“Life Isn’t About Waiting for The Storm to Pass, It’s About Learning to Dance in the Rain”
After meeting Bernadette (Bernie) Maturo for the first time, I remembered this quote – “Life Isn’t About Waiting for The Storm to Pass, It’s About Learning to Dance in the Rain.” Bernie approaches life with tremendous energy and positivity.
Bernie was a teenager when her mom told her that her father was very sick and did not have long to live. After her dad passed at the age of 45, Bernie’s mom found strength in living life to the fullest. Her mom would surround herself with friends, she traveled, and joined groups. She taught Bernie and her 4 teenage siblings that although she misses their dad terribly, you still have to live life. In 2008, at the age of 48, Bernie became a widow herself. She remembered how strong her mom was and she vowed to move on just like her mom did. Using her skills as a Human Resources executive, she knew that she had something powerful to share with other widows.
She joined a bereavement group and met a whole bunch of people. But she felt that there was more to this process and more to life than bereavement. After meeting a couple of women who felt the same way, she knew she had to create a group in her community. Bernie says, “Someone needed to help women after the fact to pick up their big gal panties and move on!” She went to the Middletown Library to ask them for space to meet with her group and they gladly agreed. She advertised on the library’s calendar and the group was started. She now has 90 members.
In 2013, she formed the group and called it WINGS (Widows Inspiring New Growth and Strength). They meet monthly at the library. She brings in guest speakers, she holds social events, and organizes the group to do volunteer work. The group volunteers at Soul Kitchen and Holiday Express, to name a few, giving them the opportunity to give back and realize all they have a lot to be grateful for and many reasons to move on.
If you are interested in the WINGS group, reach out to Bernie at Bmaturo217@gmail.com.
Just For Fun:
Q: How long have you lived or worked in Middletown?
A: “I have been in Middletown for 35 years. Direct hop from Brooklyn.”
Q: What inspired you or led you to your current career?
A: “The ability to help people and guide them in career places they may not have been able to see clearly. I’ve been in Human Resources for 39 years. And I’ve been running my WINGS program for 7 years.”
Q: What are one or two characteristics that you have that have made you successful in your career?
A: “Personality and sense of humor”
Q: What is your favorite local restaurant, and what do you love there?
A: “Assaggini de Roma (Hazlet); Patricias of Holmdel; these places are very open and kind in dealing with my WINGS (Widows Inspiring New Growth & Strength) Group. Very accommodating, working with you and make you feel like you are the only group there.
Bertucci’s was another favorite, which is no longer there; the Manager Chris Clyne was the best, may he rest in peace (11/19)”
Q: Who is the most interesting person you have met?
A: “While volunteering with Soul Kitchen in the Employment Empowerment Group, I had the opportunity to work with, and be in the company of Dorothea Bon Jovi a number of times. She is smart and a very down to earth lady. I admire her ability to stay grounded and be married to Jon all these years with their fame and famous life they lead.”
Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world right now, where would it be? And why?
A: “Aruba; I hear it’s a beautiful place, not a lot of rain; no humidity .. and sunshine.”
Q: What is your favorite movie?
A: “Recently saw the movie POMPs with my WINGS group; it was a very inspiring movie and something I could see myself doing some day!”
Q: What advice would you give a crowd of people?
A: “Live for today; do not worry or argue with anyone about “what if” and things that have not happened yet! Enjoy your life; #2 say hello to at least 3 new people a day! You never know who you will meet and how much that “hello” will mean to someone.”
Q : What is your favorite music/ bands?
A: “I enjoy the local bands; Tim McCloons groups and many of the local bands we see during the summer (the NERDS, Lisa Sherman (disco), Clam Diggers) to name a few.”
Q: What current / former local business makes you the most nostalgic about Middletown?
A: “Hole Lot of Bagels is a great place; people there are friendly”
Q: What is your favorite thing or something unique about Middletown?
A: “I love the safeness I feel in Middletown; when I moved here 35 years ago, it was the 1st safest municipality in the US. We are still in the top 5.. And that, is important when you are living alone. The closeness to beaches is my 2nd favorite thing about living in Middletown.”
Q: Where do you see yourself in 5 or 10 years?
A: “In 5 years I hope to still be working and running my WINGS group; in 10 years, I hope to be retired and using some of my time to help other widows and maybe form a widow’s travel group, who knows! But definitely NOT married lol. One and done is my motto!”
Q: What is something interesting that most people don’t know about you?
A: “I was going to be a nun! Yes, a nun. I went to catholic school for 12 years, and truly enjoyed the experience and ability to help others. I went on a cruise, and that thought went right out the window!”
Q: What 3 words or phrases come to mind when you think of the word HOME?
A: “Family, Food and Hugs”
Q: What else should people know about you?
A: “I am the 2nd of 5 children; as mom said, I was bossy at 5 years of age, and have never stopped giving orders and always trying to help others.”