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Birds of a feather

There’s a club at Linden Ponds for just about every cultural heritage and interest

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April 13th, 2017
Members of the Linden Ponds Canadian-American club gather at a table for dinner.

Linden Ponds’ Canadian-American Club (left side, front to back) Rhoda Ross, Marjorie Neily, Dr. Donald Waugh, Dr. John Zadworny, and Louise Zadworny. (Right side, front to back) Faith Ramstrom, Doreen Geissenhainer, Cathy Clay, and Nancy Waugh.

The retirees at Linden Ponds can relate to one another based on a variety of different things. Some may bond over similar professional backgrounds. Others form friendships through shared hobbies. And for some, the common denominator is their cultural heritage. 

Linden Ponds is a diverse community, with residents of many different ethnicities and cultures. And there are several resident-run heritage clubs, including the Canadian-American Club; the Irish-American Club; the Italian-American Club; the Lithuanian Heritage Club; and Der Stammtisch, a group for people who speak German. 

Canadian heart 

Marjorie Neily was born in the U.S., but her parents are from Nova Scotia. When she moved to Linden Ponds and discovered clubs for Irish and Italian people, she thought it would be fun to start a group for Canadian-Americans. 

About 20 people with Canadian roots joined, including two who grew up in Saskatchewan and others in Ontario, and they have been getting together for dinner once a month in one of Linden Ponds’ private dining rooms ever since. After dinner, they move to one of the community’s classrooms for some sort of program about Canada. For instance, at a past meeting they watched a DVD about a train trip from Toronto to Vancouver. 

“We have been meeting for about four years now,” Marjorie says. “It’s a jolly group.”

While Marjorie grew up and currently lives in the United States, a big piece of her heart is in Canada. She always spent time in Nova Scotia, and she inherited a house there, where she spent every summer for many years hosting friends and family members.

“There was a lighthouse opposite my house. There wasn’t anything on the water side of the road, so I had a nice view,” she says. “The Bay of Fundy has the highest of high tides and lowest low tides, so it’s nice to sit watch the surf roll in and see the ducks and seals.”

Marjorie’s full-time residence was in Newton, Mass., until she moved to Linden Ponds in 2009. She says chores like mowing the lawn were becoming a burden, so she decided to start looking at retirement communities in the area and determined that Linden Ponds was the best fit.

“I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else,” Marjorie says. “I have met a lot of friends, and I enjoy all of the music and concerts here.”

Regular get-together

Linden Ponds’ German Club is called Der Stammtisch, which translates to “a table reserved for regular guests” or “a get-together with the regulars.” 

Barbara Ward, who was born in Hildesheim, Germany, and immigrated to the United States in 1948, is the current leader of the group. 

The primary focus of Der Stammtisch is simply for the members to get together and speak in German in order to keep their language skills sharp. Club members are all native or strong German speakers, so their conversations aren’t limited to exchanging pleasantries.

“We also have some not-so-small talk,” Barbara says. “Last time we talked about alternate realities in German.”

Periodically, the German residents will also share goodies or go on outings together.

“Occasionally somebody bakes something German or somebody brings sausages to the meeting,” Barbara says. “And we go to Oktoberfest in Boston or at one of our local churches.”

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