Senior Scene : Stories

Serene Karplus, Nederland.     We love stories. We listen to them over and over. We tell them at parties and meals with friends. We add details and dramatize them with music, theater, and dance. Some tell tales from long ago and others bring back yesterday. All of human history and experience is told in our stories.

As tiny children, we learn to love stories as our parents read and sing with us. We learn how the rest of the world works through books and movies, theater and song. How do others love? How do their families function? What choices do they make? What are the consequences? How do we build our own worlds with what we learn emotionally or intellectually from absorbing the stories and experiences of others?

Who we are and how we become that way is in our stories – the ones we experience firsthand and the ones we observe. How we respond to the world around us and how we sort and process all of life’s experiences is formed by the stories we know.

We tell and retell old stories in new ways, in fresh circumstances and casts of characters that respond a little differently with each telling. Remakes of old movies, the same scripted play in dozens of theaters as interpreted by hundreds of different directors and actors, cover songs, storytellers, watching a favorite film or reading a book for the umpteenth time – we never tire of the stories we love.

Stories inform us and connect us. They illuminate solutions to our own dilemmas and directions. Or they provide a safe glimpse into a world too foreign, demanding, or frightening to experience in real life – a window to the lives of those on the other side of the tracks or the planet. They stir our contempt or pathos for the lives of those whose challenges and loves are far different from our own and we connect with entire tribes of people who have travelled in mind and emotion to similar places.

We come together as a community to experience stories that bond and change us forever. Those who attended Central City Opera’s gripping performances of Dead Man Walking felt raw emotions and wrestled with unanswered questions on a different level than those who read the book or saw the movie. The vibration of the music and energy of live performance transports the audience to another level. Every individual emerges forever altered by the experience, with richer perspectives and deeper reflection.

On the lighter side, hundreds will attend the musical My Fair Lady in Allenspark this week. Most audience members have likely seen multiple productions of this popular show. We return each time to hear the familiar “loverly” melodies and feel the heartbreaks and triumphs of the beloved characters. In each we see a small mirror of ourselves and consider our entire social structure.

Not only our favorite stories and songs lure us, but sometimes a favorite storyteller attracts us to read or experience again and again. Entire festivals are devoted to Shakespeare, whose wit and wisdom reveal the foibles and history of mankind in ways that link us over the centuries and oceans. It doesn’t matter that daily language has changed since his prolific pen scratched ink onto paper. Increasingly skilled actors and directors make it easily accessible, like the 1950’s version of Merry Wives of Windsor currently playing in Boulder.


Come enjoy a farce of mistaken identities, slapstick, and puns in Shakespeare’s The Comedy of Errors, played by the same troupe who brought a stunning rendition of Romeo and Juliet to our outdoor park last summer. This year’s show moves indoors to the Backdoor Theater to avoid the vagaries of mountain weather. Sunday, August 3, at 2:00 p.m., the Longmont Theater Company performs free at Nederland Community Center.


An amazing experience of film in a manner unfamiliar to many today is the soundtrack of a live orchestra accompanying a silent film. Watch Harold Lloyd find the real thieves and defend his father in next Wednesday’s 7:30pm screening of the 1927 film Kid Brother, shown with the live Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra at the Chautauqua Auditorium in Boulder.  Tickets are $12 for adults and $6 for children age 10 and under.  Mountain seniors over age 60 who wish to attend may sign up with Nederland Area Seniors by Monday for a $5 discount on admission, thanks to Boulder County Create Our Future funds.


Everyone is invited to the Nederland Area Seniors luncheon at the Nederland Community Center at noon. A donation of $4 is requested from those over 60 years of age and $8.25 all others, but no seniors are turned away due to inability to pay. Please make reservations by 4 p.m. Friday for Monday lunch and 4 p.m. Monday for Wednesday lunch at 303-258-0799.

Serene Karplus

About the Author: Serene Karplus – is the Executive Director of the Nederland Area Seniors, Inc. (NAS) which assists senior citizens in enhancing their quality of life, enabling them to live a life of respect and honor.  This is accomplished through the facilitation of nutrition, transportation, education, recreation, socialization and outreach programs for all seniors living in the Greater Nederland Area. Serene is a contributor to The Mountain-Ear with her Senior Scene column.