If walls could talk, those of Willie Lane's room would tell of a passion for his art, a glass-is-half-full attitude toward life, and an appreciation for his many friends.
Lane, a 75-year-old resident at Austin Woods, 4780 Kirk Road, welcomed staff, fellow residents, and friends including his sister Wilda Lane, also a resident there - to his "Willie Lane's Starving Artist Party," on Friday, March 8 at the Austin Woods facility.
Lane's celebration of art and friendship was made possible through Crossroads Hospice "Gift of a Day" program. It brought together his caregivers at both Austin Woods, where Lane has made his home for seven years, and those of Crossroads, who joined him and several fellow residents for what Lane had said was his idea of a perfect day.
Photo by Kathleen Palumbo, Town Crier correspondent
Sharing a moment with his friend Chester, C. J. Johnson, a fellow artist and volunteer at Crossroads Hospice, Willie Lane enjoys his “Gift of a Day” surrounded by his friends at Austin Woods and Crossroads. Johnson assisted Lane and several fellow residents as they gathered to create art at Lane’s celebration.
According to Kate Davis of Crossroads Hospice, Lane had shared that a perfect day for him would include art, and "all of you," referring to his friends at both facilities.
"Willie has a very positive outlook," said Abbey Perhach, an aide at Crossroads, who assists Lane on regular weekly visits and has come to know him and his artwork closely. With Lane sharing that he has been an artist since a young age, Perhach added, "He uses everything.pencils, markers, crayons"
Every inch of Lane's room at Austin Woods serves as a gallery of sorts, his numerous sketches, paintings, and landscapes capturing the attention of visitors; his abstract scrapbooks at arm's length for browsing.
As a gift on his special day, Crossroads staff had one of Lane's favorite sketches matted and framed and presented it to him during his party. Lane explained the memory behind the sketch, saying it is a girl sitting on a stoop in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he moved after being born in Campbell. He recalled seeing her on his way to work every day.
The walls of Lane's room are a ceiling to floor testament to his passion for art, his smile; to his attitude towards life. No matter what he does, what he goes through, he's always so positive," said Chris Ford activity director at Austin Woods.