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A Story of Two Sisters

Dec 8, 2017

Circle Center is pleased to share with you a story of love, family and a passion for life as demonstrated by two sisters who share their days with us.

With just a handful of months in age between the two, sisters Edwilda Isaac and Edna Dean have led energetic, action-oriented lives. As they continued to weave the intricate tapestry of their daily life on seemingly parallel paths, the ebb and flow of sisterhood has brought them to the halls of Circle Center where, as participants, they are able to journey this next chapter in tandem with their unique bond in tow.

Raised in the rural town of Farmville, Virginia in the late 1930’s, Edwilda and Edna enjoyed a lighthearted childhood related best as “the good ol’ days.” Advancing through their middle and high school years during the heat of the civil rights movement, the sisters consequently grew up at a significant time in history amidst the fight for school integration and equality in the educational system.

Shaped from their early years in Farmville, both sisters went on to successfully embark on distinctive educational and professional paths. The elder sister Edwilda journeyed to the Midwest to Milwaukee, Wisconsin to attend Alverno College to pursue a degree in music therapy.through their middle and high school years during the heat of the civil rights movement, the sisters consequently grew up at a significant time in history amidst the fight for school integration and equality in the educational system.

Interestingly, Edwilda found herself at an all-girls Catholic school as the only Baptist student in attendance. With a keen ear for music and a distinct vigor for instrumental practice, Edwilda eventually enjoyed spreading the healing power of music through her work in the hospital system of New York. Edwilda appreciated a career that offered personal growth and motivation as a product of her efforts in helping those around her. In asserting the power of rhythm, Edwilda recalls, “In my experience with people who were unable to communicate their feelings with traditional words, music served as the vehicle for emotional expression.”

Edwilda later obtained a Master’s in education, teaching in the public school system in Los Angeles, California in the 1960’s where she was recognized and admired for her effective teaching method and style. Incorporating her background of music therapy, Edwilda took pride in formation of a school band in the process. Returning to Prince Edward County, Virginia in the late 1980’s, she continued her teaching career in the aforementioned schools that forbade her attendance as a student during the civil rights era of the 1950’s.s a product of her efforts in helping those around her. In asserting the power of rhythm, Edwilda recalls, “In my experience with people who were unable to communicate their feelings with traditional words, music served as the vehicle for emotional expression.”

Pursuing a bachelor’s degree in recreation, younger sister Edna ventured to Springfield College in Massachusetts. She later obtained a Master’s degree in social work at Columbia, and she went on to earn a Ph.D. in social work from Union Graduate School in New York. Professionally, Edna has worked “country-side to city-side.” From Harlem, New York, Los Angeles, California, to Farmville, Virginia, Edna has thoroughly enjoyed her work among a variety of communities.

Through various careers including a position with the Department of Mental Health, Edna worked alongside disadvantaged populations to empower each individual with encouragement and understanding with the foundation of human connection. Understanding the importance of this relationship, she actively recalls her passion for a career in social work rich in purpose and meaning, consistently helping other individuals while gaining personal clarity and value in the process. Subsequently, Edna was able to share her social work mastery as a professor at Longwood University in the late 1970’s, devoting time and expertise to young scholars yearning to embark on similar avenues for a prolific 20 years.

With a well-curated and diverse scope of experience, Edwilda and Edna can be found in the heartening hallways of Circle Center where their individualized pathways have intertwined at this significant stage of adulthood. Taking pride in Circle Center’s unparalleled range of diversity and social activity, Edna reveals, “I don’t have any bad days because talking to other individuals always helps.” Edwilda puts forward her enthusiasm for music, art, and social interaction to the Circle Center community. Offering valued words of clarity, the sisters encourage fellow participants in the power of aging, asserting “As you get older, you get smarter. It is something to embrace, to enjoy.” Sure to disclose the convenience in having a sister close by to pester, Edwilda and Edna are grateful for their shared presence at the Center, routinely following their own personalized schedules with all Circle Center has to offer, while joining together as two sisters on a unique course.

To the outside world, we all grow old. But not to brothers and sisters. We know each other as we always were. We know each other’s hearts. We share private family jokes. We remember family feuds and secrets, family griefs and joys. We live outside the touch of time. – Clara Ortega

Written by Athena Liangos, Social Work student at Circle Center

 

 

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