IRVINGTON, NJ — The Irvington Senior Citizens Community Center on Springfield Avenue held a Mother’s Day Tea on Friday, May 12, two days before Mother’s Day, and everyone involved said it was the perfect way to spend the day.
According to the ladies who participated in the event, it was greatly appreciated and well-received.
“This is our first Mother’s Day Tea,” said Irvington Senior Citizens Community Center assistant manager Gwendolyn Caldwell on Friday, May 12. “This is a celebration for all women because, whether you’re a naturalized mother or not, we’re all nurturing women, so we’re still mothers.”
Novella Stokes said she comes to the Irvington Senior Citizens Community Center every day and really enjoyed the event.
“I enjoy coming here,” said Stokes on Friday, May 12. “It was a reason to get dressed and come out and be together and just enjoy each other’s company.”
Antonetta Thomas said, “I come to the Senior Citizen Center and I volunteer as often as possible” and she thought the idea of having a tea party for mothers was timely.
Alice Thompson, who immigrated to the United States from Jamaica, said tea parties are old hat for her, even though she and all the other ladies at the event were wearing hats, many of them brand new, just for the occasion.
“I am a naturalized American and I (have) graduated from mother and gone on to great-grandmother,” said Thompson on Friday, May 12. “These tea parties are nothing new to me, because the British have a whole lot of tea. The motto and saying is: A cup of tea and two biscuits.”
Freida Williams was one of the few ladies at the event who didn’t wear a hat, but she said: “Next time, I’ll have two on for you.”
“Mother’s Day is a holiday, but it’s every day,” said Williams on Friday, May 12. “I attend here as much as I can and I enjoy every moment of it. I’m here mostly every day. It’s relaxing, with nice people to be around and the queen of the hop here, Ms. Gwendolyn Caldwell.”
Irvington Senior Citizens Community Center manager Gloria Chisun credited Caldwell for coming up with the idea for the Mother’s Day Tea Party and making it happen, which is part of her goal of, “making sure that the seniors have a great quality of life, but make sure they have fun as well.”
“We just want to wish all of our mothers a very, very happy Mother’s Day,” said Chisun on Friday, May 12. “Today, we had our first annual Mother’s Day Tea and it was outstanding, because this was like the first time that we’ve ever done that. The ladies came dressed up in their hats and their gloves and this was all the idea of my co-worker, my assistant, Ms. Gwendolyn Caldwell. The mayor was here; Congressman Donald Payne Jr. was here; Councilwoman-at-large Dr. October Hudley was here; Dr. Monique Griffith was here; and we really, really, really had a great time.”
Chisun said the food was provided by Chef Roscoe and “we had jazz playing in the background, so it wasn’t like a stationary program, where we do songs and little things like that.”
“We just wanted to show the mothers how much we love them and this was paid for by the staff at the center,” said Chisun. “We came out of our own pocket. We wanted to show them how much we love them and it was really Ms. Caldwell’s idea. She’s been working on this since January. We really had a great time here today.”
The Mother’s Day Tea was the latest high-profile and highly successful social activity Chisun and Caldwell have organized at the Irvington Senior Citizens Community Center, in an attempt to liven up seniors’ lives during their golden years. But the goal is to get young people involved in the activities, too.
“We did have the Senior Prom on Friday, March 31. It was very well-attended, not only by the seniors here, but also by the baseball team from Irvington High,” Chisun said. “The first Monday of every month, we have our Senior-Youth Program. We’re open until 6 and the youth come over and they interact with the seniors. Last Monday, we did our ribbon-cutting at the Grace Howard Community Garden on Grey Street and Nye Avenue.”
Chisun said all the activities scheduled for the seniors are proof there is life, and plenty of it, after age 60.
“If you’re not a part of us, come down, we do multiple things here during the week,” she said, adding, “We’re going to be going to the Sands in July and we’re going to be doing an overnighter in September. We were thinking about going to Ocean City, but now the seniors may want to go up to Foxwoods. Either way, we’re going to be gone a day or so. It’s all about what they want. It’s not about what we want. It’s about making sure that the seniors have a great quality of life, but make sure they have fun as well.”
For more information about the Irvington Senior Citizens Community Center, call 973-399-5016.