Kane senior citizens take sub-zero temperature in stride

Photo by Ted Lutz — Joyce Reinard, left, and Jeff Kasaback, right, piece together a jigsaw puzzle while enjoying the camaraderie at the Kane Senior Center on another cold winter day.
Ted Lutz
Staff Writer

With sub-zero temperatures and bone-chilling wind gusts prevalent this week, the Kane area at times resembled a ghost town.
This record-setting “cold snap” may cause mental anguish for some Kane area residents who don’t venture from their toasty warm homes.
But the hardy souls who are members of the Kane Senior Center take the frigid weather in stride.
“I can’t ever remembering having a day off school for snow or cold temperatures,” Jeff Kasaback, 66, of Kane said while piecing together a jigsaw puzzle on a table in the senior center.
“I walked a mile to school in Ludlow,” he said. “We’d even ran home for lunch. We never worried about the weather.”
Kasaback is a 1971 graduate of Kane Area High School. He attended school when “snow days” weren’t in the vocabulary in the local school district. 
Times have changed. Kane schools closed twice this week due to sub-zero temperatures and a “wind chill” factor of minus-35. Kane already has three “snow days” to make up in the next four months.
Older local residents who attend the Kane Senior Center daily don’t allow cold weather to change their lifestyles.
“You just adjust to the conditions,” Grace Yasurek, 63, of Kane said while enjoying another day of camaraderie at the senior center. “Just bundle up with layers of clothing.”
Beth Lenaway is about to begin her eighth year as the director of the Kane Senior Center at 100 Fraley St. in Uptown Kane.
She said the center never closes due to weather conditions.
“For some people, this is where they get their only daily hot meal and companionship,” Lenaway said. 
Kane has one of 14 senior centers in a three-county area. The Kane Senior Center is one of the busiest in the region.
Nearly 240 seniors are registered at the Kane center and many come in daily for a hot lunch. 
Despite brutally cold temperatures Wednesday, 31 local residents ate lunch at the Kane Senior Center. A total of 35 signed up for lunch Thursday. Another 40 dined Friday at the center.
Seniors who wish to eat lunch at the center must call 837-6981 by 12:30 p.m. the day before to register.
Joyce Reinard of Kane, who will observe her 85th birthday in a couple of weeks, said she was born at her home in Ludlow in 1934 on a day when temperatures were well below zero.
“My mother told me she pulled the bed next to the pot-belly stove,” Reinard said. She said the local doctor wasn’t present when she was born.
“My father caught me in his hands,” she said.
Yasurek said, “the weather really doesn’t me.”
“If it was cold like this all the time, I’d buy a snowmobile suit,” she said.
Judy Houser, 70, of Kane said she doesn’t “worry” about cold weather because “it’s in God’s hands, not mine.”
She believes it could be “a lot worse” if she had to live in the Arctic.
“I’d have to adjust to living in an igloo,” Houser joked. “I do a lot of baking. I’d melt my house.”