'I really like to go to the SSI current events classes'
"I have to say that the Senior Studies Institute is No. 1," said Phyllis Lindsley, a resident of the Highlands. She retired from what is now Legacy Meridian Park Medical Center in 1992 and joined the PCC program in 1994 with a friend.
"I saw dynamic people giving presentations, and I thought, 'That's for me,'" she said. "I always wanted to get more information on what is going on in the world, and I went off and on for three years. But then I felt guilty for not participating more - although god forbid I make a presentation in front of people."
Lindsley also was active in the Association of Learning in Retirement Organizations in the West, and "my calendar was full," she said.
After that organization disbanded, she became a board member at large at SSI in 2007, noting, "I wanted to use my contacts from the association - it's enriched my retirement."
Lindsley was lucky enough to be in on the ground floor of a couple of major companies - she started as a secretary at Tektronix in 1957 - when it was just one plant with 1,000 employees on Barnes Road - and worked there until 1971.
Then she was the first person hired at Meridian Park in July 1971, before the Tualatin hospital opened in November 1973.
"Talk about being in on the ground floor," she said. "The administrator Carleton Lindegren and I had a field office in an A-frame and entertained sales people. It was an interesting time. We did a weekly walk through the construction site in hard hats.
"I became the medical staff coordinator and made sure all their credentials and licenses were in good standing."
Lindsley can't pull herself away from Meridian Park completely and still volunteers in the gift shop.
But being retired, she can take advantage of the many SSI programs that are offered, including an annual trip to Ashland that started in 2004 to see theatrical productions.
"I'm a news junkie, and I really like to go to the SSI current events classes," Lindsley said. "Some people go to them four days a week. I finally got brave enough to be a presenter. I love show business and did about half a dozen presentations on different performers like Sydney Poitier, Groucho Marx, Bing Crosby and Katharine Hepburn.
'I'd say about 20 percent of the SSI participants end up doing presentations.
"I have made some lifelong friends in SSI and have traveled with some of them. The SSI volunteers are very supportive of each other. As long as I'm alive, I will be going to classes. To do all this for $30 a year is amazing."