Wednesday, 24 April Northampton: a good place to grow old

 You could do worse than grow old in Northampton. Although it’s a very college focussed town, it’s also very elder focussed. I’ve met two “Miss Senior Massachusetts” who live here. “Well,” says one “I wasn’t really a finalist. I was Miss Congeniality”. The mind boggles.

ImageTheir Senior Center, unlike many London Centers which are space limited, is vast and well appointed. A stern notice states that the gym is ONLY for people 60+ (clearly some younguns tried to sneak in) and a vast gentleman upward of 17 stone is giving it his all on a stationery bicycle. There is a room where microphones are set up and people go in and are singing to an electric guitar. A games room for Scrabble and Cribbage. Something disturbingly called “a brown bag room” for people with modest incomes who get extra groceries. A little café. An ongoing used book stall. It’s very beautiful and very comfortable.  Being American, everyone is very friendly. “I’m Karl with a K” says one man. “Won’t you join us in our singing group?”


I join the drama group which is partly reminiscence, storytelling and connecting experiences, run by the dynamic Roy Faudree who also directs Young at Heart in their more theatrical pieces. One woman, Patricia, who is 88 says “I want to tell you a story I have NEVER TOLD ANYONE BEFORE.” We are riveted. She tells the story, which happened in 1933 in Texas during the Depression and we speculate as to what her story might have meant. Possibilities for scenes emerge.

ImageLater that evening Roy hosts the Group Sing. 50 people age 50 – 70 (they are pre Young at Heart age, who only admit people over 73). It’s a great session, a chance to breathe, warm up, be silly,  sing old favourites. Old favourites of course used to be “You Are My Sunshine.” But this crowd are Baby Boomers – we sing Beatles, Cat Stevens, Bob Dylan. I know the words to everything. So now I’m singing old favourites. Well, there you have it. Time to move to Northampton. I’m even old enough to use the exercise room and the stationery bicycle.




2 thoughts on “Wednesday, 24 April Northampton: a good place to grow old

  1. Enid Irving

    Just spent yesterday assessing care in an excellent Jewish facility in Finchley yes get them energized more forceful – less the passive recipients of care through their creative actions but

    I am concerned however that the residents are much older than the ones I saw 20 years ago (105 year old lady and me kissed each other soundly so there are exceptions) but I am worried that we (you as theatre professionals) may put forward suggestions (and be listened to) that are impracticable the residents time is very limited (as anyone who has spent time in an institution will agree) Ive sent some stuff to Susie & Estelle not decrying efforts more practical. I AM SO GLAD YOU ARE HAVING SUCH A BRILLIANT CREATIVE TOME _ YOU DESERVE IT! Love e


    1. Singing Seniors Post author

      can you send to Ant – I really saw such amazing stuff in SAGE. I know he’s been there but the arts stuff I haven’t seen anywhere else. Opening Doors people I don’t think are very interested.

      Just the New York bit.

      Tomorrow San Francisco!



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