Celebrating 100 years at Highlands House called for a party!
A s 2016 drew to a close, residents marked the birthday celebrations with a Roaring ‘20s party that was as glamorous as the original flappers themselves. Various events were arranged throughout the year including a gala dinner at Kirstenbosch Gardens and a book launch of The History of Highlands House. However, when it was time for the residents to celebrate, what better theme than the 1920s?
In the build up to the big event the activity programme was dedicated to the Roaring ‘20s and residents attended talks about events, fashions and traditions from that era. This period in America was a time of speakeasies, jazz music, flapper dresses and the book The Great Gatsby. Residents became Highland’s honoured guests to the party and received beautifully designed save-the-dates and invitations. Then the planning of outfits started in earnest with the making of long beaded necklaces and feather headbands. Some residents hired outfits, while others were creative in putting items together from their closets. One resident managed to get a dress which belonged to a late aunt who had worn it in the 1920s.
The long awaited event arrived on a beautiful summer’s evening. The garden courtyard had been transformed into a gorgeous period venue with a stretch tent covering a very Great Gatsby-like fountain and gazebo. Residents walked along the red carpets in their glamorous outfits and found their seats at tables decorated with pearl necklaces and gladioli flowers. The mood was set with the sounds of the Hout Bay Music Project, an NPO that trains underprivileged children in musical theory and instruments.
After enjoying a delicious buffet, residents took to the black and white dance floor and danced the night away. Some couples, who had undoubtedly danced together all their lives, showed their skills as they waltzed together. Others didn’t let their walking aids stop them from having a good time and were on the dance floor, walker and all. Staff and performers joined in and soon everyone was dancing to the sounds of the ‘golden age of jazz’. The evening was a huge success and continues to be the topic of conversation around the home. Perhaps the party was one that Jay Gatsby himself might have enjoyed attending. Naomi Meyer is the Senior Occupational Therapist at Highlands House. She has worked at the home for 8 years and finished her Masters degree in Gerontology in 2016.