Category Archives: Memories

The Hats We Wear

Collington women have shown us the way of the world just by sharing their hats.  From an Admiral’s hat to traditional nurses caps to hard hats to church hats to pussy hats, this year’s Women’s History Clocktower Exhibit displayed our unique places in the world.   Colorful and diverse and observed and commented by residents and visitors alike the exhibit was changed out some, mid-month to accommodate all hats donated.  Fun and fascinating and successful!  Whatever shall we do next year???

Hope you enjoy the pictures.

Hats w1Hats w2Hats w3Hats w4Hats w5Hats w6

Meet Mrs. ​Davenport – 104 Years Young!

Mrs D3

On Thursday, March 8, International Women’s Day, the residents of Collington and members of Mrs. Davenport’s church met in “conversation.”   It was quite fitting since she initiated a celebration of International Women’s Day in her church.  Mrs. Davenport lived in accordance with her favorite hymn, “If I Can Help Somebody.”  This was demonstrated over and over again as Mrs. Davenport described her life!  Watch below.

photo and video by Lois Brown

Ainslie Embree, An Ultimate Collingtonian – Memorial Events Now Scheduled

ATE Portrait May 2009

On July 29 (Saturday) at 2 PM, there will be a traditional Episcopal Book of Common Prayer service in the chapel here at Collington to mark the death of Ainslie Embree.  At 3 PM there will be a reception in the Auditorium.  It is understood that some may wish to attend one of these events, and others both.

There seems indeed for me a special need to mark the death, after an astonishingly full life, of Ainslie Embree, perhaps the ultimate Collingtonian.

Ainslie brought a combination of dignity, warmth, intelligence and humility to Collington.  He and his wife Sue quickly became some of our earliest and closest friends.  As one of the internationalist generation, it turned out that we knew surprisingly many in common. His wide knowledge of the world, and of people in it, and his humane wisdom about everything, made every conversation an adventure, which also provided deep reassurance about humanity.

I can not resist sharing two stories.  Outside the dining room, there is a wall festooned with photographs of Collingtonians with heads of state.  (As our son remarked, if you are a head of state, and want to get on that wall, you have to get to know someone at Collington.)  One is of Ainslie talking to Indira Gandhi.  Ainslie pointed out the strange look that the person standing next to him is giving him, and told us that he had asked the man, a missionary, why he was looking at him that way.  According to Ainslie, the man replied, “Because you were being such a suck-up.”  (I wonder how many of that set of photos have similarly ambiguous and fascinating back-stories.)

On another occasion, we were having dinner with Sue and Ainslie and overheard someone at the next table ask, “Are you in Who’s Who?”  After appropriate quiet snickers, we all tried to come up with the perfect come-back.  Ainslie won, hands down with, “Isn’t everybody?” and an immediate return to the topic at hand.

When resident Doris Ball died, I asked Ainslie to use the occasion to draft an appreciation of Dorothy and her husband Robert.  His contribution, which because a much broader appreciation of several of other residents (including, with particular relevance to today, Elliot Richardson), appeared under the heading, Thoughts on Robert Ball, Social Security and Collington’s Unsung Heroes of American Governance.

Collington  has had the good fortune to be the home of many outstanding citizens, with many  of them entitled to belong to the category of what has been called  by  Professor Mashaw  of Yale Law School, “unsung  heroes of American governance.”  Four who come immediately to mind, without selective judgment, are Admiral Bill Crowe, Elliot Richardson, Senator Chuck Percy and Robert Ball.  Each of them, as Kipling put it, walked with kings, but did not lose the common touch, exemplified in their fondness for small parties with fellow residents in their own homes or in those of other residents.

As so often, the appreciation he wrote could have been a mirror held to Sue (a giant in her own right) and himself, although they would be the last to have realized it.  Ainslie’s Wikipedia entry, with all the details, is here. Please read it.  Here, also, is a Unniverity of California TV interview of Ainslie.

A Reflection on “Retirement” By Resident Martha Stewart Smith

Ninety Four year old Collington Resident Martha Smith penned this Reflection on Retirement.  Thanks to Dorothy Yuan for facilitating its appearance here.

What did I imagine was the meaning of retirement? I found (in my stash of old papers!) a definition from an old Webster’s Dictionary. To retire is “to withdraw from action or danger; to retreat; to betake oneself for the sake of seclusion, as to retire from the world or to one’s home; to disappear; to vanish; to move back or away, or seem to do so; to withdraw from office or a public station, as having made a large fortune he retired.”

Now I said this came from an OLD dictionary. It seems to me retirement to Collington has a different explanation. We haven’t been able to betake ourselves for the sake of seclusion. Not when we have friendly neighbors who ring the doorbell and drop by for a daily chat. Invariably the phone rings from a child or grandchild to interrupt the visit, inquiring of our exciting day.

How can we vanish or disappear? Our treks down the long corridor for dinner or to the fitness center, to classes or lectures are when other residents are venturing out at the same time. We might sneak out if we chose to walk down the halls after nine o’clock at night when everyone else is watching his favorite TV program or snoozing with a book in his lap.

In daytime those fortunate (or unfortunate) residents who have windows overlooking the parking lot would be sure to notice that bent over old woman out on her own. If she had a dog and stopped to pick up the dog’s droppings she would be safe. And those dedicated flower arrangers have a reason to be out when clipping vines for the flower room.

Where would you disappear? Not past that keeper at the gate. The Weed Warriors have cleared the paths so it wouldn’t be easy to hide. If you did happen to stumble, security would be chasing you down, especially if your Sara sounded the alarm.

Why would one want to return to the place she left? We loved our big home in Virginia but I certainly don’t regret leaving all the stairs which once kept me active, nor the grocery shopping, meal making and housekeeping. So I’m content with retirement at Collington. With the conveniences and quantity of irresistible food I may outlive the expected longevity.

I’m not sure I“retired” until I moved in to my second floor apartment “with all the windows”overlooking the Lake. I’m really not alone. The neighbors on this Corridor are the best.

That part of “having made a large fortune” to retire was not true for me. The good fortune is finding this community of wonderful caring people who have experienced a variety of lifestyles and professions.

Thanks.  Good thoughts to inform our strategic planning.  This site welcomes additional such reflections.

Video of Our Reflections on the Women’s March of Jan 2017

Here it is:

Thanks to all who participated, organized, reflected, and edited.