McKinleyville Senior Center: Two amazing ladies

Hello Again! I’m back from a short vacation in Tucson and that included a trek through the Gem and Mineral Show and waking to 29 degrees. Even the cacti wore wool hats to protect them from freezing! But the desert landscape still holds my heart.

My first week back at McKinleyville Senior Center (MSC) I spoke with two remarkable seniors, Sally Callahan and Sandy Berry. Both have broken records again this year in their age classes; Sally for indoor rowing and Sandy at the most recent Clam Beach Run/Walk.  

Sally Callahan has lived a topsy turvy life filled with two husbands, six children and 150 goats, 99 of whom she milked everyday by hand. She and her first husband lived near Sacramento. Husband number two was the brother of her best friend.

WINNER Sally Callahan won a medal for indoor rowing. Patti Stammer | Union

He was pesky as a teenager, but then they met again as adults; he loved her and goats. They moved to Humboldt to see the ocean and lived on Dow’s Prairie for 20 years before he passed. Sally now lives with a horse, only three La Mancha goats and more cats than she can count. 

She has lots stories but here’s the one that got me…Sweet Sally Callahan, aged 90 just broke the world record for the second time for indoor computerize rowing! She set the bar when she won the championship the first time at 85 by 7 seconds. This year she broke the world record and won a gold medal, beating her own record by 48 seconds! Concept II Rowing is the world sponsor of the contest: 2,000 meters with 2,000 plus competitors in 17 countries compete worldwide. Finals this year are in Paris.

RECORD SETTER Sandy Berry set a record at the Trinidad to Clam Beach Run/Walk. Submitted photo

Sandy Berry, another amazing woman at MSC and treasurer of the Board of Directors, just broke the record in her age class at the Clam Beach Run/Walk. She thought the Clam Beach event sounded like fun, so she and a friend and a couple of grandkids started walking on the beach. When I asked how long she had been walking regularly, she said for as long as she could remember she’s loved to walk. 

In the 2020 event, Sandy came in first in the 70-80 age class of walkers with a time of 49.10 for three miles, and her friend Carol Davis was a minute behind her. 

But she may be in a new age class soon as she is now 80. When I asked how long she and Carol had been doing the Clam Beach Walk, she offered to count her T-shirts…she did and it’s been five years in a row, beginning in 2016. 

Both Sandy and Carol are active in the classes offered at MSC. They met years ago in the SAIL exercise classes at the center. And, for the past five years, either she or Carol has come in first in their age group in the Clam Beach Walk. So… there you have it; another reason to come to the MSC and start moving your mind and body. It’s never too late to accomplish something you always wanted or never dreamed you could do.

The art classes offered by the Ink People have been cancelled. They were very popular, but scheduling didn’t work this year. We are seeking artists who would like to teach specific classes for a couple of hours for a modest fee. 

Painting, pastels, drawing, collage, watercolor… whatever you enjoy sharing and teaching. Classes will be a sign-up for a specific class rather than an entire series. Please call me if you’re interested or know an artist who might want to meet some talented artists who enjoy getting together and learning something new.

And mark your calendar for our first Art of Living free lunchtime presentations offered by OLLI. The first will be on the second Wednesday of March noon-1:30 at the MSC. Bring your lunch or enjoy coffee and snacks while Rayna Eyster delves into lifestyle challenges to make those golden years really shine.

I hate to nag, but please support the seniors in your community with time, participation and donations. McKinleyville Senior Center is a self-supporting, all volunteer organization. Our mission is simple: Empowering seniors for personal independence, healthy aging, social connection and lifelong learning opportunities. Also don’t forget to support the Mad River Union. Kevin Hoover and Jack Durham give us space to let you know about this incredible resource right in your backyard. They are a resource in our community that we cannot afford to neglect. Call Patti Stammer (707) 845-2817 with comments, questions, witty remarks, suggestions and/or how you can help MSC. Happy Spring!



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