The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

January 22, 2014

Turning back the clock

By Amy Kent
Herald Staff Writer

---- — CLINTON — The 1920s were in full swing Tuesday, as residents and staff celebrated the 100th anniversary kickoff party at the Alverno in Clinton.

Residents and community members had the opportunity to travel back in time during the party, as they explored the timeline of the Alverno's history with old photographs, antique medical equipment and some of their favorite treats from each era.

"The whole event has exceeded my expectations," Alverno Administrator Libby Goodman said. "Deb (Bergmann) and the committee has worked for months to organize all of this and it's better than I could have imagined."

Dressed in traditional clothing from the 1920s, '30s and '40s, staff at the Alverno assisted residents during the tour, which ended where the Alverno began, as Bergmann said, with a four-piece jazz band, depicting the era from 1914 to 1920.

As those residents traveled the halls of the assisted living center, they were transported back to their younger days because of the music they heard, and from the snacks that were served at each of the four historic displays.

They sampled many current favorites like Coca-Cola, which was introduced in the late 1800s, to Reece's Pieces which became popular in the early 1980s thanks to Steven Spielberg's "E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial."

"To figure out what kind of snacks were popular in each era, we actually asked the residents what they enjoyed back then and what some of their favorites were," Bergmann said. "So, really they helped pick out all the snacks."

The displays also jogged some memories for some of the Alverno residents, one in particular being Sister Bertha Zeiser, who will celebrate her 102nd birthday in February.

For Bertha, the event was an entertaining look back into the history of the Alverno, but also a short trip down memory lane.

"I remember the old Alverno," Bertha said. "My father was there."

Bertha also remembers back when the Alverno was run by the Sisters of St. Francis, as did current Alverno liason Sister Paschal Hocum.

Dressed in a traditional Catholic habit, Paschal reminisced about the history of the Alverno, and the many changes and transitions it has seen over the course of its 100 years.

"When we started the Alverno in 1914 it was the first home for the elderly in Clinton," Paschal said. "What's key is we came here to teach so, we opened the academy. And then we opened the Alverno."

Those memories are why Goodman and Bergmann find it essential to continue their relationship with the Sisters of St. Francis and why their input, and fond memories, were integral to Tuesday's celebration and the remainder of celebrations that will take place this year.

"Having the Sisters here to see it, and remember it, really means a lot," Goodman said. "We work really hard to keep them involved with every aspect that we can and their input is essential to the Alverno so, I'm really looking forward to the rest of the year, and all the stuff we have planned."