In week of love, Liberty Commons crowns Valentine’s king and queen

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 1, 2009

“Love me tender,
Love me sweet,
Never let me go.
You have made my life complete,
And I love you so.”
ó Elvis
By Wayne Hinshaw
It has been a celebration of love and being sweet to each other this week at Liberty Commons of Rowan Nursing Center. After a week of writing love notes, reading love stories and listening to love songs, the annual King and Queen Sweetheart Party closed a day of Valentine thoughts.
Elvis impersonator Michael Thomas, of Salisbury, filled the air with sweet songs and loving thoughts for the residents. Gathered in the community room, the residents sang along with Elvis, swayed in their wheelchairs and kept time with their hands. More important were the loving smiles on their aging faces. The sweet music made them young again, if only for an hour.
Of Elvis, Homer Stiller said, “He is good. I could sit and listen to him all day.”
Betty Michael expressed even warmer thoughts.
“He is such a blessing singing for us,” she said. “He reminds me of my late husband Anastasis Sampson Michael. My husband was a singer. My husband passed away two years ago and I miss him.”
Betty added, talking about Elvis, “If I could go home with him, I would go right now.”
At the end of the concert, 102-year-old George Blackwelder was crowned the Sweetheart King and 96-year-old Eunice Holmes was crowned queen. The residents and staff honored the king and queen with their votes this week.
George is a former textile worker and farmer living on Mount Hope Church Road. He said he has lived a long life by raising and eating his own crops.
“I don’t remember ever being a king before today,” George said. ” I was married to my wife for 68 years and loved her until the day she went to heaven.”
Eunice worked as a nurse at Rowan Memorial and in 1936 was one of the first nurses to work the night shift.
“Being a queen is very nice. It is the first time, and I am enjoying it today,” she said.
Before the party, the residents had their Sittercise exercise class to keep their hearts healthy. They rolled saved pennies to celebrate President Abraham Lincoln’s birthday. The pennies will be donated to the American Hearth Association, Activities Director Louree Bostic said.
The week will end with the residents exchanging Valentine’s Day cards and having a visit from the Phaniels Baptist Church youth group. Brownie scouts will pass out Valentine packages on their visit.