Vine Village News
Vine Village, Inc, Napa, California - Serving People With Special Needs Since 1973

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Each April, our annual Poem in Your Pocket Day is organized by our very own Poet Laureate, Dennis Johns.. 


Twila VanDamme - Forty Years with Vine Village

Debbie Kerson and I came in together at the Ranch.  Kathleen Orme was our house parent.  The men and women were separated one up there the other down here.  The ranch was interesting, it made me feel wanted.  I was very happy as I thought about my new life. 

I worked at PSI putting together file boxes.  I worked around the Village making wine vinegar and olive oil.  Nancy Kerson got us some goats and we milked them.  I liked it it was a good experience, milking goats.  They had chickens there and Larry the llama.  

I had a horse, Miss Red.  She was pregnant when Michael tried to ride her, she threw him off because she did not want anybody on her back.  After she delivered I was able to ride her around the ranch with Michael supervising me. 

When I got married my father came to pick up Miss Red and take her back to where she had come from, Oregon.  Then back to PSI and the boxes.  Where I worked full time. 

Art, my husband, worked for Bob Brown, doing tractor work.  Then with me working at PSI. 

Previously I met Art at Vine Village.  October 1973.  Art was looking at Vine Village as a place to live.  My friend Eleanor wanted to go down to the Menís House so we could meet the new guy, Artís dad was there with him when Art turned to his dad and said: ďI am going to marry her.Ē  We dated for three years.  We went out to dinner a little bit, and we went to meet my parents in MacDoel, California.  There were family dinners where we all got along.  We went to the movies, Arthur and I.  Side trips included Lake of the Woods, Oregon.  Then we went back to Napa and we went back to work. 

All of our friends and family liked us to get married, they gave their blessings.  Sometimes we visited Artís family in L.A.  They were supportive of our relationship.  We had a church wedding with a reception at Silverado Country Club.  We did not go on a honeymoon but stayed in our apartment together.  As of today Art and I are married 37 years.  In 2001 we celebrated our 25 wedding anniversary with a party at the ranch, we had lunch and a cake, and both of our families attended.  Michael and Nancy planned the party with my mother and I felt grateful and happy.


Amy Lee - Vine Village in the Days

I came to Vine Village from Virginia.  I graduated from Every School.  I have been here 13 years.  When the staff cooks I am happy.  I am a good bowler, my highest game is 134.  We have a tournament coming up.  I like to watch wrestling and baseball on T.V. 

I like myself.  I always have.  Vine Village is my home.  I like Friday nights popcorn, soda and a movie.


Debbie Kerson, Looking Back: Forty Years of Vine Village

In the beginning I slept in tents at Vine Village, also in a sleeping bag.  My parents found Vine Village.  The Board of Directors also started the Village.  All these years, after that first time, I lived in the Womenís House.  Michael and Nancy lived in the houses.  Both of them cooked our meals and sometimes they stayed overnight.  We also had Christmas parties and some people went home.  My other brother, Jerry and Gena (his wife) came from Oakland for my birthday and we went our for friend chicken.  Sometimes,  we go for a swim, but sometimes the water is too cold. 

My family takes me out to dinner.  We go to Reno for a trip, also Disneyland.  I like the ride called Elevator and Amy lies the teacups.  I like Space Mountain the best. 

At Vine Village we have grown apples, grapes, pears directed by Tucker.  We use to have Belgian horses.  Now, we have chicken, goats, cows, a llama and horses. 

I remember it snowing here, then being up in the mountains.  I went cross country skiing.  I slid on my butt and my parents liked it.  I came in first for Special Olympics cross country skiing.  We went to a lodge and ate at the cafeteria.  We gambled a little bit too.  I saw Willie Nelson in person. 

On the east coast in the Catskills I played shuffleboard.  All my cousins are back there.  We took a limo from the airport to our cousinís house.  We stayed about a week.  I went on the beach with my parents and my aunt.  Then back in Napa.  I participated in Special Olympics, the walking category.  I won a red, a blue, and a white ribbon.  We also went bowling on a Saturday morning.

I have been able to met a lot of people at Vine Village.  All the people have been great.  Every Friday night we watch movies and eat popcorn and sometimes drink soda.  We like the movies.  My favorite thing is to go with Amy at In and Out.



I was so happy there were no snakes

by Sheila Pressey

Just a real nice walk yesterday.  My PA (personal assistant from Aldea) and I went for a river walk near my apartment.  The sun was out, not too windy.  You could see the water from the path, the water was not high.  When you're on the path you can get
on many paths,  I did 2 miles.
It was a nice walk, people riding bikes, we said Hi to all of them.
There were pretty purple flowers.  The sun was out and it was breezy.
We, my PA and I, just talked about normal stuff, about the next time I am going to see her. 

Then a memory of when I was a little girl and went out of my campground walking down the path, I got off the path ans saw a big old rock.  I push the rock over and  there was the snake.

I ran as fast as I could back to my camp.  I just yelled "Snake, Snake."  I was 7 years old and not allowed to leave the campsite, but I went anyway.


Why do we go slow while doing yoga? 
- Cynthia Ostwald
  • So We won't stress our muscles. 
  • Relaxes you when you do it. 
  • You ca do it at your own pace.


Why do we go slow while doing yoga II? 
- Thoughts by Jessica Peters.

Going slow helps you concentrate on what you are doing, not what others are doing.

You wake up feeling refreshed so you can prepare for the day ahead.
You get healthy relaxation without taking more meds.
When we are required to take a break at my work to stretch (I work at Lixit), I do what I've learned in my yoga classes (here at Vine Village) and the yoga I learned from my father.



Essay written by Shawn on May 15, 2012
by Shawn Mcketchnie

From day 1, on Thursday July 2, 1998 (my first day at Vine Village) I feel so lucky to have been able to express myself in so many ways with my art of writing.  I feel like something  has changed my life.  My feelings have always been the same.  I remember how I felt when nine terrific people out here made me feel special.  That includes Michael, Nancy, Saanen Kerson, Tucker and Debbie Crosby.  As well as people like Paula Mettler, who helped me to improve my writing skills.  When she started working here she brightened up our room

with her interesting way of teaching.  Catalina is a special person in so many ways. 
I have come to feel so good about being in a great place like Vine Village as long as I have been here.  Thinking about everything, which has seemed
to take place in fourteen year time limit.
I have discovered a whole bunch of things within a fourteen year period.  I have witnessed many neat events.  I was trying very easily to remember every experience in that time which will end on Monday, July 2nd, 2012 (when I will start my fifteen year)
I am a little nervous the only place I have ever been the longest is my house on the corner
of Hilltop and Roosevelt, which is 36 years.  My memories of 36 years in this house have made
me feel good.  Just as good as the day I first came to Vine Village.
I hope I never leave Vine Village because I have enjoyed every day for almost fourteen years.
I was happy to feel accepted into the Vine Village family fourteen years ago.
I am looking forward to my fifteenth year.  As I am sure that the Kerson's as well.  In my mind I have to really feel good about what I have done withing the last 14 years.
Thanks to all who have helped me get this far especially my friends and family.

- Shawn Mcketchnie



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