We Seniors were headed for one of our favorite tours as soon as we walked through the security doors of the NH Women’s State Prison in Concord. Surrendering our purses for us ladies prior to the tour was a challenge though. When I talked to Warden Fortier on the phone, she gave me the names of the two guards who would be our guides. Must have been love at first sight because she decided to become our personal tour guide. Of course, we were always shadowed by a very capable female guard who answered frequent questions from the rear of the pack. After a long walk through the overwhelming maze of jail cells, dining areas, guard stations, etc., our last stop was the Canteen where the residents work, sell and share food and other supplies. After that hour of walking, that last jar of peanut butter on their shelf looked pretty good. Did you know you can make taffy from Kool Aid? They do it (gonna get the recipe). Warden Fortier knew every inch of the Prison and was very proud of their operations. We learned that the biggest input into the design of the facility was from women. For women - right? Security was always #1 and most of the areas we were allowed to visit were quite comfortable. Well... almost. We still enjoy talking about the Prison, so ask us anytime. Better yet, take the tour.
A new lunch venue was the Saddle-Up Saloon in Kingston. You gotta try it. There were 22 of us savoring the endless menu - actually, enough members to conduct a meeting. The kitchen and wait staff were great. The atmosphere sure was like a "Saloon." We're considering going back for dinner, drinks at the bar, line dancing and game tables (line dancing might be a spectator sport for us ).
Our April meeting is now the official date of our annual Auction. Items were brought from homes and went back to homes. I do think I saw a few of those items before. Regardless, it was a lot of fun and pretty good for our Treasury. So now we have an outlet for STUFF!
Our favorite leader, NIcole, now leads us at our Mall Walking Club once a week. It's very popular and "healthy." Don't know about the "after walk" I-Hop stop though. Now the Mall Walk is on Tuesdays and on Wednesdays, two young ladies from UNH get us motivated with "white head exercises” right here at Watson. Simple stuff for us oldies, but very effective. There is no I-Hop nearby but coffee and snacks always appear at the "Break." Then the fun part. - creating masterpieces with clay or playing with IPads. Feels like déjà vu.
Spring means waiting is over. The outdoor Malls are ready for us and we're ready for them. So, off to the Merrimack Mall in May for some Malling and of course, lunch. We'll be strolling through Fuller Gardens once the flowers wake up, probably in June or July. Another happy spot is the Butterfly Place in Massachusetts. We'll mingle among the fluttering beauties in June or July.
A new tradition has been born out of winter-time boredom. We continue to spontaneously meet at Telly's for lunch about once a month, where the menu includes friendship, laughter and a little bit of gossip.
The Epping Historical Society will host our May meeting. The members will be amazed to see what is in store for them. A hidden treasure sits right beside our little Park. Everyone should explore our fascinating history as it's displayed beautifully throughout the building and waits to be enjoyed. It will be fun to report back in the next issue about their reactions.
June brings back another tradition (just noticed, we have lots of "traditions"). Is it old age? Anyway, our summer begins with the Beach Picnic at Kingston State Park. We try to hit the parking lot before the big yellow buses but that's not always the case. No fret though. It's kind of fun to interact with the kids. We've concluded they think their grandparents were invited to their picnic! That works with us.
July is usually stay-at-home for us as the Recreation kids take over the Academy. However, we will have a meeting at the Fire Department where the Chief and staff will educate us on the topic of "Opioids" in Epping. This is a topic we are ignorant about and really want to learn more.
Plans are coming together to celebrate our 20th year this summer. The age span among our members is from 63 to 93. YES- 93 who is one of our original members. Amazing! We started with seven members. Now I count 32. Nice steady growth. Home has always been here at Watson Academy.
I got a tip from a former telemarketer and here it is. After answering the phone the first time and you know it is a telemarketer, press the # key repeatedly until you get a busy signal or a "sorry, hang up and dial again" message. This tells them you are a fax machine and will kick your number out of their system and they will not call you again. I'm going to try it and hope it works.
Remember - don't look back 'cause we're not going that way.
Submitted by Irene R. Cote, Secretary