“Generation Nice” at Herkimer Coffee

"The Millenials" by Bon Duke © The New York Times

“The Millenials” (Bon Duke © 2014 The New York Times Company)

By Dick Gillett

A few weeks ago, as I reported to my regular coffee hangout at Herkimer Coffee, on Greenwood and 74th, Josh, the barista greeted me as I put in my usual order for a macchiato.

“How are you, Dick?” he asked.

“Terrible,” I responded. I’d just finished reading the morning papers, their headlines proclaiming depressing news the world over.

“That was your mistake,” he responded cheerily.

·    ·    ·

Since my wife and I arrived in Seattle in 2007, I’ve been going to Herkimer’s for my morning macchiato at least three times a week, and a good part of the reason I go is the baristas who work there. To a person they are cheerful, upbeat and just plain nice. Most are “millennials”, born between about 1980 and 2000, although a few are “Gen Xers”, born from the early 1960s to about 1980.

At about the same time Josh joked with me about the news, a prominent story titled “Generation Nice” in the New York Times made me think of this barista crew at Herkimer’s. In the few minutes conversation affords while your coffee is made I’ve learned a surprising amount about them over time. As a member of the so-called “Greatest Generation” (putting me in my 80s), I’m interested in building bridges between generations. We of Planet Earth are going to have to make it together or not at all.

So here’s a glimpse of their thoughts and aspirations, mundane and otherwise.

One early conversation I had with Josh, for example, touched on the 19th century Danish philosopher and theologian Soren Kierkegaard we both knew.

Then there is Chad, a UW grad with a master’s degree in sculpture, who wears T-Shirts that frequently prompt you to ask about them. Recently one bore just the word “Claptrap”, so I asked him what it meant.

“It’s the name of a “fictional, 1920s-era robotic band.”

O ka-a-a-y.

Then we have Cassidy, a serious musician whose indie rock band Pickwick appeared on stage this summer at Benaroya Hall with another group, Sir Mix-a-Lot, and the Seattle Symphony! And Jay, who is studying at Seattle U. for a masters degree in music administration.

Also in the arts is Janelle, an anthropology major who became seriously interested in Arab music and dance. This in turn has informed her of the great importance of valuing Arab culture and history, and she’s been twice to Egypt. She also dances and teaches dance.

Marisa was a Spanish major at UW (we have practiced Spanish occasionally). Her plans are to complete the prerequisites for a degree in occupational therapy. And Elaine, the manager, has worked for Herkimer’s for six years and likes the coffee business as a profession. She also has her bachelor’s degree.

Finally, Erin is a writer on food issues. She’s soon leaving Herkimer’s to work as assistant web editor at Yes! Magazine. She recently reviewed a conference convened in South America for subsistence farmers at high altitudes, whose crops are becoming at risk due to global climate change.

At my age I may not be alone in thinking the world is going to hell in a hand basket; that we of the generations preceding have left an awful, awful mess. I sense that these Herkimer millennials and Gen Xers know that. Yet they are smart and cheerful, and appear to have a sense of where they are going.

Maybe we are going to make it!

·    ·    ·

Author Dick Gillett is a Member of PNA Village and a retired Episcopal priest. His previous article, “Martín’s Journey to the White House”, was published August 26, 2014.

“The Millennials Are Generation Nice” by Sam Tanenhaus, published August 15, 2014 by The New York Times.

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PNA Village Piano Benefit Concert

Monica Chiyoung Yoon

Please join for an intimate musical evening

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A Benefit for the Village

Monica Chiyoung Yoon, Pianist

Sponsored by PNA Village members Donald & Gloria Swisher

Wednesday, October 29, 2014
6-8 pm
Phinney Center Brick Building, Community Hall

Program will begin promptly at 6:15 pm. Delicious hors d’ouevres provided by FareStart.

·     ·     ·

Get Tickets »

A special thank you to Don and Gloria Swisher for underwriting this event, and to A-1 Piano for donating a grand piano for the event. Proceeds benefit the PNA Village program.


PNA Village Piano Benefit Concert
Wednesday, October 29th, 2014
6-8 pm
PNA Brick Building, Community Hall
6615 Dayton Avenue N. Seattle, WA

Click for tickets: Get Tickets »
I cannot attend but would like to make a donation:  Donation »

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Alive Inside: A Story of Music & Memory

02_ALIVE INSIDE_Photo Courtesy of BOND360

“On a whim, New York-based social worker Dan Cohen decided to share the music on his iPod with the residents of the nursing home where he was working, making a remarkable discovery: many Alzheimer’s and dementia-afflicted patients suffering from memory loss awaken when they listen to music from their past. Alive Inside investigates the mysterious ways music reconnects patients with the memories and emotions of their youth, blending personal stories of connection with interviews of medical and musical luminaries, including renowned neurologist Dr. Oliver Sacks and musician Bobby McFerrin. But it is the amazing footage of this method in action that earned this film the Audience Award at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival.”
– from Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF)

View trailer here: Alive Inside: A Story of Music & Memory

August 29, 2014
SIFF Cinema Uptown
4:45 PM Buy Tickets
6:45 PM Buy Tickets

August 30, 2014
SIFF Cinema Uptown
1:15 PM Buy Tickets

04_ALIVE INSIDE_Photo Courtesy of BOND360
“The scene in Alive Inside of 94-year-old Henry coming back from the dead may stay with you as long as you live. It is not describable; you must see it. There are at least three scenes of this magnitude in this new, inspiring, and terribly important documentary.” – Jen Graves, The Stranger

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June’s Classic Music

Deutzia spp.| ©2014 HouseofHank.meAll are welcome at our Village classical music get-together on Wednesday, June 25 at 7pm − Please feel free to bring a friend, bring a CD, or just bring yourself and your musical interest!

RSVP to Dick Gillett at 206.789.1354 or email dgillseattle@yahoo.com. Light refreshments will be provided.

Wednesday, June 25
7—9 pm
The Gillett residence (just a few blocks from the PNA towards Green Lake—call 206.789.1354 or email Dick at dgillseattle@yahoo.com for the street address)

We look forward to seeing you on the 25th!


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Classical Music Fans United!

Windsor | ©2014 HouseofHank.me
Great news: We’re having our first PNA Village classical music lovers’ get-together this Friday, May 30th at 7pm. All are welcome—bring a friend, bring a CD, or just bring yourself and your musical interest. Please RSVP to Dick Gillett at the number or email below so that we know to expect you. Light refreshments will be provided.

Friday, May 30
7—9 pm
The Gillett residence (just a few blocks from the PNA towards Green Lake—please RSVP to 206.789.1354 or email Dick at dgillseattle@yahoo.com for address)

We look forward to seeing you this Friday!


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Classical Music Fans, Unite!

Carmina Burana (München, 1959) via Wikipedia

By Dick Gillett

Like many in the Seattle area, I listen to our local, classical music station King FM 98.1. Often on my way to coffee on Phinney Ridge, I find myself waving my arms, “conducting” behind the steering wheel (look out!) and wishing others were in my company sharing in the musical moment.

Chanson "Belle bonne, sage" by Baude Cordier via WikipediaLast week, after enjoying our Village’s second anniversary party I thought, why don’t we Village classical music fans get together? Perhaps once per month we could meet at a host’s home, where we could bring a favorite musical passage on CD and share together both the music and our thoughts…and get acquainted in the process! Together we might wave our arms at Brahms’ violin concerto, Orff’s Carmina Burana, Mendelssohn’s Italian Symphony, or listen more quietly to Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata. Of course, all would be welcome to join in regardless of whether one has particular pieces of music to share.

Does this idea sound appealing to you?  If there’s enough interest for a first meeting from Village members and volunteers we could figure out together how and where to best make it happen. Please reply to me at dgillseattle(at)yahoo(dot)com or give me a call at 206.789.1354.

I look forward to hearing from you and exploring the world of classical music together!

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“Second Wind” in Seattle

Second Wind Tour

Dr. Bill Thomas’ experiences as a geriatric physician showed him how an otherwise difficult human process – aging – was made even more so by blatant ageism in our society. His new book, Second Wind: Navigating the Passage to a Slower, Deeper and More Connected Life (March 2014, Simon and Schuster), invites readers to “see beyond the limitations and weaknesses inherent in adulthood and begin an exploration of life beyond adulthood.”

Second Wind book cover

On April 14 from 1-5 pm, Town Hall Seattle will host “The Second Wind Tour”, a non-fiction theatrical performance which is part of a 25-city performance schedule. Act One consists of theatrical monologues featuring Dr. Thomas and Dr. Janet Taylor, a noted consumer health expert. Drs. Thomas and Taylor will also be joined by a series of featured speakers in each city. Act Two will feature a documentary film debut followed by a live musical performance by Samite Mulondo, founder of Musicians for World Harmony.

If you can’t join the tour in person, you may learn more about it here: www.SecondWindTour.org.

This event is being sponsored by Northwest Center for Creative Aging.

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Taproot Theatre ticket available!


Village members and volunteers, please contact Shannon (206-321-7852) ASAP if you can use one ticket for the Saturday, May 18, 8 pm performance of “Bach at Leipzig” at Taproot.

You’ll need to pick the ticket up from her Friday evening (tonight). Thanks!


Bach at Leipzig
by Itamar Moses

May 17 – June 15
Previews May 15 & 16 

Leipzig, 1722. Germany’s most renowned music director is dead at the keyboard. As the country’s greatest organists descend to vie for the job, melodies of rivalry, trickery and blackmail compose a fugue of plots and counterplots. Rooted in history but reveling in flights of fiction, Bach at Leipzig is deliciously scored with wild and witty revelations.

“Imagine the Marx Brothers and Tom Stoppard collaborating on a play.” – Milwaukee Sentinel

For My 88th Birthday

Two poems by Marilyn Zuckerman
March 26, 2013

Dance Latino

After W.C.Williams

When the poet,
well past middle-age,
is alone in her house
doing dishes
on a Saturday afternoon,
radio playing Latino music,
April sun blazing
through the red sun-catcher,
she ties a towel around her waist,
throws her arms over her head,
fingers snapping like castanets,
gets way down and funky and does
what used to be called the “dirty mambo”.
Hey, when no-one’s there to see her
Watch that old lady go!


“The nouns go first.”
– a neurologist

in this age of loss
it is a word that has deserted you,
slipping below the horizon
like the sun dropping behind the hills,
or like the nightmare
in which your small child
rides away from you on an escalator.
You watch him
vanish into the crowd
leaving behind his white shirttail
—wavering afterimage
at the entrance of a black hole.

You try to wrestle the word back
like a midwife birthing a slippery baby,
or like you butterfingered,
trying to keep your wallet
from slipping through the grating
over the subway
—or at the war movie,
listening for an engine
to sputter overhead,
hearing instead the noisy motor
of that jeep driving along the tarmac.
You decide to stop thinking about it
believing in the wisdom
of an empty mind.
Then while making dinner
listening to the news,
chopping vegetables,
you suddenly say
O. It begins with O!
Hear the rhythm beat
against your eardrums.
Three syllables
and music is in it.
You see the conductor,
his baton gliding through the air.
Opera? you wonder
and something moves into view
like the freighter shipwrecked sailors
think they see passing across their bow,
cabin lights leaking yellow.
They shout and wave undershirts,
but it only slips past.

In bed that night
you whisper
O, O, O
over and over
trying to construct a bridge
across the synapses
like an electrician holding two wires
together waiting for the arc and sizzle.

You wake to go to the bathroom;
while peeing,
half awake,
half in your dream,
you suddenly smile and hear
the roll of kettledrums,
the music, soaring,
swells into crescendo
and the overture is over.
The curtain goes up.

⋅     ⋅     ⋅

Poems from my book, In the Ninth Decade, from Red Dragonfly Press.


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PNA Village Benefit Concert

PNA Village Benefit Concert sheet music image

Join us for an intimate musical evening

A Benefit for the PNA Village

Monica Chiyoung Yoon, Pianist

Hosted by PNA Village members Donald and Gloria Swisher

Thursday, March 21, 2013

6-8 pm  Program will begin promptly at 6:15 pm

Substantial hors d’oeuvres, wine and beverages will be served. Catering by FareStart.

Tickets $50 per person

Buy your tickets here: https://phinney.ejoinme.org/?tabid=442340