Monday, September 2, 2013

NEW JERSEY EASTERN STAR, A Visit with Dianne Ely Beach (c) By Polly Guerin

I was asked by a friend, “What did you do on your vacation?” And like a schoolgirl I answered, “I visited Dianne, at the New Jersey Eastern Star Home.” My friend looked perplexed, “Eastern Star!” she exclaimed. “Whatever do you mean, the name sounds so exotic?” So what else could I do but explain as follows: “The New Jersey Eastern Star Home was founded in 1958 by the Order of the Eastern Star of New Jersey as a retirement residence for its members.” She was quite insistent on making further inquiry saying, “So how did Dianne become a resident, you know even her husband wasn’t a Mason.” I assured her that it was perfectly fine with Dianne’s residency because the New Jersey Eastern Star has been open to the public, as well as members for quite some time.

SOME HISTORICAL FACTS Being the writer that I am I just love research and let my friend know that the New Jersey Eastern Star home was founded in 1958 by the Order of the Eastern Star of New Jersey. However, it was Dr. Robert Morris, the Poet Laureate of Masonry, who founded the order on October 20, 1870, using beautiful and inspiring biblical examples of heroic conduct and moral values; namely fidelity, constancy, purity, faith and charity. The organization is truly dedicated to charity, truth and loving kindness and the present administration is a testament to that philosophy.

BACK TO DIANNE Dianne was ecstatic about my visit and although she is in her 90s, like a child she was Dee-lighted to see me, and the warm welcome of the administrative staff assured me that Dianne was in a secure and very caring environment. It was said that Dianne was one of their favorite residents and that Dianne on occasion was full of gaiety and repartee. No wonder, Dianne had led quite a charmed life: a debutant hobnobbing in the Hampton's and Newport, supporting actress, political activist and campaigner, social secretary and bon vivant. She was a member of some of the most interesting clubs in New York City, particularly Twelfth Night and the Amateur Comedy Club, both theatrical-specific organizations and I was so pleased to be included in her circle of club activities. In her heyday Dianne was the Belle of New York. One resident stopped me as I passed in the hall and asked, “I saw you speaking to that lady. Is it true that she was an actress on Broadway?” What else could I say but, “If she says so, it is true!”

COMMEMORATIVE GARDEN After the usual hugs and kisses and when the excitement of my arrival calmed down Dianne suggested, “I would like to show you the garden.” Indeed I was duly impressed with the award-winning garden with colorful perennials that attract the birds and butterflies and the  paved walkways, the gorgeous greenery and the soothing sound of the fountains, the shady patio and gazebo that invite contemplative reverie. It was a pleasant place where several other guests had found respite after luncheon, which was served in a dining room with soft, piped in melodies, and I might add a nutritious lunch. Some residents like Dianne had specific dietary meals and she was one of them being urged to eat so that she could enjoy an ice cream sunday, which she loved.

SENTIMENTAL CONVERSATION After lunch we retired to her suite where we sat at her bedside and reviewed people and places we knew and she opened her ancient photo album of vintage family photos. On the wall hangs a photo replica of a painting that once hung in her home in New York City. It shows Dianne as a luscious, beautiful young woman with a halo of fruit in her hair, no doubt painted by some inspired artist who captured Dianne's beauty in her glory days. Alas it was time to leave and so I had fulfilled my promise to visit Dianne and to thank her for being such a wonderful friend and inspiration during the heyday of our friendship.

THE NEW JERSEY EASTERN STAR IS A NON-PROFIT, NON-DENOMINATIONAL RETIREMENT RESIDENCES WITH ROOTS IN THE MASONIC TRADITION AND WELCOMES ALL at 111 Finderne Avenue, Bridgewater, NJ 08807. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION VISIT For information on tours, sort visits or becoming a resident call 908.722.4140. Expansion plans for 2014 include a long term care nursing wing, a wing for short term stays, a therapy gymnasium, an expanded main dining room, garden, parking and visitor spaces, plus a private dining room for resident and family gatherings.

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About Me

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Polly Guerin is an author/poet with four textbooks and 2 video productions as credentials as well as 4 books ready to be published. All my blogs are intended to become the basis for books to be published. PollyTalk From New York (c) is a current events blog about happenings in New York City. I have been PollyTalk columnist on the Internet, Big Apple News Network. AmazingArtDecoDivas blog features amazing women of notable character. I am on the board of the Art Deco Society of New York. The Fashion Historian blog gives pertinent insight into Polly's consummate knowledge about fashion history. Former professor at the Fashion Institute of Technology. Awaken Your Sleeping Beauty blog gives you pertinent information about holistic remedies for health, beauty, mind, body and spirit. I am on the board of the Edgar Cayce New York Center. I sing with the St. George's Choral Society and also serve on their Board. My little dog Colby is a rescue dog and I support animal charities. I hope you enjoy my blogs, please keep in touch.