Written by Annie Laskey, Events Director, Pasadena Senior Center
Back in May (remember May?), I wrote a series of blogs reflecting on postcards of early days at the Pasadena Senior Center. The ladies in hats and gloves, the homey looking library, and the 1960s-era ballroom dance may look quaint and old-fashioned to us today, but they show a vibrant, happy, and social place that continues to be at the heart of what the Pasadena Senior Center is.
As we close out this strange, isolated, and unfathomable year - which also marks the Center’s 60th Anniversary – I thought it was appropriate to feature a photo of the Pasadena Senior Center from Christmas in the 1960s.
The photo shows the original entrance, which was a combination of welcome desk, lounge, and library. The area is festive for Christmas with a large tree decorated with white doves. Wrapped presents lie underneath the tree, and a large pine bough centerpiece with a tall candle sits on a table nearby.
The decorated Christmas Tree is placed in front of a big picture window that looks out to the street. Backwards on the window is painted the word “Happy,” meant to be read from the street. There must be more to the message that we can’t see, written below, or on another window – maybe it reads “Happy New Year” or “Happy Christmas.” Or maybe “Happy” is just a statement of the season.
One notable thing about this particular photo is that there are no people in it. It is a quiet, surprisingly somber photo of an otherwise festive room. Looking at this photo from a 2020 CoronaVirus Christmas perspective, this empty lobby seems eerily appropriate. No one gathered around the tree. The sentiments of the season (“Happy”) painted to be read by people on the outside looking in. Even the fact that the print of the photo itself is a quiet gray and white instead of happy color seems to fit our 2020 perspective.
Today, like in the photo, we have a decorated Christmas tree in the Center’s lobby (but no dove decorations!). There is no one gathered around the tree, because we are still unable to welcome friends at the coffee bar. But although we haven’t painted “Happy” on the windows, we’re still trying to spread the sentiment as best we can, staying engaged with each other through online classes, programs, parties, events, and social services. “Happy” is a state of mind, and one that comes when we feel connected, supported, and cared for.
I, myself, feel happy, and lucky, to be part of the Pasadena Senior Center. It is rewarding to have a hand in creating programming that connects us. It is a joy to virtually meet so many wonderful and generous friends. And writing this blog has connected me to people in a way I couldn’t have imagined a year ago. So, to all of you – thank you for the “Happy” in my life, and I wish it back to you with all my heart.