Monday afternoon was to be my quick introduction and training session, at the gym’s registration desk, at the Santa Clara Senior Center. I have volunteered to run the computerized check-in/check-out for two part days per week.  It is quite the simple process, but I need to become acclimated to the process.  Who better to show me the steps than two long-standing volunteers, Enid and her husband of many years, Jack.  They both were both quite welcoming, so I sat down, prepared to observe.

Unfortunately, asking questions was not well received, since both of these folks were quite deaf, him more so than her!  She did manage to tell me that the very visible hearing aid in his ear hadn’t worked for quite some time, but he still insisted on wearing it.  Not to be outdone, she sported a white paper cap, with DEAF spelled out on it in large red letters.   They are both over 90, and are quite looking forward to the 65th anniversary party that the center is hosting for them next week.  From the way other spoke, I wasn’t sure whether or not staff had hoped to make it a surprise party, but if so, I guess that shows that even a deaf person can hear rumors!

First Enid, then Jack, took turns on the exercise bike, for a short workout.  Neither broke a sweat that I could detect, but they seemed satisfied with their efforts.  

As the day neared its end, and it was time to close up the gym AND the computer, Jack stood up to his full six foot two height, and bellowed,

“Everyone out, time to go home.”

The volume and timbre of his voice came as a shock to me!  I fairly jumped at the sound, but no one else seemed to register shock. He then proceeded to walk around the perimeter of the gym, shutting down TV’s and lights, and repeating his order to any hangers-on.  Silence, quickly followed by twilight, helped to ensure the departure of most of the sweaty souls getting in their last few minutes of exercise.  Despite this, there was a very few that insisted they just had to finish their program.   I suspect that a tall, not-quite-intimidating Jack helped convince them to pack up NOW.  

As I left the building I saw the two of them, hightailing it down the sidewalk on their matching scooters.  They obviously lived in the neighborhood, as they periodically waved at passers-by.  I admit to being slightly envious, as the area immediately surrounding the center is especially nice, with tiny well kept homes, many sporting gingerbread trim.  The paint on these homes was fresh and bright, with none of the crackling that can be seen on homes of folk that have fallen into insolvency.  Sub-prime mortgages didn’t seem to have left as many scars here!  The Saturday morning market is hosted in this area as well, another reason for my angst.  

I do confess to being quite delighted that we are in Santa Clara, as opposed to one of the other surrounding cities.  It has been well documented in the local paper that we have the lowest crime rate of any, even though we are just fifteen minutes from the heart of high tech Silicon Valley.  Some of Glenn’s coworkers at Apple have queried as to how we managed to find this house, given how infrequently rentals pop up around here.  We just smile, and explain that for once, luck was on our side!



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