Program encourages laughter, stories

Published 2:31 pm Thursday, July 7, 2011

Seniors at the Pelham Senior Center on July 7 laugh during an opening greeting for "We Had Everything but Money," an outreach program by the Shelby County Library System. (Reporter photo/Brad Gaskins)

By BRAD GASKINS / Staff Writer

PELHAM – Recall stories from childhood and share them with others. Laugh every day. And, while you’re at it, stop by and check out a book from your local public library.

That was the message Becky Brasher, senior activities coordinator for Shelby County public libraries, delivered Thursday morning to 30 seniors gathered at the Pelham Senior Center.

The 45-minute program was one of the library system’s seniors outreach programs.

The program’s theme was “We Had Everything but Money.”

“We’re going to laugh and reminisce about the times when all we didn’t have was money,” Brasher told the audience.

The idea was to spark memories and encourage seniors to share those memories with others, especially grandchildren and other family members.

“Those family stories are so important,” Brasher said.

But before memories could be sparked, laughter had to come first.

Brasher began the program by having all the seniors stand up, greet those around them and – above all – laugh, laugh and laugh some more.

“If you don’t take time to laugh, it’s going to pass you by,” Brasher said. “Most of the time, there’s a reason to laugh, even if you have to create it.”

Brasher then showed pictures from “We Had Everything But Money: Priceless Memories of the Great Depression,” a book available at Shelby County libraries, she said.

She encouraged seniors to remember something they hadn’t thought of in a while, then share the story with others.

She then showed a film strip focused on the 1930s, including the Great Depression, work unions, bread and soup lines and President Franklin D. Roosevelt and his New Deal.

The program was one of many programs offered to seniors by the library. Other programs include guest speakers and classes teaching the basics of using a computer.