By Pat King, Wesley Homes Des Moines resident
Four years ago, after moving to Wesley Homes Des Moines, Anne Hartley showed up at a choir rehearsal at the local United Methodist Church and told the music director, “I play the flute.”
“Play through this rehearsal. Read the soprano line,” he replied. She did, and he was amazed and immediately said, “You’re hired.”
“It was fun,” Anne said, the kind of fun she has had all her life as a flautist. When other little girls were cutting out paper dolls and reading “The Bobbsey Twins,” Anne was learning to love classical music, especially Mozart and Bach. She was nine when she began to learn to play the flute by joining in a neighborhood band.
At the University of Washington, she played the piccolo in the marching band. “The difference between playing the piccolo and the flute,” said Anne as she made a funny face, “is the way you hold your lips and tongue.”
Anne was married in Tacoma to Hugh Kneip. She has three sons, Dennis, Bryan and David, five grandchildren and two great grandchildren. Residents at Wesley Homes know her for her ensemble performances with fellow residents Becca DeShaw, also a flautist, and Roberta Needles, a violinist. The trio calls themselves “A Joyful Noise.” Anne, sometimes a soloist, says that playing with others or to a piano accompaniment is her favorite. Her favorite scripture is Psalm 100:1 – Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands.
There is another side to Anne. She considers herself a “Resourceress” because she helps people get what they need, such as information, a contact or a hug.
Anne suffers from a condition known as Brain Fog or Fibro Fog. It’s a commonly used phrase that sums up feelings of confusion, forgetfulness and lack of focus and mental clarity, which can be frustrating and frightening. To deal with this, Anne prints weekly calendars on her computer. She notes all the activities she needs to do to manage her self-care.
A typical morning reads: get up, get dressed, open library, and eat a balanced breakfast of flax seed meal, prunes, soy milk, oatmeal and seasonings in a Papa Bear-sized bowl. Anne’s calendar includes rest and meditation for an hour and a half each afternoon. There’s a graphic on her apartment door that reads “Resting. Come back later.” Without the calendar, Anne’s life gets tough: life and time could dither away. With her calendar, there’s time to practice the flute, read and do puzzles.
Brain Fog also affects muscles so the calendar shows time for appropriate exercise, such as seated Pilates, yoga or Nordic walking. One of Anne’s curious end-of-the-day calendar notations says “GraTitudes.” Anne makes time to be grateful: for humming birds, the park outside her window, encounters with friends and more.