Seniors get the beat at 'Rocking for Residents'


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In the hilarious "Wayne's World" sketches on "Saturday Night Live," Wayne Campbell often urged his friend Garth Algar to "rock on."

But rocking on achieved a "Tutti Frutti" sock hop dimension Saturday as residents of three local senior communities spent at least 15 minutes following Wayne Campbell's advice. Swaying back and forth in rocking chairs, their goal was to raise funds to buy two whirlpool baths and a bladder scanner. Friends and family pledged $5 for every 15 minutes they rocked to such songs as "Chantilly Lace."

With help from 100 volunteers, the first "Rocking for Residents" was organized by Vincentian Collaborative System, which operates Vincentian de Marillac in Stanton Heights, Marian Manor in Banksville and Vincentian Home in McCandless.

Dance master and disc jockey Bobby Dunlap spun upbeat music from the 1950s and 1960s, filling the normally quiet halls of Marian Manor with a festive atmosphere. At least 50 people grooved to the tunes, including some who competed in a cake walk.

Anna Rowkosky and Vivian Zanski embraced the mood by wearing pink poodle skirts and tennis shoes; both also wore bows in their hair. Activity supervisor Patty Robel wore a similar outfit.

The oldest rocker, by far, was 100-year-old Sister Loretta Shelby, a pleasant, blue-eyed woman who ran the library at the West View motherhouse for the Sisters of the Holy Spirit, a diocesan religious order. She celebrated a century of living on Feb. 18.

"I thought it was fun. I feel like a young person," Sister Loretta said after swaying in her chair for an hour.

Still a multitasker, Sister Loretta read cards and letters while she rocked, including a typewritten letter from Bishop David Zubik who encouraged the nun to -- what else? -- rock on! His handwritten note read, "Have so many memories with you. Treasure those days." Sister Loretta often breakfasted with Bishop Zubik's mother, Susan.

Among the youngest rockers was 7-year-old Aidan McCue, an Overbrook boy who practically grew up at Marian Manor because his mother, Colleeen McCue, works there as a registered nurse.

"He used to go to preschool here," Mrs. McCue said, calling the children's day care at Marian Manor "the best-kept secret in the South Hills."

In his spectacles, shorts and flip-flops, Aidan looked ready for any adventure. He rocked for his grandmother, Jean, who sat next to him, smiling.

"I didn't know there would be all this noise," he said, rocking back and forth. His typical Saturday mornings include watching "SpongeBob SquarePants" and going to the store with his mom.

"This is sort of like our second home. He likes doing things for the grandmas and grandpas," Mrs. McCue said, including handing out drinks and snacks.

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Marylynne Pitz: mpitz@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1648.


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