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The Walworthians: Lemonade Society

The Walworthians


A collection of telephone interviews published in the Wayne County STAR Newspaper and Wayne County MAIL Newspaper, 1994-209

by Kate Chamberlin



Making Lemonade for 10-Years!

September 19, 2002

The Wayne Area Low- to No-Vision Support Group a.k.a. The Lemonade Society is celebrating its 10th Anniversary this month.

“When a spouse or partner experiences vision loss, both people are likely to face many emotional and practical, challenges,” said Carol Sussman‑Skalka of Lighthouse International. “For those with vision loss, vision rehabilitation services can make a difference in regaining control over their lives. While their sighted partners often are their most steadfast allies, they also undergo a significant life change and face many difficulties of their own. Both can feel isolated, and at a loss as to what to do and how to help each other.

“Support group programs can offer   opportunities to meet others in similar situations to share concerns, clarify feelings, receive support, compare solutions, get information, as well as learn about resources that can help them cope with, and better understand their situation.”

(Paraphrased From: Programs for Partners of People with Impaired Vision by Carol J. Sussman‑Skalka, CSW, MBA and Verena R. Cimarolli, PhD Lighthouse International)

The first meeting of the Newark Low-Vision Group was in September, 1992. It was held in the Board Room of the Newark Public Library from 1:30 – 3:30 P.M.

Amy Tolle, the former Out-Reach Co-Ordinator at the Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired, started two support groups for adults with low- or no vision. One group was in Phelps and the other was in Newark.

The Charter Members in Newark were: Florence DeClark, Millie Cummings, Leah Young, Leah Wright, Mickey Villani and Rose Clark. Kate Chamberlin began as facilitator in November, 1992.

The Phelps members became known as the Lemonade Auxiliary and attended meetings and activities with the Newark-based members. The Lemonade Chat Room first began November, 1996 to continue giving support to two Charter Member Lemonaders and other residents of the Wayne County Nursing Home.

Our newsletter is called The Lemon Peel. Its regular features are Thinking Of You, Kudos To, What’s Cooking (at the next meeting), What’s on the Back Burner (meetings and events we’re planning), Lemon Squeeze (special birthday or person to call that month), and member contributions such as Millie’s Musings, Alma’s Axioms, A Moment With Mickey and Kate’s 2-Cents. The first issue was in July, 1993. The Lemonade Chat Room news was added in November, 1996. Several of our members now receive the Lemon Peel via e-mail.

Throughout the years we have had such speakers as Marilyn Longhouse, NLS; Mark Guillette, Office of the Ageing; Amy Tolle, ABVI; Pat Stalker, NLS; Dr. Kornfeld, of Pearl Vision; Dorothy Green, ABVI-Goodwill director of Services; Jack Griffith, of the NYS Commission for the Blind and Visually Handicapped a division of the NYS Office of Children and Family Services, Susanne Lederer, the Mobility Counselor with the NYS Commission for the Blind and Visually Handicapped a division of the NYS Office of Children and Family Services.

Some of our outings have been to have lunch during an Erie Barge canal boat ride, picnic at Foreman State Park,  pot luck picnics at Kate Chamberlin’s home, brunches at Osmond’s, Taranwould Country Club, Stevinos at the Newark Country Club, Perkins, DaDa’s, Bridge Tavern, Macedon Hills and Cross Park Restaurant,  annual  old-fashioned picnics with the Lemonade Chat Room and several meetings at the Armstrong Senior Living center, as well as attending the described performances at the GEVA Theater and sharing DVS videos.

Some of our themes have been: Coping Strategies, Sharing Medical information and Doctor Attitudes, the best Christmas past, your favorite spring flower, Do you remember a special valentin?, What toys did you play with?, What is your earliest memory?, a whistling Fest, various exercises to stay healthy and flexible, as well as numerous discussions of topics and issues brought before the Lemonaders.

All wayne Area adults who are legally blind, blind or losing their eye sight are invited to join us for round-table discussions about adaptive aids and techniques, physicians, home-care, emotional support and many other eye related topics.

No reservation is needed for the regular monthly meeting, which is held on the 2nd Wednesday of each month from 11:00-12:30 PM. Places may vary, but we are based at the Newark Public Library, 121 High Street, Newark, NY. if you’d like more information or directions to the Newark library’s handicap entrance, please call: Mrs. Kate Chamberlin at (315)986-1267 or the library at (315)331-4370.

2018 Up-Date: The Lemonade Society went on for another 5 or so years holding regular meetings, then, due to transportation issues, we met via telephone calls to chat with each other. Agencies stopped referring members and the Lemonade Society held in the Newark Public Library and the Lemonade Society Auxiliary held in the Newark Nursing Home faded into the sunset. At the time, it was the longest running support group in Wayne and Monroe Counties.