We are an eclectic group of folks who strive to get the most out of life, contribute to our community and enjoy the gift of living at Cathedral Square Senior Living in downtown Burlington, overlooking Lake Champlain and the Adirondack Mountains to the west. Here are some of our stories.
Rainbow Cornelia: “And Don’t Be Scared!”
by Zed Zabski, CSSL Resident, summer 2017
Rainbow Cornelia is 81 years old. She has a little black dog named Lucky who takes her for walks every day. She moved in next door to me more than a year ago and she regularly attends our daily coffee hour early in the morning with six other neighbors. Here’s what she told me:
“Last year I was visiting with a group of people. They said, ‘Oh my God, Rainbow lost her spunk — she went into senior housing!’ Well, I didn’t lose my spunk. I took a hell of a lot of spunk for me to decide that’s where I needed to be. I want to encourage all of you to try and see what that might be for you.
“It makes such a difference in your life to not worry. Give it a chance. Look around for a situation that best suits you. Look around before someone else takes control, like when your daughter needs to say, ‘Hey mom, I think you need to go into senior housing.’
“You may be surprised. I am so grateful I gave it a chance because it makes such a difference when you can no longer comfortably take care of yourself, when it’s time to embark on your next adventure.”
Stephen Zeigfinger: “Helping People Come Alive”
by Kristin D’Agostino, CSSL Activities Coordinator, summer 2017
For Vermont-based painter and gallery owner Stephen Zeigfinger, creating art is much more than a livelihood; it is a powerful restorative tool for mind and soul. Zeigfinger, who creates abstract art on oversized canvases, recently began teaching painting to fellow residents at Cathedral Square.
Zeigfinger, originally from New York City, had spent the last 15 years overseas operating art galleries in Budapest and southern Spain. A thin, wiry man in his early 70s, he made the decision to move to Vermont almost 2 years ago to be closer to his son and grandchildren. Since then, Zeigfinger and his wife Allison have operated a frame shop and art gallery called the Richter Gallery in Shelburne, VT, which also serves as his working studio. Each day customers can watch him circling large canvases where he drips on trails of colorful paint using plastic bottles. Using a mixture of acrylic and alcohol-based paints, Zeigfinger creates explosive images of color reminiscent of tie dye.
This style of painting, he says, is incredibly therapeutic: “When I’m painting, I’m in a trance. I watch the paint flow, I tilt the painting and help it along by putting in airbrush paint which reacts with the acrylics so the paint explodes on the canvas.”
Recently Zeigfinger shared his techniques with fellow Cathedral Square residents. Two volunteer workshops drew seniors ranging from ages 63 to 98. With the sounds of Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata playing softly in the background, residents dripped paint on paper, tilted it this way and that, and watched to see what emerged. “Mine looks like a monkey playing a violin,” one resident jokes. “It’s like a Rorschach test!” muses another resident, a former psychologist.
Zeigfinger, a former university professor, admits, “The best part of teaching was seeing people come alive.” He had seen one 96-year-old woman sleeping in a lounge chair that morning before the workshop. “During this workshop she came alive and was so spontaneous and turned on,” he said. “It was so nice to see her expressing herself.”
Visit the ‘Hip to Be Square‘ blog, a project of CSSL Activities Director Kristin D’Agostino, for more stories!