Ashton Place NY Press Articles
Family satisfied with Ashton Place
To the Editor:
Our family believes that Ashton Place is a blessing for senior citizens who need to be in a safe, comfortable environment and would like to share our enthusiasm for what we believe to be a jewel of a retirement community.
We moved our 88-year-old mother and some of her favorite furniture to Ashton Place in Clifton Springs in January 2009 from her home in southeastern Pennsylvania. We knew people who had lived at Ashton Place including the late Joe Felice and the Rev. Jane Brown.
They were positive in relating their residential experience at Ashton Place.
We appreciated the fact that there was no entrance fee, and we found that the monthly charges provided great value compared to what was available in southeastern Pennsylvania.
Mother appreciates help with organization and personal care provided by the enriched services program at Ashton. This is a personalized service which allows residents to live in a community in a dignified manner.
The staff is great! Mother loves the attention and raves about the food, this coming from a woman who loves to cook and feed people herself. Entertainment, programs and exercise are all part of the daily program as well as limo service to appointments. Mother constantly comments about how nice everyone is to her and how quickly the days pass with all the planned activities.
Our family is thankful to have Ashton Place taking care of our mother!
—Donald Wertman, Hall, NY
We were the general’s Band
Clifton Springs, N.Y. — In 1942, Bob Wadsworth was supposed to ship overseas as a radio operator. But the military soon got wind his talents lay elsewhere.
He was whistling a fiddle tune one day while on duty stateside, he recalled, when a fellow overheard him and asked if he could play in a band. No question about it, Wadsworth was the one to ask.
He’d picked up the violin when he was 5 years old and had been playing it ever since. He hadn’t brought a violin with him when he left home from Lyons, Wayne County, to serve in the Army, though. So he checked around and found a similar stringed instrument, a viola, and bought it for $25.
“Things happened quickly from there,” said Wadsworth, who learned the intricacies of the viola as fast as he could. Violin music is written in treble clef, while viola music is written in alto clef.
“I was supposed to be listening to code,” said Wadsworth, now 88, from his apartment in Ashton Place, “but instead I was writing down the clef ... I taught myself the clef on government time.”
The government benefited from Wadsworth’s efforts. The small band he joined soon evolved into a six-piece ensemble that caught the attention of a general. “We played anything he asked for,” said Wadsworth, who continued his music career after the war, teaching at high schools and at Ithaca College. “We were the general’s band.”
They toured New England, playing for dinners and other fancy affairs for the top military brass, in symphony halls and other venues in Massachusetts, Maine and New Hampshire. Then, it was overseas to Arctic sites where the band played at U.S. bases in Greenland, Newfoundland, Labrador and Iceland. Wadsworth recorded on the back of his viola all the places they played, writing the names in small, neat, permanent black ink.
That viola Wadsworth bought in 1942 is still the one he plays and gives lessons on from his apartment. One recent afternoon, he showed off the beautifully polished wood instrument in his spare bedroom, where he was also about to give a lesson to Midlakes sophomore John Himes.
“He has got a background,” said John, who found out about Wadsworth through his mom, Robin Himes, who works at Ashton Place. John already plays saxophone, guitar and drums, and was interested in learning the viola. “It took off from there,” he said.
Wadsworth enjoys sharing stories from his days in the general’s band, especially one about Marlene Dietrich, the famous German-born American singer and actress. Wadsworth said his band had just played at a base in Greenland and was about to leave for Iceland when Dietrich arrived to entertain the troops. “We were onstage when she did her show,” said Wadsworth, who recalled the starlet had a “stupid program — but she had on a red dress and that was the main factor.”
Dietrich was playing a saw, he said, making sounds on a bent saw blade with a cello bow. When she realized the general’s band was still backstage, after their own performance, she insisted they join her. Wadsworth said they played harmony to her attempts at playing a Hawaiian song. When the show was over, Dietrich wanted the general’s band to go with her on tour. But they declined, said Wadsworth: “We were afraid we’d lose our identity.”
Near the end of the war, Wadsworth was sent to the Pacific theater to be a rifleman. “That was a whole other ball game,” he said.
Then, the United States dropped the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the war was over within days. That didn’t mean Wadsworth could go home, though. A warrant officer asked him if he played French horn. When Wadsworth said he did, the officer replied, “Fine. Then I want you.”
Wadsworth said he stayed on, playing horn for the Army until he was discharged in 1946.
“I’ve always done music whenever I could,” he said.