Longtime residents find community through Orion Twp. library

Longtime residents find community through Orion Twp. library

Mumblers ‘solve the world’s problems’ one discussion at a time

By Megan Kelley
Staff Writer
ORION TWP. — The Orion Township Public Library offers a wide variety of programs, and while there is plenty to gain individually from those programs, something that often gets overlooked is the sense of community derived from some of the services.
Some of those people who have found community through the library are a self-made group of senior citizens who call themselves “Mary’s Mumblers.”
The group, composed of Jim, Francis, Bill, Gary and Pat, have met regularly for roughly seven years on Thursdays at the Orion Center branch of the library to “solve the world’s problems” with the help of their leader, Mary Gleason, who works at the Orion Center branch.
“We have a good leader in Mary. She’s been our glue for all of us guys. She’s the anchor,” said Jim. “She does a wonderful job and keeps us in line.”
While the topics vary from things like James Bond or NBA players, the group also finds time to reminisce and discuss things like their first kiss or first jobs. Despite the different backgrounds, hobbies and interests, the group finds the conversations easy and company enjoyable.
Gleason’s crucial role as leader comes not only from her swift ability to Google anything and everything the Mumblers need to know at any given moment, but from her kind-hearted nature that made everyone want to continue stopping by for all these years.
The Orion Center lends itself to being a perfect gathering place for groups such as these, with the Mumblers citing not just the library branch – which features shelves of large print books that are available for check out and computer access – but the free coffee, free internet and gym as part of the draw to the facility as a whole.
“A lot of guys like to get together and just talk. You have guys who go to the beer garden, the night club, they sit and drink and play pool,” said Gary. “This happens to be really convenient and it’s not loud and boisterous like at a bar or a restaurant. it’s just pleasant.”
At least one member of the group can be found somewhere at the Orion Center on any given day, enjoying some of the senior activities, playing euchre on Thursdays or hanging out at senior social hours held at 11 a.m. on the first and third Fridays of every month.
In its tenure, the Mumblers have inspired others to start their own branch of the Mumblers, called the Mumblettes, who sometimes meet at the Orion Center on Mondays.
While these are unofficial, casual groups, the Mumblers encourage others to come by for Senior Social Hour or Senior Moments on Wednesdays during the fall through spring. Both events include Gleason putting together activities for seniors to play or quizzes for them to take and discuss. Both do not require any registration.
“It would like to see more people do that (Senior Moments and Senior Social Hour) and then we could maybe do it more often,” said Gary.
While the Mumblers are vocal about what they gain from these regular hangouts, Gleason also finds herself gaining inspiration from the experiences of the Mumblers.
“Everyone is so interesting and they all have their own story, they all have lived these long, amazing lives and I am inspired by all of them,” Gleason said. “Just to hear their conversations, it’s just very special.”
In recent weeks, Gleason has made the move from the Orion Center to the main library branch to fill the role of Support Services Clerk, calling the decision “bittersweet.”
Despite this, Senior Social Hour is still expected to take place and they are hoping to bring Senior Moments back when the position at the Orion Center is filled.
The Orion Center branch is open Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and is located in the Orion Center, 1335 Joslyn Rd.
For more information on senior services at the Orion Center, visit www.orionparks.com/senior_services/seniors_services.php.
For a full list of the library’s events and activities, including senior activities, visit their event calendar at www.orionlibrary.evanced.info/signup.

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