inspired you to write it? HKM: All of those experiences, which did not scratch the surface. I experienced a fall. I mean, I was at my lowest ebb. I was almost at the point I had to throw bricks in the garbage can to make biscuits rise, you know, I was really down. Then came the commutation, the pardon, the numerous recognitions for the work that I had been involved in. I try to hasten to tell people that I get all of the accolades because I'm the only one who had the privilege of going to jail and prison, but I'm by no means the only one who worked in the vineyard of civil rights. There were plenty of people right here in this city who did, too—people like Reverend B.J. Brooks, Reverend Nathaniel Smith, Reverend James Young. Reverend K.C. Bass, Reverend J.H. Kendricks, Mrs. Kendricks. There were just tons of people who were my supporting cast. The inspiration came from those experiences.
HKM: 99.9 percent because without faith I wouldn't be sitting here today with you. Faith made me maintain my sanity. The stuff that I was going through, I could have easily cracked. But because of my faith in God, he didn't let that happen. I believed, believe and will forever believe that if God can bring you to it, he can bring you through it.
COA: Who, in terms of civil rights activists, has had the big- COA: What role did your faith I do believe the Bible—and so gest influence on you? play in your activism? from one blood he created all of
us. I deal with people based on how they treat me. I don't care if they are black or white because like I told you I had eight contracts out on my life and three of them would have been carried out by black people. People are people. There's so much good in the best of us. There's so much bad in the worst of us. So, I'm a proponent of human rights. Civil rights, yes. Human rights, yes.
SPRING 2019 LIFESTYLE MAGAZINE FOR SENIORS 33
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What’s the News? The Retreat adult day care hosts Valentine’s Day celebration and music lifted the spirits of all involved and transported partakers back to the good old days of sweetheart dances. The Retreat specializes in adult day care service for those living with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. While most days offer stimulating experiences for these older adults with physical and cognitive impairments, the facility strives to diversity activities as much as possible, with routine holiday celebrations, arts and crafts, movie-showings, day trips, games and more. This opportunity in turn provides respite to family members and caregivers while On Feb. 14, The Retreat adult day care at Council protecting and entertaining those they love most. on Aging hosted a sweetheart celebration for elder Parties such as the sweetheart dance help activate adults. The Valentine’s Day party featured musical memory and cognitive function while being fun for all. entertainment, gifts, an opportunity for hair and “Activities like this are so important for their social makeup and local military men and women available awareness and mental health,” said Jessica Ayers, to dance the afternoon away with clients. Solaris Healthcare of Pensacola and La-T-Da Events director of The Retreat. “Dances and music help break shy clients out of their shells while giving provided corsages, boutonnieres and Valentines everyone the opportunity to have a little fun, make for the nearly 50 participants. Taking part in this memories and reconnect with their younger selves.” fun activity complete with accessories, decorations
Public officials take part in March for Meals Recently sworn-in Milton Mayor Heather Lindsay participated with Council on Aging on Tuesday, March 12 to deliver Meals on Wheels to a home-bound, vulnerable elder adult. The effort was part of a larger nationwide initiative called March for Meals, facilitated by Meals on Wheels America, which encourages local leaders in government and business to become involved and raise awareness for the program. Meals on Wheels serves about 2.4 million seniors nationwide and nearly 500 individuals 60 and over locally. “Receiving Meals on Wheels 36 COMING OF AGE SPRING 2019
helps me keep my independence, and the tasty snacks are pretty good, too,” said 82-year-old Susie Copeland, who received her Meals on Wheels delivery from Mayor Lindsay. “There’s no place like home and Meals on Wheels helps me stay here.” Copeland also suffers from arthritis and is wheelchair- and walker-bound. In the past, local leaders such as Pensacola Councilman PC Wu, Escambia County Commissioner Lumon May, and former Pensacola Mayor Ashton Hayward have Meals on Wheels, which provides participated in the celebration. “I was so pleased to be asked to a vital service to seniors in our community,” said Mayor Lindsay. participate in Council on Aging’s
Escambia County Supports Wheelchair Ramp Pilot Program Escambia County is partnering with local agencies for a wheelchair ramp pilot partnership program that aims to help county residents maintain independence and improve wheelchair accessibility to their homes. The Escambia Board of County Commissioners approved funding for the program at the December Committee of the Whole meeting. Under the pilot program, the county will work with nonprofit agencies to build the ramps, with the agencies providing volunteer labor for construction and the county providing funding for materials. Local agencies including Pensacola Civitan Club, Council on Aging of West Florida, Inc. and Ray of Hope of Northwest Florida Inc. currently provide volunteer construction of ramps, but are often limited in the number of ramps that can be built due to a shortage of volunteers and funding for materials and supplies. These agencies are looking for handy volunteers to support their ramp building initiatives. For volunteer opportunities, please contact the agencies below: •Pensacola Civitan Club: (850)255-9796 •Council on Aging of West Florida: (850)266-2518 •Pensacola Habitat for Humanity: (850)434-5456 •Ray of Hope of Northwest Florida: (850)516-1916 Aid will be targeted to owner occupants residing in Escambia County whose income is at or below 80 percent of area median income. Consideration
may be given to non-owner-occupied properties on a case by case basis. Applicants must be current on property taxes and not have any outstanding County liens to participate. Assistance is provided as a grant with no payback requirements. Escambia County Neighborhood Enterprise Division will accept referrals from participating agencies and will screen applicants for eligibility. For general information or for organizations interested in participating in the program, contact Meredith Reeves in the Neighborhood Enterprise Division at (850)595-4968. Homeowners interested in applying for assistance may contact the Escambia County Neighborhood Enterprise Division at (850)595-0022 or ned@ myescambia.com.
African-American Alzheimer’s Caregiver Training and Support (ACTS) 2 Project The ACTS 2 Project offers faith-based, skills-building and support services to distressed African-American family caregivers of loved ones with dementia across all counties in North and Central Florida. There is no charge for this service. The ACTS 2 Project is funded by the Dave Groves, VALIC, Inc., Geriatric Workforce Enhancement Program, Florida State Primitive Baptist Convention, African Methodist Episcopal Church (11th Episcopal District), Sandy Halperin Alzheimer’s Research Fund and FSU College of Medicine. The skills-building program consists of 12 weekly sessions on topics, such as relaxation, effective thinking and problem-solving skills. Sessions are offered over the telephone by trained, lay volunteers from the African-American faith community. Caregivers are encouraged to work on the problems
and challenges they face everyday. Caregivers will receive up to $90 for completing the project. Common issues to be addressed: • Communicating effectively with your doctor and family members • Dealing with aggressive behaviors • Safety and wandering • Giving medicines • Managing the stresses and worries of caregiving • Increasing self-care, rest and relaxation For more information on how you can receive these services, please call them toll-free at 1-866-778-2724 (Tallahassee local (850)274-4945 or visit our website (ACTS2Project.org). You also can e-mail (tnnorton@ fsu.edu) Tomeka Norton-Brown, ACTS 2 Project Coordinator.
SPRING 2019 LIFESTYLE MAGAZINE FOR SENIORS 37
Many thanks to our donors. We appreciate your generous support. Gifts received from November 23 - February 24
Hannah and John Adams
Apple Corps Foundation
Joe and Patricia Edmisten
Lutheran Church of the Resurrection Margaret Sheridan
Escambia Lodge No. 15, F&AM
Ashbrie Cinemas, Inc.
St. Christopher's Episcopal Church
Sam and Priscilla Forester
Margaret & Harry Stopp
Baptist Health Care
Strong Street Studio
Mary Carol Bartemes
James and Emily Mills
BBVA Compass Charity
Alan and Margie Moore
Bill & Glend Triemer
Florida Blue Cross Blue Shield
Hirst Transmission Specialists
Jeff Nall and Mark Gillman
Susan & Bobby Bonsignore
Home Instead Senior Care
Suzanne K. Horton
Northeast Pensacola Sertoma Club
Brown Thorton Pacenta
J M 'Mick' Novota
& Company, P.A.
Edward and Cheryl Wasdin
Mark and Dawn Butler
Brian and Karen Weeks
Central Credit Union of Florida
Jim and Cynthia Pennington
Westminster Presbyterian Church
Pat and Donna Quinn
John B. Clark
Wanda Eubanks Landmon
Justin and Bonnie Witkin
Landrum Family Foundation
Robert A. Benz Family Foundation
Pam & Harry Schwartz
Council on Aging of West Florida is a local independent 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization that has served seniors and their families since 1972. Council on Aging of West Florida helps seniors in Escambia and Santa Rosa Counties live healthy, safe and independent lives in their own familiar surroundings by providing community-based, in-home programs and services such as Meals on Wheels and Alzheimerâ€™s respite care. For more information, call 432-1475 or visit www.coawfla.org. A COPY OF THE OFFICAL REGISTRATION AND FINANCIAL INFORMATION MAY BE OBTAINED FROM THE DIVISION OF CONSUMER SERVICES BY CALLING 1-800-435-7532 TOLL FREE WITHIN THE STATE. REGISTRATION DOES NOT IMPLY ENDORSEMENT, APPROVAL OR RECOMMENDATION BY THE STATE. THE REGISTRATION NUMBER ASSIGNED TO COUNCIL ON AGING OF WEST FLORIDA, INC BY THE FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURAL AND COSUMER SERVICES IS CH817. COUNCIL ON AGING OF WEST FLORIDA DOES NOT USE A PROFESSIONAL SOLICITOR OR PROFESSIONAL FUND RAISNG CONSULTANT FOR THE PURPOSES OF SOLICITING FUNDS. 100% OF DONATIONS GO TO COUNCIL ON AGING OF WEST FLORIDA, INC.
38 COMING OF AGE SPRING 2019
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