A lot is said today about living in the “moment” or looking forward to the future but walking down memory lane and reliving pleasant and happy times can be quite a comforting activity for residents. We have a lot of fun looking back at those ‘good old days.’
Spending time in the lobby among good friends is our equivalent of sitting on the front porch swing on a warm summer afternoon watching life on the street where we live. We discuss how we used to hang sheets on the line outside to dry and how sleeping on those sheets was one of the best things ever. We laugh when I share how my Mom never hung our underwear outside because she didn’t want the neighbors to see our “gutchies.” The discussion includes laundry being done on Mondays, cleaning house and shopping were done on other certain days, and how no work was done on Sundays except making dinner for the family coming to visit after church. We remember when the stores were closed on Sundays which leads the conversation to which store was better, Penn Traffic or Glossers? We then talk about grocery shopping and the old prices of food versus today which leads to Green Stamps, licking the stamps and saving up books until you had enough to go the Green Stamp Store to get a new toaster or iron…which leads to more and more memories.
The residents share how they met their spouses. One resident said she met her husband roller skating and one said her husband was a boy from the neighborhood. Another met her husband when she was walking down the street and he and some of his friends pulled up in a car and asked her to take a ride with him. She didn’t go on that ride but she married him weeks later and their union lasted over 60 years. Another resident shares how she and her new husband went to Ohio on their honeymoon to visit his sister and the look on her face as she tells the story let’s you know it was not her idea of a honeymoon…which leads to lots of laughter.
The discussion sometimes turns to where we have traveled and where we worked. One of us sold shoes downtown, another was a secretary in Manhattan, another was a waitress, one was in the Navy in her younger days, another had upholstered furniture, one ran a local store, and another worked at her Uncle’s hotel in Atlantic City. We worked hard, took care of houses and husbands, and raised children.
But now we are retired and a little “tired” but we are still full of life and memories and we are happy to share them if you stop by during a lobby activity and decide to pull up a chair and listen. – lh
Contributor: Lu Anne Haynal is an Activity Aide at Arbutus