Brookdale residents string beads year round for upcoming jewelry sale

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The residents at Brookdale enjoy the camaraderie making jewelry together. Instructor Kathy Agee sits in the foreground. From her left is Eleanor Murray, Karen Easton, Cindy Scott, Clarinne DiGiovanni, Doris Rubin, Alice Miller, Helen Mahurin, (hidden is her care provider Lynnetta Alder), Laura Purnell and Sue Ward. 

Brookdale’s Jewelry Class Holds Sale to Raise Money for Hourly Workers

By Kathy Feist

About a dozen women sat around a long table one Tuesday afternoon busily stringing beads..

They were making jewelry for Brookdale’s Annual Jewelry Sale on Saturday, October 27 from 10 am to 4 pm  at Brookdale Wornall Place, 107th and Wornall. The sale will feature one-of-a-kind jewelry including necklaces, bracelets, earrings, key rings, napkin rings and eyeglass straps. The event is sponsored by Brookdale’s Resident Council which will use the proceeds for its Association Appreciation Holiday Fund, a Christmas bonus program for hourly wage workers there. 

The Brookdale jewelry making class has been meeting weekly for the past five years. Independent residents meet three hours every Wednesday.  Assisted Living residents meet a couple of hours every other Tuesday.

Last year, the fundraiser made $1400.

“We have a reputation to uphold!” said class instructor Kathy Agee. “We’ve done very well in the past.”

“Today, though, we’ve decided it’s fun,” she declared.

The women gossip and joke among each other, keeping the atmosphere light hearted. They also give support to each other when needed.

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Eleanor Murray recalled her first jewelry making experience. Having suffered from neuropathy, Murray had lost feeling in her hands. As party of her physical therapy, Murray was encouraged to take the jewelry class. Unable to feel the bead between her fingers, she painstakingly strung together red and black beads.

“It was rough. I was very nervous,” she said. “But the women here kept encouraging me.”

“The success of getting it done made me overjoyed,. It was just a wonderful experience” she said. “I haven’t looked back since.”

At least three of the women are in their 90s, with the oldest being 96. “See! We’re full of youth,” joked the women. One jewelry maker, Cindy Scott, has multiple sclerosis. Regardless of age or infirmity, each woman revels in her craft.

    Helen Mahuron and Karen Easton specialize in Chiefs eyeglass straps. Doris Rubin makes dazzling red chili pepper earrings.  Clarinne DiGiovanni is known for whipping out a hundred bracelets at a time. Jeweler Laura Purnell also makes gazing balls with stained glass, which will be sold at the upcoming Brookdale Bazaar November 9-10.

The jewelry class primarily gets its beads from Michaels and other hobby stores, but the class said they also accept donations.  

Brookdale Wornall Place  is a retirement living community with 160 residents ranging in ages 60 to 100.

For more information on the jewelry sale or Brookdale Wornall Place, call 816-941-7777.

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