By MARGARET BLOHM
For the Times-Herald
DEARBORN — To celebrate National Poetry Month in April, Common Expressions, the creative writing group at Beaumont Commons, Dearborn, honored fellow writer, resident and centenarian Otherie Love at a special reception.
Love, who moved to the senior living community from the Chicago area nine years ago, was surprised with flowers and a certificate naming her Beaumont Commons poet laureate.
“Otherie has been so generous in sharing her beautiful poetry and essays with us,” said resident Beth Rager, another member of the creative writing group who penned special lyrics for Love that were sung and played to the tune of “Heart and Soul.” “She holds a special presence in our community, and it was important to honor her.”
Activities supervisor Shavon Baker explained that due to restrictions on the size of gatherings, not all residents were invited to attend but were well represented by members of Common Expressions, the program and activities committee, and the resident association executive committee.
Love, who celebrated her 100th birthday via Zoom in May 2020, was joined at the reception by her daughter Jeri Love. Last year, Jeri compiled a book of her mother’s poetry and essays and titled it “100 Years of Blessings.” During the celebration, Love read one of her poems from that book titled “Memories.”
Love is known throughout the Beaumont Commons community as an insatiable reader and life-long learner. Before the pandemic restrictions on activities, in addition to being a member of the creative writing group and Baker’s daily morning exercise group, Love also was a member of the book club, the arts and crafts group, and she led a weekly study about women in the Bible.
Raised in Chicago, Love received a bachelor of science degree in mathematics from Northwestern University in 1941. Her late husband, Samuel Love, brought her to Michigan, where they lived in the Conant Gardens neighborhood of Detroit for 47 years. While teaching in the Detroit Public Schools and raising two daughters, Love attended graduate school and earned a master of science in Mathematics in 1969 from the University of Detroit.
Love returned to the Chicago area following her husband’s death. At age 81, she went back to school to earn a certification in human services. It included an internship at an adult daycare program where she volunteered to create activities for adults in various stages of dementia.
Asked if she has any words of wisdom to share with others as she approaches her 101st birthday, Love agreed to share a poem she authored in 1997.
Love is Everywhere
By Otherie W. Love
Love is in kind words you say.
Love is in actions you do every day.
Love is in the affection you share.
Love is all around you; it’s everywhere.
It is lovers that embrace and kiss.
It is slipping into a world of bliss.
It is a mother holding a child dear.
It is a father proudly standing near.
It is sisters and brothers together forever.
It is families combining in an endeavor.
It is friends you can always treasure,
It’s understanding beyond measure.
It is reaching out to help those in need.
It is sharing time and doing a good deed.
Love is universal, it shows you care.
Love is all around you. It’s everywhere.