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Eleanor Chou brings Peace, Hope and then some to Friendship Village senior living community in Schaumburg. Literally. Eleanor’s four daughters, named Peace, Hope, Aurora, and Corona, and a son, Ming, joined her this summer in teaching residents at Friendship Village the ancient Chinese art of knotting. Eleanor’s mother, master knotter Feng Wu, was also part of the eight-week intergenerational effort.
A resident of Schaumburg and an active volunteer at a Chinese school in her neighboring town of Palatine, Eleanor approached Friendship Village (where her children have performed in musical presentations) some weeks ago about voluntarily introducing the art of knotting. “We’re lucky they were so open to it; I really appreciate them letting us do this,” said Eleanor, a native of Taiwan and owner of 19 patents in the semi-truck design and manufacturing industry. “It has opened a whole new world for us to work with seniors,” added Eleanor, whose mother, 80, and father, 88, live with her and her husband and five children.
“I love my parents dearly,” said the woman who appreciates and practices the Chinese philosophy of respecting and caring for the elderly. “Aging is a natural law, and how you live is up to you. My children have been amazed to see that people can manage their lives so elegantly and live this well. There are so many positive people at Friendship Village.”
Assuming that her American-born children would assist residents predominantly with language translation (Eleanor’s mother speaks limited English), she is pleased that they, too, learned how to knot in the experience. “Chinese knotting is very precise and requires detailed work and attention; you really need to learn the procedure step-by-step,” she said of the creative process that involved each resident partnering with a member of her family.
As for the finished products, said Eleanor, “They are quite beautiful, and the residents are so proud of them. Some have given them to family and friends for special occasions, and family members have also joined in on the knotting classes.”
A gifted ink pen artist, Eleanor is hoping to bring a Chinese art class to Friendship Village as well as a music program. “I feel so privileged to have been embraced by Friendship Village. There is a quality of life here that I haven’t seen elsewhere; it’s top-notch,” said Eleanor. “This has been a win-win situation for everyone - my family, the residents and their families. I look forward to all of us being together when my children are home from school again.”