It was a bittersweet afternoon at Glen Cove Senior Center last Friday: a celebration in the dining room marked the end of the Golden Age Happy Hours Club, which dissolved after more than 35 years. Charlie Pappas, the club’s longtime president, sang a few songs, prompting some members to stand up and dance.
Pappas, 90, of Glen Head, joined the Seniors Center and Happy Hours Club after retiring in 1997, and in 2004 he took over as chairman. “Being president of this club has been a great joy for me,” he said, “but I felt many years ago that it was time for a new president, new blood take over. “
However, he couldn’t persuade anyone to do so, he said, so now the members are simply shutting down the club.
This has given rise to good news, however, for the center. “Over the years we have raised quite a bit of money,” said Lucy Van Horn, vice president of the club. “… We are in a position to help the adult day program, which was severely damaged by the hurricane” – Hurricane Ida, last August.
The Happy Hours Club donated $ 10,000 to the Adult Day Program and donated an additional $ 8,000 to the SAGE Foundation, the fundraising arm of the senior center.
“Charlie was very thrifty,” Van Horn said of Pappas. “We took trips, we went out for lunch, we had fun, but we were also careful. “
Mayor-elect Pam Panzenbeck, who has served as president of the SAGE Foundation for the past year, thanked the club for the donation. “We have really struggled to fundraise since the pandemic,” she said, “and it’s such a boost.”
“It will help Glen Cove Senior Center members when they have a problem, whether it’s paying a utility bill, a doctor’s bill or whatever,” Van Horn said of the donation to SAGE. “In order to allow older members of the center to avail themselves of this money, we ask that the funds be returned to the elders in amounts not exceeding $ 500. In this way, various people can be helped. We hope other people will see what happens, and they too will donate to the senior center and help this fund grow, rather than just shrink.
Pappas credited Carol Waldman, the former executive director of the senior center, who retired in 2019, with opening up “a whole new world” to her. “She heard me strum on my guitar and sing country songs with people in the center,” Pappas recalls, adding that Waldman asked her to put on a show in the dining room. “Even though I had never done this before, it was a huge success, and that’s when a new career opened up for me. “
From there, Pappas said, he started singing country and cabaret songs, and entertained himself in other senior centers, assisted living and nursing homes as well as the care program. daytime for adults.
According to Waldman, the Happy Hours Club was formed soon after the center for the elderly opened in 1979, founded by the original members of the center. “They were great people and their Tuesday afternoon meetings were the highlight of our week for years,” said Waldman. “Charlie inherited a club that had years of memories behind him. And then, with his own brand of warmth and fun and incredible talent, he created so many more.”
The club met once a month, Pappas said. Members paid annual dues and held occasional fundraisers. “Before they took over the club, they were just playing bingo,” he said. “When I became president, we started doing day trips. It got bigger because of that, and we had over 120 members.
Throughout its existence, Pappas said, the club has used its funds to help members in need. “When there were emergencies we would help people,” he said. “It’s been part of Happy Hours from the start: when someone has problems, we are family. “
Van Horn, 78, joined the club when she retired as the senior center activities coordinator. “The good thing about having this group was to keep people busy and entertained, and to keep in touch with their friends,” she said. “People don’t realize until they are 70 or 80 how important it is to meet friends. I think the younger ones don’t realize how something like this can become such a wonderful experience for an older person.
“It definitely helped me,” Pappas said. “It created a new world for me.”
Waldman said Van Horn and club treasurer Diane Romano have also been instrumental in supporting the group for so long.
Donations, said Waldman, “come full circle at the club,” she told the rally last Friday. “You gave birth to this center, and now you have found a way to keep it going so that it will continue to thrive for others for years to come. It doesn’t seem like an end to me. It sounds like the evolution of a true loving and deeply compassionate community. »[ShetoldthegatheringlastFriday“YougavebirthtothiscenterandnowyouhavefoundawaytosustainitsoitcontinuestothriveforothersforyearstocomeThatdoesn’tfeellikeanendingtomeItfeelslikeanevolutionofatruelovingandprofoundlycompassionatecommunity”[shetoldthegatheringlastFriday“YougavebirthtothiscenterandnowyouhavefoundawaytosustainitsoitcontinuestothriveforothersforyearstocomeThatdoesn’tfeellikeanendingtomeItfeelslikeanevolutionofatruelovingandprofoundlycompassionatecommunity”