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It was a beautiful summer day when Nancy Schaub and her beloved husband moved into Highgrove at Tates Creek, a senior community providing personal living support for successful aging. The experience changed her life and gave her a colorful experience in later living.
Nancy was born in Cleveland, Ohio, and received her education at Miami University in Oxford. She has a large family including two older sisters and a younger brother. After she married, Nancy, her husband, and their six children moved to Lexington.
Nancy loves travelling. Besides working as a homemaker, she has experience working as a travel agent. She talks about finishing a 9,000 miles road trip on the west coast with her best friends. The experience helped make her who she is, a person with enthusiasm for life.
Challenges came into Nancy’s life when her husband was diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a disease that required him to be on oxygen most of the time. Nancy’s husband gradually became less active and in need of care. Caring for him limited Nancy’s social life. She started to look for a place that would be suitable for her and for her husband to regain and enjoy a social life. After comparing six facilities in Lexington, they decided to move into a place they thought they would be both safe and comfortable. They moved to Highgrove on July 1st, 2017. In the first few months in Highgrove, Nancy found out that the services provided enabled her to easily take care her husband and fulfill her need to be with him most of the time but at the same time also enjoy a social life with other residents. For example, Nancy could have dinner with her friends downstairs, and bring her husband’s dinner back up to the room. Also, Nancy could order breakfast and the staff would bring the breakfast upstairs to their room. Those type of things were really helpful to Nancy and her husband’s quality of life as they grew older.
Life is full of obstacles. At the end of September, Nancy’s husband’s condition became much worse. He moved into hospital and after eleven days passed away. This was a tremendous shock for Nancy. At this turning point, Highgrove provided important support. According to Nancy, “For me, it was sort of a blessing that I was here, because the transition is much simpler. Having friends here, and not having a house to go home to. You know, an empty house and that type of thing.” In this difficult time, people in Highgrove were very supportive to Nancy to overcome her sorrow and loneliness.
Nancy learned to live a normal life without being too lonely after her husband passed away. Fortunately, Highgrove is a place full of choices and diversity. Residents have access to many facilities such as a spa, gym, library, movie theater, recreation area, lounge with drinks, and even a beauty shop, which is very helpful for older people to maintain a rich life. Transportation is not a problem either as it is provided for residents in Highgrove. Nancy enjoys dining with friends at a local restaurant once a week and can complete her grocery shopping in different places as a result of the transportation offered by Highgrove. Although Nancy has back and hip problems that make it inconvenient to walk without a walker or cane, the environmental design and services provided at Highgrove help a lot and provide her opportunities to participate in activities such as table games, arts and crafts and even cooking lessons.
In her year and a half of experience living in Highgrove, Nancy uses one sentence to express her thankfulness, “It’s been a blessing with me being here.” Nancy currently enjoys her life in Highgrove and she enjoys the company of her family visitors, the staff, and friends in Highgrove.
Aging inevitably brings difficulties to everyone including Nancy. Fortunately, living in Highgrove gives her a chance to reinvent and to redecorate her life and live with love, care, and dignity. There is no better place than home, and Highgrove at Tates Creek is home to everyone.
By Kerry Churchill
Both personally and professionally, Highgrove resident Anne Cooper approaches the highs and lows of life with a sense of humor and spirit of adventure. Anne grew up in the small town of Cynthiana, Kentucky, during the depression. She chuckled and stated that seeing several movies romanticizing nurses with their crisp white uniforms and caps sparked her interest. She also remembers being inspired by the adage “enjoy what you are doing so much you would do it for free.”
After high school Anne attended and graduated from the Good Samaritan Hospital diploma nursing program. She went on to work in the emergency room at Saint Joseph Hospital. Then Anne returned to Good Samaritan, where she spent many years in psychiatry. She loved the fast pace and helping people. “The mind is so interesting” she said, “I still never tire of learning new things.”
In addition to being a nurse, Anne married and raised a family. Anne has two children and three grandchildren. Her daughter (who is also a nurse), son-in-law, and granddaughter are nearby. Her other children and grandchildren reside in Missouri and Oregon.
Anne has lived in various states over the years, including South Carolina, Virginia, and Florida. She also lived in England for about a year when her then-husband was there for school. The village was 40 minutes from London, and their home had a thatched roof. She smiled wryly when recalling the Esse Fair stove that used coke fuel. “I felt like a real old-fashioned woman, taking the coke and throwing it outside,” she said. Despite her efforts — “it was often so cold—I dressed for bed like I was going skiing!”
When she later lived in Florida, she enjoyed the warmer weather. There she also worked as a nurse, moonlighting at a local hospital as well as teaching nursing students. Again she reiterated, “I always felt good being a nurse.” About few months ago, Anne moved to Highgrove at Tates Creek to be closer to her daughter.
What She Loves About Highgrove
Anne is quick to speak of her love for her new home at Highgrove. Her spacious apartment has ample natural light from several large windows. She is patiently watching for her large Christmas cactus in front of one of the windows to bloom—bright pink. Festive holiday decorations, including a tall slim shimmering Christmas tree and a small dancing Santa figurine are items from her previous home.
Anne’s hometown pride is further evidenced by a large framed photograph and article commemorating the stately historic ‘Monticello’ near her front door. “My daughter and I had lunch there once. It was so beautiful with fancy imported wallpaper and such,” she says. She went on with a twinkle in her eye, “my daughter and I were going to buy the house …. with what money I don’t know.” The historic house sadly burned down due to arson, she said, “I’m glad my daughter managed to buy two of the bricks.”
While Anne maintains her independence in many areas, she is thankful that caring staff are available as needed. Anne shows off the button bracelet on her wrist. “I can push this button and someone comes to help right away.” Activities such as getting in and out of the shower and getting ready for bed are safer and easier now, she says. As a nurse, safety is important to her, plus she knows it is peace of mind for her family.
Housekeeping and meals are included in the rent, Anne says. She describes the food as very good. She likes choosing whatever she is hungry for. She also appreciates the choice of eating in the dining area, or having her meal brought to her apartment.
Dealing with Challenges of Aging
Even with the challenges of getting older, Anne says she feels blessed. She has more difficulty seeing and hearing, and needs a walker to get around now. Still, Anne aims to focus on the positive. She is grateful for ongoing friendships–many of them nurses–and for her family.
While she stated her vision and hearing make some conversations more difficult, she chuckled when describing meeting a new friend in the community who also grew up in Cynthiana. “We have enjoyed chatting quite a lot—it’s a small world!”
Along this same note, she and I agree—it’s a small world—and a lot of fun—when nurses meet. I look forward to visiting again with my new friend!
By Amy M. Schuster
In the cinema room at Highgrove, within earshot of fellow residents socializing, Barbara Mabry shared about her decision to reside at High Grove. Barbara explained that as she started to need additional assistance, she did not want to depend on her children or grandchildren. So, she and her husband, Charlton, decided to move to a community that would be there to support them. While the initial reason to move to High Grove was for support, since joining the community, Barbara continues to pursue her life-long passions.
Barbara was “born feeling part of nature,” and gardening has been an important way in which she connects with nature. When she moved to High Grove, she offered to build a perineal garden outside the building entrance and was met with encouragement by the community. On warm days, she can be seen out in the garden weeding and tending to the land. She explained that she loves feeling the dirt in her fingers and is happy knowing that others enjoy seeing the beautiful flowers because she wants to “leave this place better than she found it.” The theme of nature is also found in her poetry. From an early age, Barbara said matter of factly, “I just had a lot to say. I was very observant. Still am.” She published her first poem at 8 years old and to date, she has published three books of poetry.
Her love of poetry led her to become an educator and as she said while smiling, “she taught literature and loved what she did.” As an educator, she was able to mentor students and help guide them into something they could succeed in for the rest of their life. She proudly shared an example of a time in Kroger when a student from many years prior touched her elbow and said “Mrs. Mabry do you remember me? I want to tell you one more time that I would not be where I am not if it were not for you.” Although she has retired from academia, she continues to share her knowledge and emphasized, “the reason I’m happy here is because of the people who take care of us.” She likes to get to know the people that work at High Grove and takes an interest in what is going on in their lives. Not only does she feel appreciated by the relationships, but she also likes to be a part of helping shape their futures. As Barbara finished sharing about her decision to move to High Grove, another resident popped their head into the cinema room to say “hello” and I realized that living at High Grove was more than just providing assistance as one gets older, it is a community that encourages residents to connect and continue their life-long passions.
By Payton Malone
Frank Lewis was born and raised with his twin brother in Broad Ripple, Indiana. After completing his undergraduate degree at Indiana University, Frank continued his education for an additional three years at Maurer School of Law in Bloomington, Indiana. Frank was admitted to the bar in 1965 when he began his career working as a deputy for John J. Dillon, the Attorney General of Indiana. During this time, Frank gained a great deal of courtroom experience as he tried eminent domain cases before a jury. In 1967, he began working for Public Service Indiana. Frank practiced there for fifty-one years, focusing on corporate law, litigation, and finance. After leaving Public Service Indiana in 1994, Frank was asked to serve as a consultant to the company and continued to fulfill this role through 2017.
In addition to Frank’s impressive law career, he has a memorable family life as well. Frank has two children, a fifty-one year old daughter and a forty-eight year old son. Frank fondly recalls his membership in the Foolish Fathers Club that brought together fifty fathers and their children for monthly outings throughout the Indianapolis area. These group outings became memories Frank will cherish forever. Frank laughed as he remembered telling his children to never curse and should they become upset to say, “Son of a gun, biscuit bum, dot-dash-semicolon!” Just the other month, his daughter said this very phrase, bringing back great memories for Frank and giving him an opportunity to reflect on the wonderful children he helped to raise.
After being divorced for three years, Frank took a leap of faith and drove to Lexington, Kentucky for a blind date with Susan Chestnut in the spring of 1995. Frank quickly fell in love with Susan, leading to their marriage in the spring of 1999. It did not take long for Frank to fall in love with the city of Lexington, as well. He recalls being swept away by the beauty of Keeneland Racecourse and the charm of their long-time neighborhood in Lexington. This neighborhood boasts two of Frank’s favorite restaurants, Suggin’s Bar and Grill, a staple in the community since 1984, and Tulip Bar and Bistro, a newer restaurant owned by the same family. On one occasion, Frank’s peripheral neuropathy caused him to lose control of his right foot and drive his car into Tulip Bar and Bistro. Thankfully, no one was injured in the accident. While, years later, Susan and Frank can laugh about this terrifying moment, it did lead Frank to the decision that he should no longer be driving. However, driving is an activity Frank does not miss, stating, “Anyone who has experienced the traffic in Lexington would understand why!”
In 2017, Frank’s life in Lexington took a sharp turn for the worse when a severe post-operative infection following spinal fusion surgery left him a paraplegic. Shortly after being hospitalized for this infection, Frank moved to Highgrove at Tates Creek, where he began work to regain lower leg function. Frank credits much of his improvement to the physical and occupational therapists at Highgrove who have supported him along this journey. In fact, just today, Frank was able to achieve a new goal of moving from his wheelchair to his recliner without assistance. With continued support and encouragement from the Highgrove staff, Frank is confident that he will one day walk again.
As Highgrove continues to make a positive impact on Frank’s life, Frank is using his new position as President of the Resident Council to improve the lives of his fellow residents. From working with staff to address resident concerns to mediating discussions between the residents, Frank is using the skills obtained during his law career to benefit the Highgrove community. While Frank is lucky to have the staff at Highgrove, Highgrove is also blessed to have him as a resident. Frank’s positive demeanor, willingness to take on new challenges, and ability to brighten the day of others with his humor make Frank Lewis a role model to many in the Highgrove and Lexington community.
By Lauren Skidmore
“My life maybe wasn’t exactly what I wanted to be,” Mrs. Doris Hendeles said at the beginning of our conversation, “but life is not totally easy. It just happens.” It was very clear that there was a common theme around Doris’s life, a passion if you will, that was able to overshadow the just-happens-ness of life: the importance of education.
Doris was the youngest in her family. Beginning at the age of 5, due to her parents’ divorce, Doris was raised by her aunt. She had wonderful teachers and principals throughout her grade school and high school years who helped and encouraged her. She lived with her aunt until she went off to college- and that’s when life just happened.
During her sophomore year, Doris’s aunt fell ill. Cancer. After all that her aunt had done for her, Doris felt like it was her turn to provide. She dropped out of school. She researched the best cancer fighting institutions in the country, which happened to be a hospital in Texas, as she recalled. She began to search for a job that would allow for her to pay for her aunt to be treated there. With two years of higher education under her belt, Doris didn’t have to look for work for long. She found a very good paying job with a company (now long since dissolved) in Ashland, Kentucky. However, she had a sense that she had left things unfinished, that she was giving up something of great importance.
While working, one of her coworkers insisted that Doris meet her brother. Boys were the every last thing on her mind with everything else going on. Doris married that brother. They had two girls, Abby and Amy. While working, Doris found out that the medications and treatments weren’t working to cure her aunt. Her aunt passed away. All the while, she put money away in case she had the opportunity to go back to school. She encouraged her husband to go to college, but it didn’t spark the same interest as it did for her in him. He worked for his college-educated brother’s business. If her brother in law hadn’t had the education or the business, Doris didn’t know how her family would have survived. Doris continued to work as well because working meant she could apply herself, and that feeling meant the world to her.
It turned out that all that working and all that saving paid off, at least in Doris’s eyes, when Abby and Amy graduated from college themselves. All their lives, Doris had encouraged her daughters to do what she hadn’t and go as far as they could in their educational pursuits. The day they graduated brought her a sense of relief and peace. Amy married and had two sons, who are both college graduates. Abby hasn’t married yet, but has fulfilled herself and succeeded on her own- which Doris attributes all to the college experience and education.
The drive to learn has all but disappeared for Mrs. Doris Hendeles. “I wish I was still able to advance,” she said of her continued ambition at the ripe young age of 86. “I’ve learned, I can do, and I can help.”
November 14, 2018
When you think about a traditional “assisted living” location, it is easy to miss the smallest detail that may mean the most to the people who call it home. Highgrove at Tates Creek encourages their residents to maintain their independence, keep their mind sharp and their body in shape. For this wonderful opportunity, I chose to interview Margie Stopher, whom most people call “Nana.” I met Miss Margie years ago, but I had not seen her since she moved to Highgrove about four months ago. What I realized once I got there was that Highgrove was more than just a traditional facility that houses people who can no longer be on their own, it was a place that offered independence and various activities for everyone. Margie had such a vision of independence while she was showing me around and I could tell she was so proud to be a resident of Highgrove.
I started off my interview by asking her about her job at Dillard’s, where I first met her years ago. Margie said that she loved working there and she loved the people. Her favorite holiday was Christmas because she could sell the men buying for their wives anything and everything! She said that she loved working in cosmetics and still misses it. After a serious car accident in 2012 and an extended hospital stay, she was unable to continue her work at Dillard’s.
I was interested at how she has stayed mentally and physically fit. When I asked her about how daily life was at Highgrove and what she loved about it, she said, “It’s great, I love it here, they don’t take away my independence and they truly care about me.” She loves to mingle with people and it has helped her make many friends. She said her favorite time is happy hour because everyone gets to relax and just talk to each other. To stay physically fit, she also participates in daily yoga or exercise at the gym. She says, “I can’t do a lot, but I try to do something every day.” Margie also mentioned that “field trips” to various establishments helped her to maintain her independence and challenge her mentally and physically.
I wondered what it was like getting older for Margie. It was interesting to me to see her view on life because she comes from a different generation. When I asked her what the best part of getting older was, she said having a new outlook, a better sense of humor, and still being able to go different places. When I asked her what the worst part was, her answer was “nothing.” She went on to explain that while yes, she knows she can’t do all the things she used to do like working in cosmetics or traveling with her late husband, she has lived a wonderful life and she is content with getting older.
To conclude the interview, I asked Margie to tell me about someone special to her at Highgrove. She said someone very special to her was Davonna (Saier). She said that Davonna was always so sweet and would always listen if she had a problem or just wanted to talk.
The smallest details that might be overlooked elsewhere mean so much to the people at Highgrove. It is encouraging to see a place that not only encourages their residents to keep their independence, but to continue to improve their mind and body health. Highgrove at Tates Creek is much more than a traditional “assisted living” facility, it is home.
By Caroline Ackerman for Highgrove at Tates Creek
Wanda Brown was not born as Wanda Brown. Well, at least not if you ask her 1940 birth certificate, on which her mother’s lilting Arkansas accent (the same accent that Wanda carries today, turning “washing” to “warshing” and everyday furniture to “a Chester drawers”) caused a
delivery nurse to mark the baby’s name as “Wander.” It was a prescient sign of the slightly unpredictable, but beautifully vibrant life to come.
After her parents’ divorce at age four, Wanda moved in with her grandparents George and Laura at a cozy house five miles from the center of Little Rock, in an area fittingly named Sweet Home. The house, surrounded by bauxite quarries and sweeping views, served as home base throughout Wanda’s childhood adventures that she took on with her older brother Don by her side.
When Don was fourteen, he started a paper route, and Wanda found herself with a newfound independence. She began seeking a job of her own, working for local savings and loans and real estate companies, roles that fed her extroversion and allowed her to meet new, exciting people every day. Around sixteen, she began working for a dry cleaning company in town. Wanda didn’t have her own car, and so at the end of each shift she sat against a sparkling picture window, waiting for her aunt to pick her up. It was there that she first saw a blue 55’ Ford drive by, revving its engine.
A few months later, Wanda and a few friends were at a drive-in restaurant when that same Ford pulled in. “And I looked at my girlfriends, and I just said, ‘Ohhhh, it’s him! There’s that boy who drives that blue Ford!’” she squeals, remembering. Daniel Brown was that boy in that
Ford, a blue-eyed, dark haired Little Rock native who Wanda says she’d had her eye on for some time. That afternoon, Wanda found herself riding shotgun in his car, and four months later, she walked down the aisle at the tender age of seventeen to say, “I Do.”
Wanda and Daniel were passionate, sometimes to the point of volatility. They divorced shortly into the marriage, both young, but she knew all along, Wanda says, that she would find her way back to Daniel. They had the divorce annulled after less than a year, and moved to a Louisiana Air Force base. They stayed there for ten months, before returning to Little Rock. There were days in which they lived on pork and beans, but Wanda didn’t mind too much — “You can live on love if you have to, I suppose,” she muses.
In 1967, Wanda gave birth to her only child, a daughter she named Teresa after one of her favorite singers, Teresa Brewer. The young parents were enchanted, Wanda marveling over how sweet and calm her baby was. When Teresa was a year and a half old, Wanda started working again, taking up her old job with a local bank. She and Daniel continued to love each other deeply, and challenge each other just as tenaciously, as Teresa went to high school, then college, and eventually moved to Lexington, Kentucky, leaving Daniel and Wanda with an empty nest in
In the mid-2000s, the Browns moved to join their daughter and the family she had built. Here, Wanda filled her days with family. She has four energetic grandchildren, aged nine to twenty-two, each with a bit of her sass and her outrageous sense of humor. She and Daniel lived
in a sweet ranch-style house five minutes from their family, exploring their new world of Kentucky together until his passing in November, 2017.
Nearly a year later, Wanda found a new home. It’s not Little Rock, but it has the community, the people, and conversation that Wanda thrives on. At Highgrove, Wanda need only step over her threshold to feel a sense of the social butterfly that she was as a teenager, her nature as an extrovert nourished and fed. Moving has not been without its challenges— she misses her home, and the independence it symbolized, the freedom to drive where she wanted when she wanted, and the adventures that freedom promised. She misses her own memories, of Daniel and the rest of her amazing life, memories she fears will slip away in time, memories she is so eager to preserve. In the midst of it all, Highgrove has given Wanda the community that she craves, and for that she is grateful.
Alex Russell Strein
Maxine McGuire and her dog, Gracie, are two of the newest residents at Highgrove at Tates Creek. Living on the third floor, they have been working hard to adjust to making their new apartment home. I had the pleasure of meeting them both on November 8, 2018. Maxine did admit she was a bit nervous for her first ever interview, but we managed to have a wonderful evening getting to know each other.
Maxine grew up in Owensboro, Kentucky. She lived in town, but she had plenty of room to grow and play. She expressed great joy when looking back at her younger years. After high school, Maxine moved to Bowling Green to attend Western Kentucky University and study Elementary Education. She enjoyed her classes and experiences there, but she is most grateful to have met her husband, Don, on the hilltop.
As it turns out, Mr. Don McGuire was quite the celebrity. He was a member of the hit music group, The Hilltoppers. While Don toured, she stayed home in Owensboro with their three children. She said it was hard, but they lived near her parents and they were able to help her with child care and maintaining the household. I asked her what it was like being married to a celebrity, “We didn’t pay any attention to it!” she said. Their love and their children were much more important than the glitz and glamor. Maxine insisted that she said she was always a bit shy, and preferred to let Don “shine”. She spoke so kindly of him and her eyes lit up with each mention. She was so proud of his musical career, and the life they built together. Unfortunately, Don passed in September of this year. “He was the best person I ever knew,” she said lovingly. They had been married for 65 years.
When I asked her what problems she had with aging, she only mentioned missing Don. She kept saying that she wished he was still here so that I could have interviewed him instead. She said he would have had me rolling on the floor with his wonderful sense of humor. Maxine though, sold herself short. She made sure that her children grew up well, she spoiled her grandchildren (but not too much- she made that clear!), and she stood by Don as he chased his dreams. Those things may not be considered glamorous or exciting to some, but the roles she played added immeasurable value to the lives of her family members. She insisted she was boring by comparison- I insisted that behind every good man, was a better woman. We laughed.
The last few months have been a particularly tough time in Maxine’s life. The loss of her husband, her memory loss and her big move to Highgrove have been hard on her, but she’s beginning to settle in to her new normal. She spoke very highly of her new living arrangements. “Everyone here is so nice,” she said, referring to both the staff and her new neighbors. But the biggest selling point for Highgrove, was probably the fact that it was pet friendly- little Gracie brings her so much joy and she couldn’t imagine her life without her.
Before I left, I asked Maxine a very poignant question: “What do you want to be remembered for?” She paused for introspection, but it didn’t take long for her to come up with an answer. “I have had a great life. I loved my kids and my husband.” Miss Maxine radiates kindness and love. She has positively touched the lives of many over her 86 years, and I’m sure she’ll continue to make an impact on those around her at Highgrove.
“Find your grandparents or someone of age,
Pay some respects for the path that they paved,
To life, they were dedicated,
Now that should be celebrated.”
-Twenty One Pilots-
By Anna Roe
Whether young or old, this world can feel lonely and dark. The quick pace of traffic, the stress-driven work life, or the absence of close friends and family can leave many feeling more like a number than a human. The song lyrics above suggest that matching younger generations with older generations may be a way to help pierce through the darkness of perceived insignificance while inspiring perseverance even when physical, emotional or psychological obstacles present themselves. The bottom line is that each of us need all of us – from every generation, and it was an absolute pleasure to be able to meet and spend time with Miss Sarah McRady – spending time with her is always a reason to celebrate.
I first met Sarah McRady in the lobby of the Highgrove apartments. Before meeting her, multiple individuals greeted me and asked who I was there to meet. As soon as I mentioned Miss McRady’s name, a smile would form across the inquirer’s face while kind words and complementary stories were shared about her. Upon meeting her, we conversed over some orange juice as she dove into her life stories, animated and giggling in all of the right places, while recalling dates of events with ease.
Her move to Highgrove occurred after a fall at home alone. She did not want to relive that incident and began looking for a more supportive place to live. She came across Highgrove and spoke very highly of how wonderful all of the facilities were and that it truly was the best place to live in the area. This was easy to believe as she generously gave me a tour of her apartment, the laundry area, kitchen area, sauna room, beauty parlor, exercise room, party room, nurse’s office, and the dining area. Everything appeared to be exquisitely clean and orderly while maintaining a home-like charm and comfort. The individuals who worked and lived there were just as kind and helpful as the facilities themselves. Genuine care was expressed everywhere we went.
Being an avid reader, Miss McRady shared how there was a bookmobile that would stop by every couple of weeks which she very much enjoyed. I learned how active Miss McRady had been and continues to be as she enjoys walking when the weather is fair and riding the bike in the exercise room as well. She shared her experiences from when she was a child to her present day. She informed me how she grew up in a home with six siblings and was raised to be respectful and helpful. She shared how grateful she was to have a family who looked out for her and raised her in such a respectable way. She summarized it by saying “you get what you put in.” She met her husband at the age of 15 and after two years of dating they became married. They had two children who later got married and had children of their own. Miss McRady now has great grandchildren who are extraordinary learners, and much from the line of intelligence of Miss McRady as I can attest. I learned that her great grandchildren are learning Hebrew through an immersion school and converse well in Hebrew and English!
Through the years, Miss McRady has had opportunities to travel throughout the world to places like Turkey, Israel and Egypt with her daughter and son-in-law who were a burn unit nurse and burn unit physician, respectively. Through the time spent with Miss McRady, her kindness resonated with me more than any other trait. She discussed how difficult it was to lose a friend she had helped care for at Highgrove until he passed away. She would help feed and care for him, always giving him a kiss on the forehead to remind him that he was still important and not alone. With Miss McRady, my soul experienced a peace and appreciation for the life behind me and in front of me in ways that are difficult to replicate. Her warmth, generosity, and wisdom was felt in the most genuine ways and I’m confident that I have found a mentor and friend who will continue to share light with me and all of those who reside at Highgrove. Miss McRady is truly a gem of a human being.
By Madelyn Kaehler
I met Rose Marie Farrah at Highgrove as she was collecting her mail. She eagerly showed me her big wad of mail and said “see all of this fan mail? I get it every day!” From that point on, I knew I would be speaking with a local celebrity. Rose began to show me around her home, showing me the terrace, and the deck that she explained was too cold to use right now. I asked her where she was from and if she was married, and she mentioned it would be a long story and motioned for us to sit down in a couple of chairs in the lobby area. I sat with Rose for two hours before we parted ways.
Rose grew up in North Carolina with two siblings, Patricia and Sam. She was the oldest and was quick to point out that it was her obligation as the eldest to keep them in line. She attended Sacred Heart Junior College in Belmont, N.C. where she pursued an education to become a secretary. Upon graduating, she moved to Atlanta for work where she worked as a secretary for the President of Warren Refrigeration Company.
Rose is a devout Lebanese Catholic woman and began praying to St. Jude (who she pointed out is the Saint for hopeless causes) to find a husband. She was set on marrying a Lebanese Catholic man, a standard that she was not willing to compromise. Through a friend in Atlanta, she was introduced to a Lebanese Catholic widower named Licha. She interacted with him on the phone but was skeptical because she claimed his voice sounded like her grandfather’s. So, she made the decision to fly to Lexington, KY where he resided, in May, to identify him in person. She was taken aback by his handsome appearance and funny personality, and they married 6 months later in the cathedral at Sacred Heart Junior College on November 3rd, 1968, when Rose was 35. Together, they had a farm in Carlisle, KY where they had tobacco, cattle, and soybeans. In addition, they had rental properties where they housed nearly 30 refugees from Lebanon, mostly family members, or friends of family members.
Rose and Licha had 4 children together, Licha Jr., who is the oldest, followed by Mary, Edward, and Roseanne. They have all grown up to hold fulfilling careers in the Lexington area, and she maintains a close relationship with all of them, and her 7 grandchildren. She jokes that she must have done something right parenting because she maintains a close bond with her children, as well as her 7 grandchildren, who range in age from 7-22.
The conversation then flowed to how she got to Highgrove living facility. She explained to me that Licha passed 2 ½ years ago from his battle with cancer just before what would have been their 48th wedding anniversary. She mentioned that she, with the help of two live-in nurses cared for him at their ranch style house in Carlisle, KY. After he passed, she received assistance from the nurses for a while, before her children made the decision to move her to Highgrove so she could be located closer to them. Rose mentioned the frustration she felt when she realized she may need some assistance and could no longer sustain living in her home.
It was easy to see with her interactions with both employees and other residents that she felt at home and felt at ease as she was walking around the facility. She mentioned to me that she likes the activities and friends she has met that are her age in her living environment. She touched on the daily happy hour, live karaoke, as well as picnics at the University of Kentucky’s arboretum that make her days full of joy and fulfillment. My conversation with Rose is not one that will go forgotten any time soon. Rose walked me through the course of her whole life and inspired me to look for the good in all situations. Her wisdom as well as her witty personality is nothing short of inspiring. Highgrove gave her a community that she not only is at ease with who she is but can flourish there among her peers. As Rose and I were wrapping up our conversation, I asked her what advice she had for me. She told me to “be positive every day, be thankful every day, and to remain close to your siblings and God.”
By Thomas Gerding
A man who lives by the phrase “I’ve never met anybody I didn’t like,” Lynn Stone embodies a hard worker, good friend, loving husband, and compassionate father. Born in 1925, Albert “Lynn” Stone grew up the youngest of two in Long Beach, California. As the child of a Ford lineman and a school cafeteria worker in a less affluent family, Lynn explains that “it wasn’t too bad,” because they were still able to enjoy their life and hobbies. Although his family couldn’t afford vacations, he thoroughly enjoyed spending days fishing along the ocean and following the New York Yankees. He dreamed of becoming a baseball player because of his love for the sport. Lynn had an older sister and, although they weren’t the closest of siblings, they got along as best they could for siblings three years apart.
While he claims he never had a role model as a child and laughingly rejected the question of whether he became his own role model, Lynn made it apparent that the right people were always in his network who were willing to help him get to his next step in life. He enrolled at the University of San Francisco, studying logic, but dropped out before graduating. Most of his friends up until this time were other students that he described as “a lot of nice people.”
He loved his career and, perhaps just as importantly, his career loved him. In 1946, his childhood dream of playing baseball for a living was realized when he was recruited at the age of 21. Following a three-year stint in minor league baseball, playing for teams in Wisconsin, Arizona, California, and even Texas, he and his wife had their first son. At this point, he realized the minor league paychecks wouldn’t be able to provide for his family so he put down his bat and glove and served his country in the U.S. Coast Guard. Stationed in Alameda, California from the end of the 1950’s to the early 1960’s, he described his outlook on life at the time as a frustrated baseball player trying to make a career for himself.
After spending three years in the Coast Guard, he found his way into the horse racing industry, making sure horses, jockeys, and owners were properly managed. After starting at a track in California, he and his wife had their second son. He then transferred to the Hialeah race track in Florida and quickly worked his way up to president of the track. He then decided to move to Louisville in order to work at the one and only Churchill Downs. Every time he described Churchill Downs, his eyes illuminated like he was describing an old friend. At this point, Hialeah must have been missing him because they agreed to pay for his flights and he divided his time between the two. It was during this time that he adopted his third and youngest son.
Harper Lee once said, “Many receive advice, only the wise profit from it.” Anyone that spends an hour with Lynn would leave much wiser than when they arrived. When asked if he’d rather travel into the future or past, his response was “As far as the past is concerned, I have no complaints about any place or anybody.” However, the most touching moment occurred when asked how he would spend $1 million if he won the lottery. At that point, he would be willing to travel anywhere, but only if his wife cared for travelling. When asked if there was one thing that stayed consistent throughout his life, without hesitating, Lynn recited his phrase, stating: “I’ve never met anybody I didn’t like.” Even when asked if he had learned anything in his life that he wished he would have known when he was younger, Mr. Stone said “I probably would have been better off if I stayed in school, but I have no regrets.” If there were more Lynn Stones, it is safe to say the world would be a better place.
Lynn Stone has been at Highgrove for about the last 6 months and has quickly made it his new home. From a “very comfortable facility” to his “beautiful suite room,” Lynn enjoys the amenities the 1-year-old facility has to offer. His eyes lit up as he described the staff as very nice, well trained, educated, and helpful. He says he is fortunate to know them by name. I am sure they would consider themselves fortunate to know Lynn as well.
By Hannah Mooney
Earlier this week, I had the privilege to meet El and Betty Kemper, who have lived at Highgrove for over a year and a half. El and Betty, both eighty-nine years old, met at the electrical manufacturing company in the Chicago area where they worked. Betty was an administrative assistant to the CEO and El eventually worked his way up to Senior Corporate Vice-President. Both were in their 40s and had recently lost their spouse.
After they married, they both continued to work for the same company until they retired almost thirty years ago. Occasionally, they were able to travel together for work. On one occasion, their jobs took them on a trip across Europe with the company’s board of directors. The tour included stops at manufacturing plants in Germany, Luxemburg, England and Ireland. Along the way, they were able to visit tourist sites, including the Battle of the Bulge museum. El mentioned that the people on the board were always nice people he would have been happy to have a neighbors and that underneath their formal titles, “they’re just people.” Other work trips included several to a facility in the Lexington area, which they now call home.
Originally from Cincinnati, El took a circuitous route from high school to college to career. He graduated from high school in 1946 at age sixteen. He went to college at the University of Cincinnati for a time, but between his youth and the institution of the GI Bill, it wasn’t a good fit for him at the time. He joined the military himself and served as a paratrooper during the Korean War before returning to college where he graduated with a degree in Industrial Management in 1957.
El moved to the Chicago area for his new job. He worked for this company for over thirty years in marketing research, though by the time he retired, he had done a bit of everything at the company: overseeing the Aviation Department, occasionally writing speeches, assisting the CEO, and eventually becoming a Vice President. El told me that although he didn’t get “rich and famous,” he felt that God had directed his life well. He enjoyed his job and liked that he was able to work for a company where loyalty went both ways between employers and employees. He commented that he had retired before computers were a workplace necessity and that he remembered all the engineering students at the University of Cincinnati carrying around slide rules to class.
After El and Betty both retired, they lived in several states- Missouri, Arkansas, Florida, and North Carolina. Eventually, they moved to Lexington where they lived in a house not far from Highgrove. Over time, taking care of the house combined with Betty’s declining health proved a bit more than they could handle on their own, so they began to look at alternate arrangements. They were looking at a place down the street and had even put a deposit on it when they discovered that it couldn’t accomodate assisted living.
Around the same time, they heard that Highgrove at Tate’s Creek was being built. It has assisted living, which Betty needed, and independent living, which works for El. They watched as it was built, but didn’t move in until about a month after completion. As El told me, it “doesn’t look like a normal assisted living home- inside and out.” It’s small and doesn’t segregate the assisted living and independent living. Betty and El ended up with a set of rooms with a bedroom, bathroom, kitchenette, and study that is near the elevator, which was helpful while Betty was still using a walker. El praised the weekly visits from Doctors at the Lexington Clinic. According to El, they aren’t overwhelmingly interested in going out since they don’t have to. There is a beauty salon where Betty regularly gets her hair fixed and a local church holds services in the chapel on Sundays. El appreciates its convenient location near their Doctor, and the Walmart pharmacy they had used for years is just across the street.
El seems remarkably content with his life as a whole. In a short hour, he repeatedly told me how he enjoyed living in the time he did. His career seemed to have been varied and interesting although he remained at the same company for decades. Now, despite their separate needs, the couple has found a community at Highgrove that is small enough to find what suits both El and Betty’s needs.
Joyce Smiley, a Somerset native, has been at Highgrove for a few months to recover from a series of surgeries in her leg and hip. Unfortunately, one day when attending a University of Kentucky ball game, the car she was in drove off before she was completely out of the car, causing her to break several bones in her leg. Due to this she came to Highgrove in Lexington to receive rehabilitation services until she was healed enough to live independently once again. I had the pleasure of interviewing Joyce and learning more about her time at Highgrove as well as her life in Kentucky. Joyce is 81 years young and has been a teacher for a majority of her life but is now retired. She achieved her educational goals at Eastern Kentucky University where she obtained her bachelors and master’s degrees in education. Joyce loved her job and the lives she effected by being a home economics teacher for a majority of her career and to this day recalls the amazing years she had as a teacher.
Independence is something Joyce prides herself on; for several years she has lived in Somerset while her children lived in Lexington pursuing their own businesses as well as growing their families. When asked why Joyce hasn’t moved to Lexington, she stated that she had established a life in Somerset; she attended a church where she went to bible study and had several friends, she also has a close relationship with her neighbors. When asked if Joyce plans on moving to Lexington one day she said yes but for now she enjoys her comfortable life in Somerset.
Joyce, although an Eastern Kentucky University alumnus, loves UK basketball and football more than most people I’ve met! She’s gone to so many games she’s lost count and traveled to several different states to attend them, including Alaska twice. Traveling is something Joyce emphasized the importance of; she’s traveled to all fifty states, Germany, Canada and several different islands. To Joyce, travelling was a way to learn more about the world we live in and explore things outside of our normal environment.
Joyce’s health has helped her tremendously in her older years to still do so many amazing things that most can only dream of. Joyce makes sure to not let age get in the way of life, although her recent injury has prevented her from living alone at home she’s enjoyed her time at Highgrove. She loves the positive social life that Highgrove provides, from several activities to the new friends she’s made while being here. When asked if she would come back to Highgrove later down the line, she said she absolutely would if she needed to because she loved her temporary stay. Joyce went back to Somerset at the end of November because her recovery had gone amazing and she is now able to do her everyday activities independently. Joyce was a pleasure to talk to and other residents at Highgrove agreed. Several times during the interview passing residents stopped to talk to Joyce and to just say hi. I learned so much about her life in Kentucky and her future plans and wish her all the best in her health and future endeavors!
By Olivia Pokoski
The year is 1929, the first year of the Great Depression, and also the year that Helen Ecton was born. Living on a farm in rural Bourbon County, people were poor, life was difficult, and there was a lot of work to be done. Helen, the seventh of eight children, was not exempt from the chores on the farm, especially after her father and brother were drafted into World War II. It is a common misconception in today’s society that back in the early 20th century, the men took care of the farm and everything outside, while the women typically cared for everything indoors. However according to Helen, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Her parents relied on each and every one of the children, including the daughters, to tend to the farm and all of the animals on it.
As she approached the end of her high school career, Helen began to think about attending college, as she always wanted to become a nurse or a doctor. Her passion for this grew out of taking care of her family members, including her mother who suffered from several strokes while Helen was growing up. Unfortunately, her dream of attending college was put on hold because the principal of her high school noticed that she was the best typist in her class and sought her out to work for him after graduation. She did so for a couple of years, but later moved to Lexington with her husband and put her typist skills to use working for the Greyhound Lines.
Two children, four grandchildren, and five great grandchildren later and Helen seemed as though she could not have been more pleased with her life course thus far. Luckily, she has been blessed with great health for the majority of her life. Her only worry was solved with a pacemaker. People are always trying to discover the secret to longevity and Helen can’t speak for science, but her good health could be partially due to her active lifestyle, as she exercises in the fitness center regularly, as well as her healthy diet and lack of alcohol intake. Whether or not this is the key to a long, happy life is unknown but something is working for Helen!
It was a little over six months ago that Helen decided she didn’t want to live on her own anymore, as taking care of the house became to be more of a burden than it was worth. Once the decision was made to move into a senior living center, Helen toured Highgrove at Tate’s Creek and was instantly sold. Though she just moved into Highgrove this past summer, she has highest of praises and absolutely no complaints. “Royal treatment” is how she described her experience so far. Room service, to restaurant like dining, to social events, to an exercise room, to a barbershop, the list of amenities available to the residents is never-ending. These are only the amenities provided on the physical campus. However, Highgrove provides services that extend much further into the Lexington community including a transportation service as well as a monthly schedule of planned outings and community events so no two weeks for the occupants are the same. Helen loves all that Highgrove has to offer, but one of her favorite things about it is the daily happy hour, even though, ironically, she doesn’t drink alcohol. Rather, she along with several other of the tenants use it as their social circle to gain all of the daily gossip of the goings on in the community.
Helen’s pride and joy are now her great grandchildren, who also live in Lexington and are able to visit somewhat frequently. Everyone in her family loves Highgrove and how respectful the staff is and all of the extravagant amenities that are offered. Perhaps one of the biggest compliments to Highgrove came from her great grandson as he told her, “I want to live here when I get old!”
By Emma King
1929. This year holds historical significance for the United States in many ways, but most notably, it was the year Ethel Warren Lackey was born.
Ethel has three siblings, two sisters and a brother, and the four of them grew up in the small town of Carlisle, Pennsylvania. The house they lived in was built by the first Mayer before the town was even established in 1751, and today Ethel’s sister still resides in the historic home. Ethel remembers sliding down the bannisters at the house, when her parents weren’t looking.
Ethel’s father owned a bakery, and her mother stayed at home with the kids. She speaks fondly of the weekly Sunday drives that she would take with her family through the mountains to visit her relatives, always stopping for homemade ice cream along the way.
Her father taught Ethel how to read from when she was very little. She even memorized the textbooks before she started the first grade, so that the teacher kindly requested that her father teach her to read other books besides the ones she was going to be taught. This started her life-long passion for education and her aspirations of becoming a teacher.
Ethel first pursued her career at East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania. During the summer after her freshman year of college, she met Donald Lackey at the Chocolate Shop, and in her words, “that was it.” She transferred to the University of Cincinnati to be closer to him, and by graduation, they were married. She particularly enjoyed UC because she was able to take more liberal arts classes, such as advanced history courses and anthropology. After graduation, she became an elementary teacher in Cincinnati at Mount Washington school, teaching a little bit of everything from reading to gym classes to math. Her husband taught as well, for high school and middle school orchestra classes.
The birth of her two sons, Robert Jeffery Lackey, and Scott Warren Lackey, put her teaching career on pause for 11 years, as she raised them. She recalls taking the two young boys to see President Lyndon B. Johnson, and laughed at the thought of them squirming when they had their picture drawn on the board walk. The portraits are still hanging in her apartment.
Once Scott went to first grade, Ethel returned to teaching at a different elementary school, working there until the school closed down, and then moved to a different magnet school in Cincinnati. Ethel loved working with the gifted students. She enjoyed the stimulating discussions they would have, and looking up the history behind the novels they were reading. She loves all of her students, and proudly speaks of the doctors, lawyers, and different careers they went on to pursue. In particular, she remembers one student who always called her on her birthday, and made a point of seeing her when he was in town.
Eventually, she transitioned into to becoming a 3rd grade state program advisor for a year, and then became a supervisor for the board for three years. After 32 years in the education field, Ethel retired with her husband in Cincinnati. She remembers attending the symphonies and operas that her husband would play in during the summer, and the garden she grew full of hostas, impatiens, ferns, and begonias. For a time, she and her husband rented out properties in Cincinnati, painting and keeping them fixed up, until they sold them to families when they found that it was difficult to physically keep them up anymore.
In 2011, she moved to an assisted living home in Cincinnati, but then moved again in 2017 to find her home in Highgrove in order to be closer to her son, Robert. She admits that the hardest part of the transition was the moving of all her belongings, and the condensing of her things. Ethel’s face lights up when talking about her time at Highgrove, and she loves the community she has found here, full of a devoted staff and caring residents. She says that the staff is devoted to making sure that she feels comfortable, and that they will take her to wherever she needs to go for grocery, shopping, or medical needs. She enjoys all of the activities that she can do throughout the week to socialize, and explained how helpful the calendar hanging up in the lobby was for planning out her week. All of her crafts she has made, especially her seasonal door decorations, are proudly hanging in her apartment.
Ethel also has a passion for puzzles, and is currently working on an enormous puzzle her son had made for her from a picture he took in Oregon. Behind her puzzle, her Cat’s Meow figurines are laid out, marking all of the significant locations she has been to. The figures include the historic home and barn she grew up in, her and her husband’s favorite vacation spot in Nashville, Indiana, the fountain square in Cincinnati, and many others. The figurines are evidence of the full life Ethel has lived. Her kind soul shines through to all who know her, and she will continue to touch lives at Highgrove with the community she found.
By: Payton Malone
A young war veteran and civil engineer working on the first transcontinental highway (Lincoln Highway) was moving his way across the country in the 1920’s when, “He got as far as Utah and met my mom,” Ms. Gene says laughing, with a look of deep and fond reminiscence on her face. This is where the awe-inspiring life of Genevieve Van Buskirk begins.
When I walked into her room for the first time, the 94 year old was busy preparing gifts. After all, the Christmas dinner at Highgrove was coming up and she had guests! Settling in on her couch, surrounded by Christmas goodies and full of wonderment, I got my first look at her life – an account of an inspiring existence during times of war, personal tragedy, love and loss. By recounting her earliest memories such as sporting a yellow raincoat and boot ensemble at Niagara Falls to being one of the very first residents at Highgrove, I’ll try to do her magnificent life story some justice.
When you look at what Ms. Gene loves about Highgrove – you get a small glimpse of the past 9 decades in her world. She’ll tell you about her expedition to Hall’s On The River and her love of seafood, indicative of her many years living on the East Coast. She’ll perk up, sitting just a little straighter in her chair to describe the trips they have taken to the Toyota factory, where she marvels at the machines and the giant sheets of metal, exhibiting her love of learning and brilliant mind. As a secretary for aircraft companies and businesses specializing in materials, she fed her need for knowledge throughout life, filling the gap left by being unable to afford college. Even more astonishing is that nearly 60 years ago, Ms. Gene was romping around the skies of the Northeast. Taking a solo flight in a 40 horsepower Piper J-3 aircraft, she had learned to fly!
Not long after this, World War II ended and Ms. Gene was transferred to a technical engineering department. There, she met a young man with a wild last name, whom she married two and a half years later. Edwin and Genevieve Van Buskirk worked together at Fairchild Aircraft, during which the company created the first guided missile in the US. Mr. Van Buskirk even traveled to the Mojave Desert for the test firings. Over nearly six decades of marriage, they built a family of intelligent, successful, and athletic people just like themselves.
Part of what makes Ms. Gene such an inspiring woman is not just everything she has accomplished or endured, but the way she talks about it – the joy with which she tells stories. Her shoulder was broken in 3 places before moving to Highgrove; she described only how silly she looked with her arm folded like a bird wing. Then there is the honeymoon story – when her husband contracted chicken pox! Not to worry, resourceful and clever as ever, she used pancake makeup to get him back into the country from Bermuda without any questions. When she describes a tragic event in her life, Ms. Gene speaks in a way that begs positivity, never sympathy. There is an air of lightheartedness, somehow accomplishing ease of conversation without downplaying the gravity of a topic. Her father died when she was just 11, the horrendous consequence of mustard gas exposure incurred in World War I. With this she explains what life was like growing up with just her mom. Later in life, her husband suffered a stroke. “He did funny things like put pocket change down the disposal…he did that with his dentures too but otherwise he was okay,” she exclaims rather than focusing on the hardship of the years that followed.
Throughout life, Ms. Gene has been known as a wonderful mother, passionate Girl Scout troop leader (leading trips to places like Washington, D.C. and Governors Island), skillful seamstress (she made her daughter’s dress for formal), Sunday school teacher, secretary, artist, water aerobics enthusiast, daughter, pilot, wife, grandmother, caretaker, and great-grandmother. It is impossible to fit over 90 years’ worth of adventure, struggle, love, and inspiration in these pages. So if you get the chance, have a chat with Ms. Gene over a plate of crab cakes or while she beats you at Scrabble. You will at least have a few minutes’ worth of laughter and you may even be lucky enough to have her bless your heart, “…And your liver.”
When I met Pricilla, I first noticed her natural beauty and gentle demeanor. Before I arrived at Highgrove, I was told that Pricilla has Alzheimer’s Disease and that it might be difficult to start and continue conversation, but it was evident within the first minutes of our meeting that our discussion was going to be the exact opposite. I thought I would start slow with a brief introduction of myself and why I was meeting with her not pushing for any information, but she was eager to begin, “So what do you want to ask me?”, she giggled.
Pricilla was born in Stanton, Kentucky to her father, a mechanic who ran his own garage, and her mother, a school teacher. Pricilla had a wonderful childhood growing up with her brother. She was a cheerleader in high school but always prioritized her academics. Right after her high school graduation, she enrolled at the University of Mary Washington in Virginia. At only eighteen years old, Pricilla moved almost five hundred miles away from home and began her college career. Being in an unfamiliar place so far from home is a difficult task for anyone and the young Pricilla was no exception to the hardships of being on her own. Pricilla decided that she would be better suited back in Kentucky closer to her family. She finished her first year before making the decision to come back home to Powell County.
Upon her return, she was offered a teaching position in Powell County at a one room schoolhouse. She taught kindergarten through the fifth grade every day. Being an education major myself it amazed me how this was even possible, “Well, there were only about two children per grade and they were all very good. The older children would usually have a younger sibling and they would help me with the lessons and help keep them quiet while they were having their own lessons.” She reminisced on how she would take the children on walks and have lessons outside. “the children thought it was so funny that we would go outside,” she chuckled. “I did make a mistake one time, there was a farmer that lived right next to the school and the children and I thought it would be a good idea to get a Christmas tree, so I told them to go get one. They knew the area more than I did so they came bringing down a pretty Christmas tree to the schoolhouse and it was the farmers tree! The children didn’t ask to cut the tree! But finally, the farmer was a good man and they all just made fun of me, they teased me forever but my father knew him and they would just laugh at me all the time!”. Pricilla’s mother was a great help to her when she was teaching, but a few years later she says she “convinced” her mother to let her enroll at the University of Kentucky.
At the University of Kentucky (U.K.), Pricilla began working on her Home Economics major. She lived in Lexington with her grandmother and soon after met her husband. He was a World War II veteran finishing his degree, “he told me one time that he would have never started dating me if he knew how old I was,” she blushed, “but he was a good one.” They were enamored by each other and they were married a short while after, “he always had a great government job, it took us so many great places.”
Pricilla was also involved in Daughters of the American Revolution, an organization that is a women’s service organization dedicated to promoting historic preservation, education, patriotism and honoring the patriots of the Revolutionary War. She was an active member and attended state meetings regularly, “it goes way back and you learn a lot, I just received a letter from them not too long ago that was really nice. I wish I still had my old papers to show you all the things we did. If you ever get the chance to join the DAR you really should,” she urged.
Pricilla would often break conversation to dote upon the atmosphere at Highgrove, “Oh look! They’ve decorated for Christmas! How beautiful!” she would exclaim. The decorations were indeed stunning and almost took my breath upon arrival. She also commended the staff for their care, “They want me to color for therapeutic reasons, seems right though my coloring isn’t very good you see, but my picture from the other day was a lot better.” Pricilla says that although she is older now, she has lived a great life. She said she had a wonderful family, husband, and friends and as we parted ways she chirped, “I hope you can come back and see me!”
By Karah Gottschalk
Marvin, a resident of Highgrove at Tates Creek, is an accomplished husband, father, grandfather, and scholar. While Marvin was born in Michigan, he has lived in Illinois, New York, and Tennessee, before finally deciding to settle down in Lexington, KY. He is a proud graduate of Calvin College and the University of Illinois; it was at the latter where he earned a Ph.D. in Chemistry in 1961. Marvin found his passion in a topic that terrifies most college students: Physical Chemistry (or P-Chem), which focuses on how known reactions occur. Marvin enjoyed many years of employment in the physical chemistry field. Marvin worked at the renowned Oak Ridge National Laboratory, a multi-program science and technology national laboratory sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy. It is the largest science and energy national laboratory in the Department of Energy system by size and is famous not only for its founding purpose, pioneering research in nuclear energy (and then nuclear medicine), but also a range of other cutting-edge domains.
After years of advanced science research, Marvin revealed that the hardest part of aging is realizing and accepting that “he is not getting any younger,” in addition to dealing with the passing of his wife. He stated that although he remains physically healthy (besides cataracts), he struggles to maintain his mental fitness. Marvin discussed that while working his brain was kept mentally fit as a result of the rigors of his research. When he retired in 2000, he no longer had the same mental challenges; instead he had to actively work at keeping his mind sharp. Aging has forced Marvin to be more aware of his mental health, so he has had to work on staying mentally active. When asked why Marvin does not tutor students in Chemistry, he replied that he enjoys retirement and does not want to be “stuck with a schedule again.” Instead, he has access to University of Kentucky’s library where he continues to read physical chemistry research. He reported that although Highgrove has plenty of computers, he enjoys using his personal computer with the internet that is provided. Marvin also reported issues of dealing with the passing of his wife. He discussed how he assumed, like most husbands, that he would pass before his wife; as a result, he was not fully prepared to confront her passing away before him.
When asked why he picked Highgrove, Marvin actually chuckled and stated that his daughter picked this residence! He stated that she (thankfully) did all of the research for him and his late wife, and that out of all the communities that she visited, this was her obvious choice. Marvin reported that he is pleased with his daughter’s choice. Highgrove allows for a variety of care levels, depending on an individual’s needs. Since Marvin is physically and mentally healthy, he resides within the independent living community. He reported that he enjoys Highgrove since he no longer has to clean or pick up after himself, which is not a favored chore for him. Marvin also does not have to worry about cooking all of his meals, which again is not one of his favorite daily tasks. Marvin discussed how Highgrove brings in medical doctors every two weeks, which allows for all residents to see a doctor without leaving the comforts of their own homes. He also enjoys the freedom that Highgrove allows: he has a car on site, can walk around the neighborhood, has a nice computer room with strong Wi-Fi, and can participate in group activities if he chooses. Although Marvin does not participate in any of the scheduled activities, he stated that it gives people the opportunity to make a schedule of daily activities. Marvin thoroughly enjoys the Happy Hour that is provided daily at Highgrove, with his favorite drink being a scotch, neat. Marvin apparently forgives the staff at Highgrove for not having his favorite drink, John Walker Black, since he is able to interact with many different residents at this time. While Highgrove is pet-friendly, Marvin does not wish to obtain a pet, even though he was able to differentiate between the newer four-legged residents. Marvin believes that he will finish out his finer years at Highgrove and thoroughly enjoy his retired life in this community, with his family close by.
We love it when we hear from our residents and families about their experiences at our community. If you encountered something out of the ordinary, something that made you take notice, to smile, to feel understood and well cared for, please share it with us.
If you had a less than excellent experience, we want to hear from you as well. In fact, we’d like the opportunity to listen in person and to make it right if there’s anything we can do. Please feel free to contact us in person by visiting our community or calling (859) 245-0100.
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