Apifera Farm - where art, story, animals & woman merge. Home to artist Katherine Dunn

Apifera Farm is a registered 501 [c][3]. #EIN# 82-2236486

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©Katherine Dunn.

Monday, April 30, 2018

Opie smile therapy-and how much should I help?

Jeanne and Opie

Opie and I had a really good visit with our friends in Wiscasset. I can say that each visit has been fun, good, full of beautiful moments, some visits are quiet some are more active...each visit has an energy, just like any get together with anyone.

But this visit was really a special one. I have known these people now a year, so part of it is getting to know each other. I think it is safe to say that Opie has become an extended member of the household. This comes from the fact we consistently visit, this is something I am committed to. And as I've said, I'm very fond of this group. I know that shows, I know when I give of myself in a genuine way-without motives of self-my higher self is emitted to those in my presence.

One thing that made it extra special was the conversation was really full of all sorts of topics, and we talked again about Jeanne's time as a professional dancer in NYC. It came up again because I brought up Gramercy Park-one of my favorite places and neighborhoods when I was living in NYC back in the '80's. And Jeanne, who is 97, smiled broadly and said that's where her sister lived. Her sister was Clare Luce, famous actress of the era. Jeanne also lived there with Clare at some point. We talked about Jeanne's career, and she traveled the dance circuit then, around the region, and did dance on Broadway too. I told her she should write a book.

"I tried a couple times," she said. She went on to say she had daily diaries and had tried to start books and never got it done. My little head was bursting inside. I was dying to read those diaries. I'm sure they were full of wonderful stories. I told Jeanne that, and that I could help her get the writing together into a book of some form. We smiled and that was the end of our visit.

All the way home I thought of Jeanne, and her life. We all have these rich wells of stories. You can walk down any given street and have no idea what that body and soul experienced in life. We all share something in common, something. Just think, years ago, Jeanne was walking around Gramercy Park. Years later when Jeanne would have been in her 60's [I'm 60 now] and I was in my late 20's, I was walking around Gramercy Park. I'm talking my place on the great mandala.

I wondered how much to push on these ideas. How much help can and should I extend to my elder friends? I have wanted to share more of each person's life, their stories, in a way they would enjoy. Maybe interview each one and write a story about them...share it with you, maybe the local paper if the residents liked that idea. Or maybe a book, "Opie's friends". We are all in this together, the people that came before me were rich with story. I wished I'd asked more questions. Someday, I might be somewhere, sitting petting a therapy animal...and my head might be thinking,

But they have no idea how I lived amongst the animals, I wish I could tell them all their names.I wish they knew Opie.

They really love Opie. The care manager of the home took me aside before I left to show me a scrap book she had started for them all, with Opie's first letter. That just made my day.

{If you like the work we do here at our non profit, please consider a donation. Donations help our elder/special needs animals and allow us to continue our elder outreach work. We do not take salaries and all our visits are our gift to the elders.}
Ruth also lived in NYC and was there when I was