Other Voices: Writers want to return to longtime meeting place
On a recent Tuesday morning, at the weekly meeting of our Senior Writers’ Group, we were told that we would no longer be able to meet in our usual room at the Gold Coun-try Community Center at the Nevada County Fairgrounds.
Although we have shared the room for years with a computer group, the Fairgrounds Association decided that the computer group could use the room exclusively at this time. We were told that we could meet in the dining room on Friday mornings or on Wednesday afternoons.
The dining room is not a good place for us. It is large and it swallows up voices. Some of our members are hard of hearing or have limited volume when they speak. Also, a change of day and time would mean that a few of our members could no longer attend. We were also given the option of moving to a room in an apartment complex out on East Main Street.
The Senior Writers’ Group is the longest continuing activity at the center. The group had been going for years when I joined in 1990. We have a membership of 23, both men and women. We are a vibrant, busy group. In the mid-1990s, we collaborated in writing and publishing three novels, and we also publish a quarterly magazine of our writings. Several of our members have written and published novels, poetry, and memoirs.
When I joined, the room held shelves with books. There was a table with magazines and a sofa where you could sit and visit with others or read. The long tables were there for meetings. Several years ago, a bank of computers moved in. The books and the sofa went. Our space got smaller. Many times, we shared our essays and poems and stories while people were working, and talking, on the computers beside us. Then, an additional row of computers was installed.
It is like the story of the camel with his nose in the tent. Little by little, he edges farther in. Soon the camel is in completely, taking up all the space, and you can’t do anything about it. That is what has happened to us.
We Senior Writers have paid dues for building maintenance and utilities for the Fairgrounds Association every week, some of us more than is asked for, and we pay for the coffee we drink, also sometimes more than is asked for. We don’t complain about the three weeks we can’t meet before, during, and after the Nevada County Fair.
After discussing the options we were given, we decided to take an offer that one of our members has made to us many times. She and her husband own a restaurant in Grass Valley not far from the Fairgrounds. It is closed on Tuesdays, so we will see how that works for us.
If it does, we’ll miss the staff and volunteers at the Gold Country Community Center, some of whom we’ve known for years. We’ll miss the camaraderie of meeting and greeting other seniors as we come and go in the gift shop and in the parking lot of the building we’ve always called the Senior Center.
I realize the Fairgrounds Association owns the building, and it can do as it wishes. But it’s a sad state of affairs in a county with such a high percentage of senior citizens that we are being squeezed out of the place we have called home for over 20 years. Sometimes changes are hard, and we feel more and more like dinosaurs.
We Senior Writers want our meeting room back! There may be a Gold Country Com-munity Center, but there’s no Senior Center. Many other towns have centers dedicated to seniors. Why not Grass Valley?
Sally Krause lives in Penn Valley.
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