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Dance down memory lane

Walter Roginski leads Faith Youngberg onto the dance "floor" Thursday, June 28, during a 1950s-themed event at New Perspectives Senior Living in Cloquet. Youngberg is an employee and Roginski is a resident as well as an ambassador. Jamie Lund/Pine Journal1 / 2
Joni Lindig, activities director at New Perspectives Senior Living, dances with resident Leonora "June" Oslin in front of mother and son singers, Rambling Roger and Dottie Lou Bolme during a recent 1950s-themed party for the residents. Jamie Lund/Pine Journal2 / 2

Women in poodle skirts swished past men in "Grease"-style white T-shirts and leather jackets. The large speakers were playing the song "My Little Runaway." Ice cream and burgers were being served, although not on roller skates.

It all began when Randy Wietman was showing his father, George, photos of old cars. George was a resident at New Perspectives Senior Living in Cloquet until recently, when he had to move after a stroke. He had been diagnosed with dementia, but could correctly name every one of the vintage cars from his teen years that his son showed him.

"He doesn't even remember our names, but he knew all of the cars in the photos," his daughter, Melanie Kucera, said with a laugh.

The revelation sparked an idea for the younger Wietman, who now lives in Rhode Island. He worked together with staff at New Perspectives to put together a walk down memory lane for the residents. A back-to-the-1950s party, complete with vintage cars from a local car club, clothes and music, was planned for June 28.

Unfortunately, Mother Nature did not get the memo and there were storms in the afternoon, some forecasted to produce hail.

While the 1950s cruisers didn't make an appearance, the party continued. It included a food truck serving ice cream and burgers, music by Rambling Roger and his mother, Dottie Lou Bolme and dancing.

Resident and volunteer ambassador at New Perspectives, Walter Roginski, 92, was excited to leave his walker for a dance with employee Faith Youngberg. She is an employee and was dressed 1950s-style, including a poodle skirt.

"I used to dance a lot better," Roginski said. "I think it's great and a lot of people came out." He said there is usually some type of event planned every summer. They have music a few times a month.

"I would like to have more events like this," Roginski said.

Randy was disappointed the weather didn't cooperate, but he was happy to see people dancing and making the best of the situation. By the end of the event, the clouds had cleared and the sunshine came out.

"People are happy, they can get a burger and they are having fun," Randy said. "That's what is important."