The golden years are only golden if you have someone to spend them with. At the Chinook Senior Citizens Center, companionship comes easily. Retirees meet to swap stories over morning coffee, play games, listen to music, enjoy a meal together, and even exercise.

The center’s open layout is convenient for gatherings of all types and sizes—Tuesday movies, Thursday yoga, live music on Fridays, and special events, such as birthdays and funeral receptions.

Local senior Mary Pyette attends just about every function she can, and when she does, she’s sure to bring out her camera. “I’m the picture lady,” laughs the retired public health nurse.

“I used to give shots. Now I take shots with a camera and people like me better.”

The walls of the Chinook Senior Citizens Center are covered with Mary’s photos (and several of her completed, framed puzzles as well). A wall-mounted, wooden album in the dining area acts as a history book on the center. Visitors can flip through the large (but lightweight) pages and even remove them to more conveniently view them seated at a table.
“These guys have stories like you wouldn’t believe,” says Director Karyn Higgins, who loves working with Chinook’s aging population.

She has been director for a few years now, but is relatively new to the center compared to Mary, who took seniors’ blood pressure readings back when it first opened in the ‘70s. (Another local, Virginia Olson, celebrated her 100th birthday here in 2021.)

“This place sure is an asset,” says Mary, who greets everyone as if they are walking into her own home.

There is a small sign in the center which reads: “I thought growing old would take longer.”

Life moves fast, but the senior citizens of Chinook have found that there’s plenty of it left to enjoy.