By Annette Wexler
Resident Evelyn Sterngart's new invention, which she calls HAND DRAMATICS, is helping other residents to enjoy programs they couldn't otherwise understand due to loss of hearing.
"They wheel me to wherever they have entertainment and I interpret what the entertainers are saying," says 95-year-old Evelyn. "But I do it in such a way that it doesn't interfere with the entertainers. I don't want to take the spotlight from them."
There are many people here who lose their hearing as they age, and they miss so much because they don't know sign language, Evelyn explains. "When they can't hear, they become restless and there is no motive to keep them going. This way they have something to look at, and it helps."
Evelyn's HAND DRAMATICS include signs for crying, smiling, laughing, sleeping, surprise, and expressions such as "You are in my heart."
"Although this is not actual sign language, I go along with whatever the entertainer does.
"A woman ran in from the outside and she hugged and kissed me," Evelyn recalls. "Evidently, she couldn't hear and my signs helped her."
. . .
In addition to her talent as the creator of HAND DRAMATICS, Evelyn is also a gifted writer who attends the Writers' Workshop here. Her short stories appear on the website: poetrypoem.com/evelynsterngart.
Here is an example of Evelyn's work. This story is titled:
By Evelyn Sterngart
Manny Bauer was a very hardworking man. He spent most of his life eating, sleeping and working. And now he is retired and living in a retirement home.
After a few days of leisure, Manny became very restless.
He heard they had a game-room and decided to see if something would interest him. So he looked through the schedule to see what was offered for the day. As he glanced through the schedule, he discovered something which he thought would interest him. This turned out to be a misprint, which appeared as POKE HER, and Manny thought it sounded like fun.
So Manny proceeded to poke an unsuspecting woman, who screamed out loud! He laughed so hard, and then decided that this was a perfect game for him ľ so he went around looking for women to POKE.
Meanwhile, there was a POKER game going on. One of the men who was playing cards came over to Manny and asked, "What are you doing?"
Manny said, "I'm playing POKE HER."
The card player said, "That's ridiculous."
And Manny replied, "Oh, it's lots of fun. You should try it sometime. Now you'll have to excuse me; I still have some women to poke."