Category Archives: Seniors

Sew in the Family

File Jan 12, 8 45 20 AM
Cali Fife with great grandmother, Romaine Coeyman

Romaine Coeyman and her great-granddaughter, Cali Fife, were been born more than 70 years apart, but surprisingly, they have a lot more in common than just DNA. They both share the love of sewing and creating. And what’s more, they have done much of their craft in the exact same place, but more than 50 years apart.

Romaine Coeyman began working in the William Bernstein Sewing Factory in 1960, soon after the birth of her son. “I liked the job because I got to set sleeves. I loved that!” Coeyman remembers.

She says she always enjoyed sewing and the friendships she made at work. “I always think of [my work] around Christmas time.” She remembers setting tables up and having a potluck lunch to celebrate the season. “It was really jolly at Christmas time.” Coeyman mostly worked on the second floor in the sewing area where she sewed night gowns. She has fond memories of her days at the sewing factory.

These days, the Bernstein Sewing Factory building is occupied by DreamWrights Youth and Family Theatre, where many kids, like fifteen year old Cali Fife, fell in love with designing for the performing arts. Fife used to dance but she quickly realized that she loved the costumes more than the spotlight. She found her comfort zone creating costumes at DreamWrights, working in the second floor sewing area, exactly where her great-grandmother worked decades previously.

Cali Fife Bag
Cute bag created by Fife

Fife enjoys creating with fabric and has made many friends through her craft, just like her great-grandmother. She enjoys the collaborative nature of sewing and designing, and in fact, even has her own online shop called Cali Ann, where she creates cool scarves, clever pouches, cute bags, and even the occasional custom costume.

Although the space is much different than what she remembers, Coeyman is amazed at the transformation of the building from a sewing factory to a theatre space. “I love it! I think it is amazing!” And when asked what she thinks about her great-granddaughter sewing and creating, just like she herself did more than a half century ago, Coeyman sums it up simply, “That’s nice. She really loves it too.”

StAGEs: Seniors will Showcase their Talents on October 29

Something funny is brewing at DreamWrights. For the past six weeks, StAGEs, a theater arts program designed specifically for the over 55 crowd, has been entertaining, challenging, and intriguing participants. Inspired by the National Council on Creative Aging (NCCA), StARTSomething and DreamWrights have partnered to offer this unique theater arts offering.

StAGEs

The members of the inaugural workshop will showcase their talents as well as what they’ve learned and accomplished on Thursday, October 29 a 2pm. This performance is free and open to the public. Free and easy off-street parking is available. As the performance unfolds, the audience will be treated to comedic scenes, touching reflections and maybe even some singing and dancing. Come ready to laugh.

Led by NCAA-trained theatre artists, Christina Myers and Luke MacCloskey, the StAGEs group has been experimenting with theatrical techniques to play games, tell stories, create plot and characters, and build new friendships.  These 5 men and 12 women range in age from Skip Lefever at 57 to Dolores Quickel at 94. Dolores can’t wait to register for the next StAGEs workshop. “I go home feeling really happy!” she beams. She claims she even laughs about it in bed as she’s falling asleep. “We’re having fun and enjoying ourselves” announces Nancy Wolgamuth. “It makes you laugh!” adds Mike Stewart.

When asked about the workshop, the participants could hardly contain their excitement and enthusiasm. “Nobody is a polished performer,” declares Judy Grimm. “But we’re learning to be hams,” interrupts Evelyn Miller. Mike Stewart explains that StAGEs is not at all what he anticipated. He was expecting a more serious workshop. “I even brought a pen and notebook the first time. But this turned out to be much better than a class!” The other participants agree. Nancy Wolgamuth loves the exercises because they “make your mind work” while having fun.

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Christina Myers, actor, writer, and producer has appeared in various TV and film projects including “Girl, Interrupted” (as Nurse Margie opposite Oscar Award Winner, Angelina Jolie).  Luke MacCloskey, actor, writer, and producer has performed on stage and screen around the country.  You might recognize him (or not!) as the interloping zombie in the national TVBoss.org commercial.  Together they perform as Cobblestone Comedy for corporate events and private parties.  They also lead professional rapport-building workshops for medical professionals.

StAGEs encourages active participation in the performing arts.  Meet new people, make art, and enjoy the benefits of “creative aging.”  Enrollment is limited to 16 participants and is free of charge.  A fully refundable registration fee will be returned at the culmination of the sessions. No experience is necessary. Accommodations will be provided for those with physical limitations and/or stage fright. Call 717-848-8623 x221 for more information and to register.