• A Walk in the Park—Ring it In!

    Illustration by Esther Wilkin

    By Marty Halverson

    On New Year’s Eve a few years ago I was sitting at the kitchen table with my journal while Dee stood in his socks, facing away from me, seasoning his famous Enthusiastic Stew (he puts everything he’s got into it). Compiling a list of resolutions, I said, “What should be my goal this year?” He spun around on the slippery floor, struck a John Travolta pose, and sang, “Stayin’ alive, stayin’ alive!” Luckily, that’s a resolution we’ve kept, and the past 18 months have been livelier than usual. It’s because we got moving—across town.

    After some health scares, we decided we might be getting old, and we wanted a place that would be easy to maintain just in case we were right. Daybreak enchanted us with picturesque houses and parks, and when we discovered Garden Park Village within Daybreak, we were dazzled. A 55+ community two minutes from a brand-new hospital—it was just what we needed to welcome our antiquity. But it worked in reverse! We do more now than we did ten years ago. Dee walks three miles twice a day—early in the morning he’s on the treadmill in the clubhouse, late afternoon he’s strolling around the lake. Fun new friends move in on a weekly basis and there are treks on TRAX (the light rail station is two blocks away) to downtown Salt Lake, or dinner and a movie at the Cineplex and one of a dozen restaurants less than five minutes away. Swimming in the summer, potlucks in the winter—our son caught us hanging out with friends again and said, “Who are you people and what have you done with my parents?”

    “Stayin’ alive” (in every way) is my resolution for 2013, too. I want to read more books, make more friends, appreciate more blessings, and serve more people. Life is like Dee’s Enthusiastic Stew: better when you put everything you’ve got into it!

     Marty Halverson and her husband Dee are residents of Garden Park. Marty writes other stuff, too, which you can read at TravelinOma and HeritageAssociates. Visit her website: Marty Halverson 

  • A Walk in the Park—Christmas Eve

    By Marty Halverson

    Did he come yet?



    Wow! That was fast.

    He’s already in my rear-view mirror!


    Hope your Christmas was merry and bright!
    Thanks to the Garden Park crew for clearing our sidewalks after a huge Christmas Eve snowstorm. I’m a night-owl, and while I was up at 2:am listening for sleigh bells, I heard the scraping of snow shovels instead. What a treat to wake up and find the flakes stacked neatly on the sidelines, and a safe path to the clubhouse!

    There’s a lot going on at the clubhouse this season. Private parties, neighborhood pot-lucks and bookclub discussions, yoga classes, exercise workouts, folks on the treadmills or lifting weights. Check the schedule to see where you fit in, and don’t be embarrassed to join the group for your activity of choice. Everybody is new and looking for new friends. Some suggestions:

    1. Empty nesters are parties held the 3rd Monday night of the month at 7:pm. They are typically game nights with get to know you activities and refreshments, but occasionally there’s a full meal planned, and every guest brings a favorite dish.

     2. The first Sunday of every month, there’s a neighborhood pot-luck dinner. The neighbors bring a favorite dish to contribute and we eat at 5:30 pm. Since it’s after church, some folks are still in Sunday best,  while others have their Sunday night casual duds on. The food is always great! Bring your own paper plates, plastic utinsels, cups and napkins for this evening. 

     3. Bookclub is the 4th Monday night of the month in the fireplace nook of the clubhouse. Books for the year have been decided, and whoever suggested the book to the group is the host for the evening, leading a discussion, and providing refreshments that coordinate with the book. We start at 7:pm and anyone is welcome to join. (So far it’s just women.) It’s casual, and it’s most fun if you’ve read the book, and can join in with the discussion. 

    It doesn’t need to be Christmas Eve to feel the spirit of Garden Park. There’s a unique atmosphere here throughout the year. But the Man in Red brings out the best in the neighborhood! Start the countdown to next Christmas Eve!



  • A Walk in the Park—Slow Down!

    It’s a Wonderful Life

    By Marty Halverson

     “The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.”

    Sometimes my Christmas packages are tied up with guilt—the zest I had on Thanksgiving starts to seep out until I feel like a tired balloon. So many people to see, so many places to be, so many things to make and bake and take. It’s a challenge to focus and choose: things I’d hoped to do don’t get done, friends get checked off my to-do list like chores, and I have to turn off the Christmas music to concentrate on finding a parking place. The Grinch is stalking me.

    I get defensive when I feel guilty, and I start arguing my case in my mind (although it sometimes spills out) justifying myself to myself. And, as always when there’s any kind of contention, the Spirit of Christmas leaves. It’s time to check my list of priorities:

     What do I want to have happen?

    1. I want to remember the baby Jesus, the grown up Jesus, and the lessons He taught about how to find joy in living, and peace of mind.
    2. I want to communicate love, encouragement and support to my husband, kids and grandkids in an unhurried way.
    3. I want to share my heritage with them.
    4. I want to slow down and bask in the beauty of the season.
    5. AND . . . I want to see old aunts, new nephews, cousins, siblings, friends, neighbors; send cards, go caroling, frost cookies, listen to Handel’s Messiah; write an Oma book, shop, wrap presents, read Christmas books . . .

    Checking my priority list has calmed me down. Scrooge isn’t out to get me and that lump of coal thing doesn’t apply just because I can’t do it all. There will still be life after Christmas. For now, the main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing. A silent night can bring joy to my world, if I let it.

    Garden Park’s Clubhouse is the place for family Christmas parties this year—

    What a great facility!



  • Santa 3

    A Walk in the Park—A Nod and a Wink

     By Marty Halverson



    Some folks are just naturally merry.

    Take St. Nicholas, for instance. Can you imagine him complaining about the cold? Or feeling sorry for himself because he works 24/7? He’s a jolly old soul whose main goal in life is to make us smile.

    December 6th is St. Nicholas Day. Children in Holland and Germany (and lots of other places) know that St. Nick is out and about, so they leave a carrot or an apple in their shoe as a snack for the reindeer. When they wake up, the carrot has been replaced with a tiny thank-you surprise, and the season of giving is ushered in.

    In honor of St. Nicholas Day, I’m thinking of people who always live life as if it were filled with twinkling lights, inspiring music, exciting adventure and endless promise. The ones that make life better just by being part of it. Optimistic people, merry people. Do you know these folks?


    Mitch and Debbie

     Bonnie and Byron

    A cute lady I know in Garden Park brightens a room whenever she enters, not because of her appearance but because of her attitude, her smile and her friendliness. She has lots of interests and is very interesting, but she still seems genuinely interested in me! Other Garden Park friends remember birthdays, ask about family, laugh off aging, and find the best in any situation.  Our neighborhood’s enthusiasm is contagious; it’s a gift we both give and get whenever we’re together.

    A wise man wrote, “Like all human behavior, optimism is learned. No one is born with it or without it. You learn it. You practice it. You try it out until it becomes a habit. And then you can’t imagine behaving any other way . . .

    “Begin with a smile. Take a real interest in what others are thinking, saying, and doing. Get outside yourself. You can (and do) change everyone with whom you come in contact. The question is whether you add to or subtract from the day’s experience.” Don Gale

    In honor of St. Nicholas Day, I asked the man of the hour his secret. “I wink a lot,” he said. Mmmm . . . maybe that’s why he sees only the best in us. (Haven’t you always wondered why he leaves presents whether you’re naughty or nice?) He looks at the bright side: maybe that’s why he’s so merry!


    Merry Christmas!

    Marty Halverson and her husband Dee are residents of Garden Park. Marty writes other stuff, too, which you can read at TravelinOma and HeritageAssociates. Visit her website: Marty Halverson 

  • A Walk in the Park—Starting the Season

    Art from A Piece of Cake by Jill Murphy

    By Marty Halverson

    Don’t look now . . . the season’s just begun!

    Back in the day, Christmas started at Grama’s house. She was “chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,” soft and squishy like a well-loved stuffed toy. She had gray hair most of the time, although I do recall her having a tinge of blue or pink when that was the grandmother trend. Dresses and aprons were her daily attire, with nylons rolled at the knee so they would stay up without a girdle. She wore black shoes with laces and stacked heels.

    I remember going to her house at Christmastime to bake sugar cookies. First flour was sprinkled on her kitchen table and then I got to create shapes with her unique cookie cutters. While she transferred them to the cookie sheet, I’d eat the scraps. (Scraps from dough that has already been rolled out are better than the actual cookies.)

    Grama decorated them like an artist, with paint brushes. Her Santa Claus cookies set the standard for the rest of my life: coconut enhanced his beard, red hots and silver ball candies trimmed his hat. The frosting was made with real butter so they tasted as good as they looked.

    She could decorate cookies very fast, and my feeble attempts usually left me disappointed and impatient—until I ate them. We saved hers on a plate for me to take home, and I made sure mine disappeared.

    An unheated room behind the kitchen was used to store old furniture and boxes of clothes. That is where Grama set up a table with a big marble slab where she would dip chocolates.

    First we made fudge, caramel, divinity and nut centers, and then the marble was smeared with melted chocolate. Grama quickly rolled the center in the chocolate and made a tiny swirl decoration on top to indicate which center was inside. It was fun to watch her at work.
    I’m the age my Grama was when we made Christmas goodies together. It would be so fun to visit her as she was then, and as I am now. I really think we would be good friends! She’d love my neighbors here in Garden Park.

    There are bundles of grandkids, great-nieces and hyper nephews who will be dropping in on loved ones in Garden Park this month. With ducks flying over the lake, lights glittering on Soda Row, and cider simmering on the stove, it’s time to get out your rolling pin, put on your apron and make a batch of sweet memories. ‘Tis the season!

    Merry Christmas, Grama.


    Marty Halverson and her husband Dee are residents of Garden Park. Marty writes other stuff, too, which you can read at TravelinOma and HeritageAssociates. Visit her website: Marty Halverson

  • By Marty Halverson

    Who says hooper “hupper”? A girl from Hooper, Utah, that’s who! Donna Hamblin was a native Hooper-ite and lived there until she was fourteen, when her family moved to Ogden. After her marriage she lived in California for a couple of years and then came back and settled in Tooele. (Who says Tooele “toolie”? A weatherman from outside Utah. Time to speak Utahn!

    After working at the Tooele Army Depot for 32 years, Donna took an early retirement and got a real job—hauling dirt in a wheelbarrow, digging weeds, planting trees and fixing broken sprinkler pipes! As the grounds manager for the condo community where they lived, she was in charge of all the landscaping for twelve years, and served as the association president as well. Carrying topsoil did a number on her back, so she took a job at Albertson’s and sacrificed a shoulder and knee to the meat department. It was time to really retire, and recover!

    Donna was married for 25 years and had a son and two daughters. They have blessed her with eight grandkids. Since her divorce and a short-lived second marriage, Donna has enjoyed being on her own for twenty years, the last four with a little dog named Cody. Cody gets the very best of care. Recently he spent the day with her daughter and was ready to go when Donna came home and discovered she was locked out. Sympathetic to his needs, and unable to meet them, she got down on all fours and climbed through the doggy door to let him out! That’s puppy love!

    Donna ties quilts and makes Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls—she enjoys crafts. She also enjoys her Garden Park neighbors, especially the single ladies who get together regularly for lunch. “I haven’t met anyone in Garden Park that I don’t like,” she says. It’s been her home for over a year. “I go to the swim classes, sometimes the exercise classes, and appreciate being actively involved. I feel safe here.” 

    Garden Park is fortunate to have her—that’s “lucky as heck” in Utahn!


    Marty Halverson and her husband Dee are residents of Garden Park. Marty writes other stuff, too, which you can read at TravelinOma and HeritageAssociates. Visit her website: Marty Halverson

  • A Walk in the Park—Fast Friends

    By Marty Halverson

    Look quick because these guys will soon be gone. Terry and Connie Brennan have had a short stay in Garden Park. They moved here last spring in a convoluted way from New York, Pennsylvania, Florida and Arizona to be near a daughter who lives just past the roundabout in Daybreak. You may have noticed their granddaughter practicing laps in our pool during the summer—Terry and Connie spent lots of time cheering for her at swim meets.

    The convenience of the world famous Moran Eye Center, located just a half-mile from Garden Park, was another draw when they were considering a move to Utah. Surgery and various treatments have helped a little, but Terry’s eyes haven’t adjusted well to our dry climate. Since the Brennans love to play golf, they started looking for a new place back east where the air is moist, and the golf courses are green all year long. It didn’t take long to find one. Just a few weeks ago a For Sale sign appeared in front of their cute red house and within days they had an offer, and will be gone by the end of November! The buyers were strolling through Garden Park trying to decide on a lot to buy, but spotted the house of their dreams and thought “Why wait?” Out and in, hopefully before the snow flies.

    We’ll miss the Brennans—they’ve been great neighbors! New neighbors are moving in regularly and it’s getting hard to keep track of who needs to be notified of potlucks, bookclubs and holiday soirees. If you know somebody who’s new to Garden Park, send me their email so they can be on the list: martyhalverson@gmail.com 

    Marty Halverson and her husband Dee are residents of Garden Park. Marty writes other stuff, too, which you can read at TravelinOma and HeritageAssociates. Visit her website: Marty Halverson

  • A Walk in the Park—Apparitions

    By Marty Halverson

    If you visit Garden Park Village this time of year you might be spooked by what you see.

    The first scary sight is the ghoul with the camera. 

    (Run for your lives!)

    She’s on the look-out for the walking dead.

    Eerie …



    (Too bad she didn’t know about the convenient dental clinic.)





    Uh-oh … this one’s irate …

    Somebody’s irked.


    Was the ghoul too creative? 

    Was her Halloween trick too tricky?

    Was the devil in the photoshopped details?

    Is anybody even smiling? 

    Obviously some folks are having an out-of-body experience.

    But is anybody laughing?

    Ah-ha! I hear something … it’s coming from the top of the spiral staircase … 

    it sounds like …

    Amused cackling!

    (He must be bewitched.)

     Happy Halloween to the friendly goblins of Garden Park!  

    Marty Halverson and her husband Dee are residents of Garden Park. Marty writes other stuff, too, which you can read at TravelinOma and HeritageAssociates. Visit her website: Marty Halverson 

  • A Walk in the Park—Test Your Memory

     By Marty Halverson


    Do you know what this is? 

    If you do, you belong in Garden Park.

     Everybody had one back in the day.

     I’ll tell you the secret of its popularity.

    Back, at the dawn of style, the Flip made its debut.

    There were many versions, but Mary’s was the ultimate goal.

    It was important to follow the secret directions:


     Seventeen Magazine had monthly diagram updates.


    After your hair was put up, you had to sleep like this on Friday night,



    Sport this look in town on Saturday,



    You could get out your fabulous new Christmas present



    And spend a toasty hour under your personal hairdryer!


    After some back-combing, smoothing and a can of Aqua Net


    You could only hope you’d look like this.


    My alternative was a haircut called the Sassoon,


    and a curly wiglet.


    Just pop it on, and you’re ready to go!

     A few more hair style secrets:

    Use orange juice cans for rollers.

    Iron your hair on the ironing board for a perfectly straight swing.

    Scotch tape your pin curls backwards for a side flip.

    (Your could even wear your scotch taped curls to school, for an edgier look.)

     But the queen of hairdos was

    The Beehive.

     I bow to your hairness.

     If any of these photos bumped into a memory, you belong in Garden Park.

    (If they didn’t, we need you for balance!)


    Marty Halverson and her husband Dee are residents of Garden Park. Marty writes other stuff, too, which you can read at TravelinOma and HeritageAssociates. Visit her website: Marty Halverson 




  • A Walk in the Park—Halloween Treat


    By Marty Halverson

    Garden Park may be a +55 community, but there are lots of little folks running races on the greens or playing hide and seek in the natural grass that surrounds the garden plots. I’ve seen them hitting croquet balls, eating ice cream cones and turning cartwheels for adoring audiences. I’ve heard them laughing and shouting, then blowing kisses as they wave good-bye, with a honk and a fading, “After while crocodile,” echoing in a Daybreak breeze.

    These are the neighborhood grandchildren. They might be hoping for a Halloween treat. Want to stir up something spooky? Here’s a recipe that haunts me:

    Ghost Cake With Glowing Eyes

    Bake a cake in an oblong pan.

    When cool, dump out of the pan carefully onto a tray.


    Now cut off two corner pieces to create a rounded ghost shape.

    The two extra pieces will become arms.


    Use white meringue type frosting from a box to glue the arms on the sides of the cake.

    Frost the cake.

    Use black licorice for the mouth.


    Now the spooky part:

    Break an egg, dump out the insides, and place each 1/2 eggshell (open side up) for eyes.

    Soak two sugar cubes in lemon extract.

    Place sugar cubes in egg shells, and light them with a match.

    The eyes will glow.


    Now, that’s a tricky Halloween treat!

    Marty Halverson and her husband Dee are residents of Garden Park. Marty writes other stuff, too, which you can read at TravelinOma and HeritageAssociates. Visit her website: Marty Halverson