Thursday – Sunnyside

Thursday was my personal day since Rachel spent most of her day reading and writing while I visited Sunnyside.  She took me to a noon lunch with Jewel and JC Shenk.  Jewel is the active chair of the Anabaptist Heritage Association. After lunch, JC took me to the entrance to the community buildng at Sunnyside.  It happened that the first person I met was Michael Smith, the executive officer in charge of the Sunnyside Foundation.  Rhoda and I were chief beneficiaries of a fund to aid persons who had given a life of service before coming to Sunnyside.

I walked into the library and again found card players whom I recognized as neighbors or as fellow jesters at Sunnyside.  Nurse Debbie came from her office to welcome me.  Then the trolley took me to the apartment of Fred and Thelma Clark.  One of the benefits enjoyed in a home like Sunnyside is to learn to know successful people.  Fred was a chemist who worked for years in Japan and was a leader in development of plastic pipes.  On our first day at Sunnyside he came to our door to say that if I needed a tool he had it. He became a true friend.

From Clarks I went to the apartment of Lowell and Miriam Nissley. Lowell had grown up a few houses away from the Ida St. Mission in Tampa to become a Mennonite pastor.  He was the first chair of the Anabaptist Heritage Association.

Next, from Nissleys to Steve and Carol Henkle.  Carol was a harbor master and Steve wrote books and articles about boats and their design. I asked him to read the first drafts of my books so I would benefit from the insights of a non-Mennonite. This proved to be helpful especially in writing the introduction to Mennonites that appears in each volume.

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Amanda Perkins

Steve provided transportation to the Sunnyside Nursing Home.  Amanda Perkins who works there was a friend of Rhoda and me.  She had suggested that we meet in the room of Lewis and Alice Beachy.  I had learned from the Nissleys that Lewis had passed away this past Sunday.  So I visited a widow when visiting Alice.  Amanda and I had time to chat before she needed to respond to her duties.Miriam Ebersole Showalter came to the nursing home to transport me to my Sarasota home. She is a descendant of Mennonite pioneers in Sarasota.  We stopped at the Panera Bread Restaurant before ending the days journey at home. Miriam came into the house to chat with Rachel and me.  It was the end of a happy day.

About Martin Lehman

I was born 92 years ago, the son of a Mennonite pastor and organic gardener in Franklin County, Pennsylvania. At age 10 I was baptized as a member of the Marion Mennonite Church. I own the "Old Fool" moniker because I want to walk the Jesus Way even though the world and much of the church takes me as a fool for doing so. In my life I have moved from being a young conservative to an elderly radical. I tell that story in My Faith Journey posted on my website.
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