Here we are again, visiting with you in the hopes that something in this column will help you to decide that you are going to check out the Shawnee Senior Center for yourself. It's free, there's no admission charge, but there is a qualification … you have to be 50 and better.

Here we are again, visiting with you in the hopes that something in this column will help you to decide that you are going to check out the Shawnee Senior Center for yourself. It’s free, there’s no admission charge, but there is a qualification … you have to be 50 and better. Now when you think about the senior citizens in our community, maybe you picture a 70+ person with nothing better to do than sit around all day and watch TV. Well, there may be some people around like that but my guess is they just haven’t found the Shawnee Senior Center yet. Nobody sits around here watching TV. If they’re sitting, it’s probably because they are playing cards or dominos or bingo or singing or woodcarving or quilting or … well, I think you get the idea. They are being active and interacting with other people who are “50 and better.”

Now to be able to come and do any of these fun things there have to be people who can arrange, set up or be just be here to help you find out what is available for you (those who are 50 or better) to enjoy. And that brings me to the topic I am going to tell you about today.

All the things we do at the center are organized and maintained by the staff. Now maybe you might think that we have a large staff of people who run around and keep everything going from the kitchen to all the different areas in the center. The truth is we have four full-time people, two fitness part-time instructors and three part-time people who pick up the slack.

And today I am going to tell you about the lady who has been here almost as long as Kate because she was Kate’s first hire at the center back in 2007. I’m sure most of you know who she is – Marian Reeves. Marian’s official title is administrative assistant to the director. Now before I start listing all of the things she is responsible for at the center, I’m going to give you a little history ‘cause she’s interesting.

Born in Orlando, Florida, to a captain in the Army Air Force and his wife, she was the first of four children in her family. Two girls were next, Ann and Janie, and then one son, Paul.

After leaving the Army Air Force, Marian’s dad went to work in the oil field and he and his family moved to many different parts of the country, eventually landing back home in Shawnee. Marian, the only girl in the class, graduated as valedictorian from the eighth grade in a two room schoolhouse in Westboro, Oklahoma. From there she went to Shawnee High School, where she graduated in 1962 and then went on to Oklahoma City where her mom enrolled her in the Oklahoma School of Banking and Business. To make sure her oldest child was safe, Marian’s mom also found her living accommodations at the YWCA. There’s an interesting story about Marian and her stay at the “Y” but you’ll have to ask her cause I told her I wouldn’t print it.

Marian worked at the Owl Drug Store in Shawnee the whole four years she was in high school and when she completed her studies at the Oklahoma School of Banking and Business, a customer at the Owl Drug Store helped her get her first job in the banking community at the Federal National Bank in downtown Shawnee. But Marian liked to see other places and so she’s traveled and lived in many different places across the United States. She lived In Denver, Los Angeles, Oklahoma City, Houston and even spent a cold several months in Edmonton, Canada, and then she came home to Shawnee, America.

And now came the best part of Marian’s life…she met and married a local guy, John Reeves. She will tell you that although John was a carpenter by trade, his real love was old cars. He had as many as 20 to 30 cars in a shop on East Main Street where he and his friends would meet to chat and maybe tinker around a little on one of the cars. Though he had all kinds of old cars, his favorites were his old Lincolns.

From 1995, Marian worked for the Absentee Shawnee Tribe as a receptionist, an administrative assistant to the treasurer’s assistant, administrative assistant to the governor and then served as secretary to the tribe. In June of 2005, she left her position with the tribe and took a few months off.

By March of 2006 she was ready to go back to work and that’s when Kate Joyce, who was the new executive director of the Shawnee Senior Center was looking for an assistant and found Marian, who then became the administrative assistant to the director, and that remains her title to this day. John and Marian had been married for 23 years when a little more than a year after joining the center, John got an infection and died four days later.

But Marian remained at the center. She does a myriad of things here. You can see her covering for the front desk if we do not have a volunteer or a free staff member to do that. She knows just about everybody who comes in by name. She also is responsible for ordering supplies and getting them paid She keeps track of expenses that go through the county’s Senior Tax Board. She keeps the payroll records and employee files and tracks the times that community service workers are working in the building.

And as a last comment (and if you know her you also know this to be true) she is a political person who can give you (and will give you) her personal opinion on politicians on both sides of the aisle. Don’t believe me? Ask her! She is also an avid reader of non-fiction and tries to read at least one book a week. She loves animals and has two little dogs.

Come visit the center, say “hi” to Marian and the rest of the staff. We’ll say “hi” back!

Kate Joyce will be visiting with “Mike in the Morning” on Wednesday, Dec. 6 at 8:35 in the morning on KGFF Radio (FM 100.9 and AM 1450) with more information on the happenings at the Shawnee Senior Center.

And remember at the Shawnee Senior Center “age is just a number.” Our Facebook page is “Shawnee Senior Center” and our website is SHAWNEESENIORCENTER.ORG.

See you at the center!