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Meet Arlene Norman: She’s Re-Creating Herself at Kittay House
“Most of my life, I have been somewhat reserved. But in this safe and friendly environment, I feel comfortable enough to try out my social wings and become somewhat outgoing,” confides a very optimistic Arlene Norman, who recently moved to the Kittay House community.
Arlene, 73, grins widely when she talks about her eagerness to partake in so many of the activities offered at Kittay. She already attends a weekly Writers’ Group, the Short Story Workshop and the Short Story Analysis class. “I have always done lots of business writing in my professional career, but now I’m jumping in and drafting a series of tales about my nine crazy Eastern European aunts.” She hopes to engage a book company to publish them once the manuscript is complete. Arlene is impressed with the depth of her fellow tenants’ writings, which she calls “impressive and meaningful.”
But Arlene’s skills are not limited to her the world of writing and academia (she has two Bachelor’s degrees and two Master’s degrees). Sewing clothes for herself and doing alternations is a long-standing tradition. Sifting through a trimmed-down sampling from her lifetime collection of fabrics, Arlene mentions the need for a new bathrobe and plans to cut out a pattern and get busy with the sewing project, using her cherished sewing machine. “I am going to take over the arts and crafts room and layout the fabric,” says the motivated seamstress. She adds, “One of my new Kittay friends suggested that I start a business here using my skills to do basic hems and alterations. I’m actually thinking about it.”
Arlene is elated that, since her move to Kittay House, she no longer has to think about housework and food shopping and, instead, focuses on the things she enjoys, “I foresee an exciting year of positive changes for me at Kittay.“