FAIR LAWN, NJ – “We’re here to get everyone out of the house.”
That’s the mission of the Happy Seniors of Fair Lawn and if the statement of the mission was not enough, the president of the social club, Kathy Adely proved it with her smile.
“We are like an extended family,” she said recently after a morning spent at the Senior Center. Along with the other officers of the club, vice president Joe Scarry, secretary Lynn Saal, and Daniel McCarthy, they agreed that getting people out of the house and talking about their lives was an important part of the group’s mission.
Aside from the quarterly trips, the group, which is more than 40 years old, celebrates milestone birthdays. But of course, you need to be at least 60 years old just to join.
They currently have 67 members and they keep track of each other.
“If someone isn’t here or hasn’t attended a meeting in awhile, we look for them,” Adely said. “If someone isn’t well, we reach out to them.”
Originally named the Fair Lawn Swingers, the group realized the name could have some other meaning, so they quickly changed it.
“Yeah, that didn’t work out too well,” Scarry said with a big smile. “We had to tell people, ‘yeah, we don’t do that’.”
Of the four senior clubs in town, the Happy Seniors is one that facilitates trips. The town helps them secure buses and they go to places like Kruckers in Pomona, New York, where they have a summer picnic in August; the Rocking Horse Ranch in Upstate New York in the fall; and the Royal Manor in Garfield for their holiday parties.
Their monthly meetings sometimes feature various welfare or educational speakers, musicians or sing-alongs.
One popular part of their monthly meetings is the ‘Memories’ portion where Adely will ask if anyone wants to talk about a memory.
“One lady got up and talked about when she was 15 years old and she was trying to impress a boy’s family,” Adely recalls. “They were all sitting on the porch having tea when the little brother of the boy asked, ‘where’s my frog?’ Imagine the ruckus when the lady realized she sat on the boy’s frog. It was pretty funny, that story.”
Another member of the group was a nurse at Tylers Island before she retired. She has a lot of stories for the group, as well.
For annual dues of $20, and a $1 per meeting for coffee and cake, along with raffles, the group seems an affordable outing for most seniors.
“It truly does feel just like a family,” Scarry said. And nowadays, who couldn’t use a little more of that.