Palms that matter

Published 2:34 pm Monday, December 24, 2018

For years, people have walked past a fascinating show of hands at the Lake Prince Woods retirement community.

Tied together by a ribbon that goes from the entrance of the assisted living area, through the health care wing and all the way to rehabilitation services, the Caring Hands of Lake Prince Woods leave quite an impression.

The piece consists of 92 sets of ceramic hands in either red, orange, yellow, green, blue or purple. Resident Harriette Laskin finished the display in 2012 to commemorate the community’s 10-year anniversary.

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Laskin has been a Lake Prince Woods resident since 2006, the same year she started teaching pottery classes at the Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts. She said she wanted to show her gratitude to all of the staff that made her experience at Lake Prince Woods so pleasant.

“I’ve enjoyed it thoroughly, and everybody has been friendly and helpful,” she said. “This is sort of me saying ‘thank you’ to all the staff.”

She said “thanks” by getting xeroxed copies of staff members’ hands. Physical therapists, nurses, maintenance workers, dining staff and others contributed each of their mitts to the project.

Laskin, who has more than 45 years of pottery experience, made smooth, glazed ceramics of the impressions. She also added a unique snowflake to each set of hands.

“If you look at every single one of them, you will not find a snowflake that’s the same or is on the same (part of the hand),” she said.

That’s because each person represented on the walls is like a snowflake, she said, and all of those unique works of art are tied together by a painted ribbon that periodically loops into the shape of a heart.

Executive Director Judy Raymond recalled when Laskin finished the project and how it’s been an appealing part of the décor ever since. It also carries weight in its meaning.

“In health care, everything you do is with your hands,” Raymond said. “You can’t replace that.”

Associate Executive Director Kimberly Searcy said that the hands represent the diverse team that’s kept this building together for so many years.

“To me, that wall means dedication,” she said.

Laskin agrees that the Lake Prince Woods team is a treasure. That’s part of the reason why she wanted the different hands to come together like a “rainbow” of colors, because these people are “golden,” she said.

“The idea with a rainbow is that so many different colors combine to make a pot of gold,” she said, which is how she sees the staff of Lake Prince Woods, as “a group that’s really helpful.”