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gift of the strangers


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Gift of the Strangers
Creativity: A Force for Change


If someone had asked me ten years ago which stage of life I would like to concentrate on and subsequently write about, I would have said the teens. But now in 1983, I have found a new interest in the love and respect for residents in a particular nursing home.

Perhaps I have always harbored this love and it's now beginning to be channeled. After all, was not my Irish grandmother my best friend and beloved heroine during childhood? I remember her as old, always old, but warm and concerned, full of laughter and dozens of Irish witticisms which were just the thing for a little girl to tuck inside her heart.

And more recently, the deep friendship and great inspiration of my mother-in-law of 42 years, Sarah Saunders. Her faith, courage, and optimistic attitudes have been a positive force in my life and continue to be as she busies herself in her 91st year.

If this book needs a raison d'etre, perhaps mentioning the influence of these two wonderful women would be enough. . . .

But in these chapters, you will meet my new friends. At the start of our creative writing class in October, 1978, we were all strangers. But during these four years of sharing memories, new ideas and deep emotions, we have become friends. We have laughed and cried together, we have grown together and I am indeed grateful to the "strangers."

They have become writers.

I want to tell you what these new writers are "made of ." I trust you will appreciate their creativity as I have. I believe the elderly, as well as younger people with exceptional needs, need not imprison thoughts, need not stop growing, need not live in a narrow world.

In the process of learning, my students have indeed gifted themselves, each other, and me. With the sharing of their lives
and their work in this book, they will also gift a wider audience.

Read the final chapter here.

© 1983, Kay Saunders