GUEST BLOG: The Dedication of Gert's Garden
Last week, a beautiful memorial was held at Coleman House. The family of Gert Cohen, who lived at Coleman for 22 years, honored the memory of their mother/grandmother/cherished family member by creating a garden in the Coleman courtyard. Gert was 100 when she passed away earlier this year. Here are the comments that Gert's daughter Ann Marchette shared at the dedication.
It's very fitting that Gert's Garden was created to remember my mother. But not because she was a gardener or someone who loved plants and digging in the soil. Not because she even loved flowers. She was always telling us that she thought bringing flowers to someone was rather foolish which kind of became a family joke. But it is fitting because the garden really is a metaphor for her life here at Coleman House. What she did not know about taking care of plants, she did know about taking care of people. She cultivated friendships. She brought people together...she planned theater outings, chaired the social committee bringing speakers and entertainers on a regular basis, and she represented the tenants' interests serving on the Coleman House Tenant Council.
My mother had a good life here. It was rich and full and even in her senior years, she continued to blossom. She loved a good time and people loved being around her. She knew when someone needed a cocktail at the end of the day and knew the importance of remembering someone's birthday. She always managed to find something to stick a candle in and could make a party with whatever she had in her refrigerator. Her simple acts of kindness could turn a forgotten day on the calendar into something special.
As the plaque says, may the garden be a place of comfort that inspires friendship and kindness. Let it be a constant reminder of this wonderful woman who brought sunshine into so many of our lives. Take care of each other as you would take care of the garden. Tend to each other and nurture the goodness in each other. You will reap what you sow as I know, my mother certainly did!
The heart is a garden
That always has room
For the flowers of kindness
And friendships that bloom!
~ Ann Marquette, September 30, 2012
Caption for group photo below (left to right): Amy Schectman, JCHE CEO; Ann Marchette, Gert Cohen's daughter; Janet Slovin, Gert Cohen's daughter; Elizabeth Reiss, Coleman House Resident Service Coordinator; Merle Grandberg, JCHE Chair