2014 Volunteers: Everett Mattlin

2014 Volunteers: Everett Mattlin

A man of well chosen words

“For there is much about old age, as about all of life, that is incongruous, and all you can do is laugh at the absurdity of it all.” ~Everett Mattlin

 

Everett MattllinWhen Lucille Kligerman, 96, recently said, “I just couldn’t put down Last Laughs: A Pocketful of Wry for the Aging,” we were intrigued—especially when she added that the book’s author, Everett Mattlin, drops by her room every week for a game of Scrabble.

It turns out that Mattlin, 85, has volunteered at the Hebrew Home since 2001. He has served as Bingo caller, led a current events discussion group, escorted residents to activities and appointments, trained to assist residents nearing the end of their lives, and dealt cards for a weekly Rummy game.  

“I’m a senior who goes to spend time with other seniors,” Mattlin states, but then expands this thought, explaining how he has discovered a mutual benefit to volunteering, especially when a helping relationship evolves into one of friendship. “I find that I’m bolstered and inspired by those seniors who remain open to what life still has to offer and stay optimistic and cheerful no matter their physical trials or how many days are left to them.” 

Mattlin relishes his front-row seat to fascinating life stories and the chance to share, with fellow seniors, the quirky observations of what it means to grow old in today’s society. “I’m old because I’m supposed to be old when I’ve lived this long,” he asserts in his book. He often chuckles over this with residents who agree there’s no getting around the realities of aging, despite the efforts of some health gurus to convince us otherwise.  

A retired editor and author, Everett Mattlin was founding editor of Gentlemen’s Quarterly in 1957; during his 13-year tenure he took particular pride in publishing the early works of Joseph Heller, Joan Didion and Mordecai Richler. From 1969 to 1996, he was senior writer and editor of a financial magazine, Institutional Investor. Today, Mattlin contentedly channels his word skills into his Scrabble games with Lucille, a worthy opponent.

For retirees like Mattlin, as well as students, working adults, or anyone with some time to spare, the Hebrew Home is a great place to help the elderly—and absorb their wisdom. Call Director of Volunteers Hedy Peyser at 301.770.8332 to learn how she can match your interests to the needs of our campus. 

Mattlin is the recipient of the 2013 Kitty Davis Award.

 

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