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Expressing the artist within

Created date

November 14th, 2014
Maris Grove resident Gordon Schloatman carved this bowl from beetle-kill pine.
Maris Grove resident Gordon Schloatman carved this

Gordon Schloatman is a man of many talents—acrylic painter, wood carver, and cowboy poet.
His artistic efforts, including a beautiful Tiffany lampshade, grace the Schloatmans’ home at Grove, Erickson Living’s retirement community in Delaware County, Pa.
Gordon recites his cowboy poetry at Maris Grove’s annual Follies productions. This year, he read a humorous poem based on a memory from his childhood on a Nebraska dairy farm. Until Gordon’s father bought a tractor, Gordon rode an “old nag” to round up the cattle for milking.
He qualifies as a bonafide cowboy: his family moved to Wyoming when he was 12, and later, outside Chicago, he raised Arabian horses.
Like cowboys of old, Gordon and his wife Ilene are no strangers to the trail. But they use more modern horsepower, a large motor home, when they tour the country. Some trips include the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko, Nev.
New pastimes
When they retired to Wyoming, Gordon took up poetry and woodcarving.
One of his carvings, a castle intricately worked from cottonwood bark, is displayed in the couple’s great room. Its 46 windows and doors are carved ¼-inch deep, and all but three of them light up.
The great room also displays several carved walking sticks and an impressively large bowl carved from beetle-kill pine, named for the pest that’s killed millions of acres of trees out west.
Family matters
During 12 years of their retirement years, the Schloatmans lived six months each year at their four-bedroom, three-bathroom house in Torrington and six months in their motor home in central Arizona.
But neither Wyoming nor Arizona was near their daughter’s home in West Chester, Pa.
“Cindy was 1,700 miles away,” says Gordon. “If we had an emergency, it meant an eight-hour plane ride plus a four-hour car ride to get to us in Wyoming, and that was in good weather.”
Moving to Maris Grove made sense.
Besides its nearness to Cindy, “It’s an extremely well-engineered facility,” Gordon says. “I’m really impressed with the architectural planning.”
Maris Grove’s on-campus full-service medical center and its rehabilitation and continuing care neighborhood reinforced the Schloatmans’ decision; those amenities provide extra peace of mind.
Maris Grove’s creative environment was a wonderful bonus. Gordon grows giant dahlias in his community garden spaces and explores two- and three-dimensional art that he exhibits in the community’s Brinton Clubhouse creative arts studio.
He paints in the Schloatmans’ apartment home, using tree trunk boards as canvasses.
He also frequents the campus woodshop where, to commemorate 9/11, he carved a full-round eagle with an American flag draped over its wings.
Inspired by another woodshop member, he’s also carved gourds.
The Schloatmans downsized for the move to their one-bedroom apartment home. But, Gordon quips, “The apartment fits. You have to make some adjustments, and it’s much larger than the motor home.”
Their loveseat and oversized sofa sit comfortably within their spacious great room, and Gordon’s large impatiens and begonia plants bloom in scarlet abandon on their patio.