HERMISTON - Rose Arbor Assisted Living residents were transported back to the past as they colored 30 dozen Easter eggs Wednesday afternoon.

Many couldn't remember just how long it had been since they'd colored eggs, but Louisa Simmonds and Emme Wilson could.

Wilson helped her granddaughter and her two children in Hillsboro last year color their Easter eggs.

"Boy did we have fun," she said.

Simmonds helped color eggs last year at Rose Arbor for the residents. This year she was excited, because the eggs were going to a community service project in Boardman.

"I wish we could do more for the community," Simmonds said. "I want (to do) things we can all do here."

Peggy Hirte-Ulhorn, the activity director of Rose Arbor, looks for projects that help the residents in a variety of ways, including socializing, tolerance, working with their hands, leisure activity and intergenerational socialization. The egg coloring project fits very well into all of those categories.

"The biggest thing, though is the contribution to the community. For many that is helping kids in the communities," Hirte-Ulhorn said. "This is an opportunity to give back."

Hirte-Ulhorn set the project up on the back lawn of the facility in the bright, warm afternoon sun. Her two children, 4-year-old Abigail and 7-year-old Alex, helped the senior residents color eggs.

Some of the residents came out to help for the first time. Bill Scarlet was one of those residents.

"Well I'll tell you, they came in and pulled me out here," Scarlet joked.

But once he got started coloring the eggs, he was happy to have help from Abigail.

"See I have a helper," he said. "I like helping with kids."

The nine residents, senior volunteer companion Gertie Heathman and the two children colored the eggs in less than an hour. The colors weren't dark enough for some, so they created a few new colors and intensified colors by adding more dye and mixing colors together.

Simmonds and Hirte-Ulhorn mixed colors and came up with a rich brown that "looks just like chocolate," Simmonds said.

The eggs went to Boardman Friday to be hidden with 150 dozen more dyed by other service groups, community members and volunteers for the 59th Tillicum Easter Egg hunt at the Boardman City Park.


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