Category Archives: Living in Senior Housing

Thanksgiving and another day in the life of Aunt Ira Mae…

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Crawfish Creek Manor

Yesterday, I received an update on Aunt Ira Mae’s Thanksgiving week. She chose to stay in the Crawfish Creek area and spent most of her time with her new “Mr. Roy”. She begin with how he makes the worst coffee since the discovery of the coffee bean! There in the morning right! Their week was quiet and peaceful and they never lack for conversation.

He had told her of the love of his life whom he had lost after fifty years of marriage, and she disclosed briefly her failed forty-year marriage. They walked the pumpkin patch to find that perfect pumpkin that he would use make a pie, by now she has told him that she was allergic to cooking. In the afternoon, they had road around in his old pickup truck and found the perfect Christmas tree. This was a special time since she said he had not celebrated the holidays for years, and she had always hoped they would fly by quickly.

To her surprise, he had enlisted the help of some younger neighboring farmers and their wives to help decorate his house inside and out, it took on a special glow, another first for her. Then the day ended and he took her home. As they pulled out of the long driveway, she said that as she looked back the farm looked like it was out of a Norman Rockwell painting. She confessed that she begin to cry, somehow he understood and patted her hand gently.

He said for her not to be sad that it would all be there tomorrow.  “Well of course, and early, I have a Thanksgiving dinner to make for my new friend”.

Then she added what I had been waiting for…

They entered the front door and she turned to Mr. Roy saying…

“Mr. Roy, would you like a shot of Jack”?

“Girl, of course”. His smile broadened.

Passing the “Gathering Room” they stared at a sea of blue waves and curls; it sounded much like a chicken farm. “Cluck, cluck, cluck, cluck”!

When she and Mr. Roy walked past them a silence fell over the room, she heard the Warden say to the others , “Well I never”! Aunt Ira Mae turned to face her saying…

“And, you probably never will”.

I am so pleased that she has found a bit of happiness and one would think after almost a century, it has been a long time coming.

I am beginning to think like her in the fact that as we age we should just be thankful each day that we wake and keep telling ourselves…breathe damn’t.

 

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Filed under Healing, Jack Daniels, Life, Living in Senior Housing, Possible finding love, Thoughts, Words

The Latest from Aunt Ira Mae…

 

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Crawfish Manor

Well my dear, God’s waiting room continues to fill with most residents younger than me, instead of calling it a place for over 55 they should advertise over 85. But, Rosemary Wilson just wants this big old house filled up. Now you know that I am not trying to insult old people cause I will be ??? all too soon. Thank God there is a small elevator.  But independent should be used lightly here and it is cheaper than the nursing home over in Clinton.

Sorry that I have not written but I have been busy helping Mr. Roy in the “Pumpkin Patch” and have not told you the latest. A woman called Faith and very nice, a loner like myself lives across from me and stops when she sees me to catch me up. I find her gossiping odd as she goes to church every day, maybe that is why. She said her neighbor whom I renamed, “Smelly Bob”, was in the Clinton Hospital with a leg problem that may put him in a wheelchair.

She ask if I might be willing to stop by and say hello, apparently Smelly Bob, eighty-seventy years old had no nearby friends, his children lived several states away and he was alone. I said that I would .

Wednesday I stopped by on my way to the gym, I failed to ask Faith his last name and I did not think it appropriate to go to the information booth and ask if they could give me the room number of Smelly Bob!

I described him, where he was from and his condition, apparently they knew Smelly Bob!

When I walked into the room, he was in a lounge chair, hospital gown on and blanket over his lap. I reminded him of my living in the Manor; he smiled and acknowledged me. I went over and looked out the window making a comment on the view he had of a small lake. When I turned around the blanket was lying on the floor, bandaged legs exposed, gown pulled up to his hips, the view…nothing to brag about! I quickly excused myself saying I was late to a gym class and that I had promised Faith I would stop by, wishing him well, I skedaddled from the room.

Yesterday, the Warden came to my door saying that the gathering room was “a buzz” as she called it, with my romance with Smelly Bob. Keeping a straight face, I told her that I would be down soon to share everything.

When I got there the room was filled with several old women and one man, she must have them all on speed dial. The man said that Smelly Bob had called him saying that I had drove all the way to Clinton just to see him, that I had a crush on him and when he was dismissed from the hospital that we were going away for the week-end. Have I mentioned that this old man cannot walk let alone #$%&. No doubt, misperception, dementia is rampant at the Manor.

When I walked into their gathering place, I explained that Smelly Bob was lying and as I walked away I turned saying “My fellow inmates as I like to call you…since I am certain that each of you have already formed your own opinion let me say this, you are all assuming that I like men”? Mouths fell open, and I walked out of a very quiet room.

I am certain that I have them totally confused . However, when I walked to the elevator going back to my apartment I heard Mouth say, “Well, we don’t like people who are not like us”, the silence broke, and the hen clucking begins. Well, I don’t like people like them either.  Old people, you gotta love them! Well, I am heading for the Pumpkin Patch with a bottle of “Jack”and will call or write before Thanksgiving.

Until I can get another email you have to know that my Aunt Ira Mae is a southerner who I sometimes refer to as “Mouth of the South”, I am certain that she goes for the shock and awe effect when talking to her neighbors.  11.14.2014 ajm

 

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Filed under Elderly biking, Jack Daniels, Life, Living in Senior Housing, Possible finding love

I Got Mail…from Aunt Ira Mae!

The subject line read:  Met a nice man!  Then Ira Mae wrote the following:

Trying to bike in Hell Town is taking your life into your own hands. It is difficult to believe since there is only one street, Main, and two bridges to cross over. Of course, there are no bike lanes, riding down main even with it two or three cars is a sign of being brave.

A redheaded woman pulled out of the Crawfish Café in a 1966 baby blue Studebaker, mint condition, the last year they built that funny little car. She pulled out without looking, I put on brakes right before impact! BITCH…

As it turn out I would later find out that she is the preacher’s wife, a church located between Crawfish and Clinton the only church within miles, and I was later told that she leads the choir, reads hot romance novels during church service.

Then an old red Ford truck passed me, unlike the Studebaker it appeared to be held together with rust and baling wire. This pipe-smoking farmer I was also to find out grows pumpkins for Halloween and trees for Christmas, he carries to Clinton to sell on an old A&P lot. When he pulled out of his parking place in front of Wilson’s Drug and Hardware store he gave me a smile saying…“Wanna race”! I believe he found my “trike” funny. Yes, I found out a lot about him later.

Off he went like a snail, at the bottom of a hill about a mile out of town I could see the old truck turning onto a side road. I went down the winding road through the pumpkin patch took me in front of a country home out of a Norman Rockwell painting. There he sat, rocking back and forth next to a table with two cups of steaming coffee. Now is this fate?

“It’s strong and it’s hot, like I like my women…if I was young enough to still like women”. He winked and continued, “I’m Bill, and you’re that young thing that moved into Crawfish Manor. It is all over town about a southern lady.

He laughed so hard it was infectious. I said to him, “Mr. Bill , I’m no spring chicken, but frankly I don’t think God is ready for me and the devil would not know what to do with me”!   I sat down had the worst cup of coffee in my life and I believe that I may have found the best friend that I will probably have in my life.

Time for a moment with Jack and remembering to breathe damn’it. When you come over I will take you to the pumpkin/Christmas tree farm.

 

“Needless to say, I have to meet this Mr. Bill soon”. 11.7.2014   ajm

 

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A Happy Halloween call from Aunt Ira Mae…

 

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Crawfish Manor

Received a call from Aunt Ira Mae today, she has decided that the old folks at Crawfish Manor does not have enough to do on a day-to-day basis, accept to pry into other folks business.  I said to her you might need to stop and think that most elderly people are not like you (she is well into her 90’s and acts like 50); many are hard of hearing or cannot see well.

She screamed into the phone. ”Hard of hearing, do not be fooled by that, they can hear a fly fart at one-hundred yards. Every time I opened my door to take out boxes that I have unpacked, no less than ten heads all sporting curly blue hair pops out to look at me as I walk down the hallway’.

Then she continued to say. “Don’t get me wrong, I have white hair…I just don’t think having it short and spiked went over too well, and I am certain that being bare foot and braless did not get me any points, and no, “the girls” were not bouncing off my knees. When God called out who wants “Big Breast”, I thought he said, “Big Test” and I ran the other way”!

Aunt Ira Mae no doubt irritated but laughing continued with…

“With the unpacking done, I decided to go for a bike ride (she has a three wheel adult trike). There I was on the elevator with the bike, a man and woman got on with me before the door could close. The man looked at me and said loudly, “Do you go to church”? I smiled and said “No”; he got louder, “Don’t you believe in God”? I smiled and said “Yes”, I knew what was coming next…”People who believe in God go to church”! His wife said loudly, “You’re going to hell”! I smiled and said, “Yes mam, I may be going there, and you and your husband don’t forget to say hi when you see me, ya hear”! I still don’t know their names; I call them the Church People”!

Well what can I say, I feel sorry for the other residents of Crawfish Manor. Ira Mae is a true southern character that you either love or hate. I am certain that when she got off the phone she told herself while pouring her shot of “Jack”, breathe damn’it.

 

10.31.2014 Happy Halloween ajm

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Weekend Visit with Aunt Ira Mae…

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Day before yesterday I left all of you with Aunt Ira Mae’s “do’s and don’ts” of moving into senior housing, her accounting of the Manor; her moving to Hell-Town, USA and many of its inhabitants, the people from “hell” as she deems them. Let me start by saying that I have visited her and that I do not believe all senior housing is as the Manor; not all people in the Manor or town are like those that she has encountered. However, I have witnessed those who appeared to be friendly, turn within time.

My introduction to her neighbors was they walked, shuffled, or wheeled up and down the hall trying to get a glimpse of new people. My first impression of Independent living was, “Aunt Ira Mae, are you sure this is not a nursing home”?

Upon leaving, the gathering room was full of blue haired old battle-axes, yes their actions gave this impression; they migrated to the lounge area by the elevator. Any one that tells you old people cannot see, do not believe them. They were like vultures waiting for the death of a road kill, peering with their tiny beady eyes at me, knowing that their minds were wondering how I was related to Ira Mae. I smiled and kept moving.

This weekend I made a quick visit, the “Warden” as Aunt Ira Mae named her, and her sidekick that she named “Mouth”, met me outside the elevator. “Ain’t you the woman who moved her Aunt in here”, hollered the Warden. Mouth replied, “Most people think she is a crazy woman, moved in speaks to no one, we know she smokes and drinks; and she is gone all day”! I looked at them respectfully and smiled as I walked away.

The Warden bellowed out, “We ain’t going to like her”.

I got in my car and left…like Aunt Ira Mae says, “She takes her shot of Jack every day and just keeps telling herself to breath damn’it”.

Since I have now heard from her I will need to call her tonight and “catch up” on the gossip.

 

10.27.2014 ajm

http://www.amazon.com/Beyond-Voices-Ann-Johnson-Murphree/dp/1500426709/ref=sr_1_5?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1414431847&sr=1-5&keywords=ann+johnson-Murphree

 

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Aunt Ira Mae and Crawfish Creek Manor Day 2 …

 

 

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Crawfish Creek Manor

Aunt Ira Mae called with her latest…if you are looking for senior housing here are some “do’s and don’ts”, and this may be the most important information the older generation will ever read.

Do not – be fooled if the housing is new with only a few tenants. Remember, those that can walk are in a gathering area checking you out; they were there first… this is an important thing never to forget, if you move in; you will be the subject of conversation for many months as you are the only “life” they have seen since they arrived at the Manor.

Do not – believe everything a manager of the property tells you, they are trying to fill the place up!

Do not – check out a town during winter months, everything looks magnificent  covered with snow.

Do – visit several times before signing a lease. Ira Mae said that if she had done so, she would have found out that the old woman who guards the door and questions everyone who enters was truly at one point “a warden”!

Do – read the lease carefully, the administrator/manager makes the rules as she goes about her day, different rules, different rents, her favorite saying is “This is all a secret now, don’t tell the others, because I am treating you special”. Then they all gather and discuss how special they are among themselves.

Those are the main do’s and don’ts, life is complicated here at Crawfish Creek Manor…

Hometown, small town, USA, beware it is Hell-Town, USA; Over 55 housing, (you think), friendly (until you move in), then you find that you are living in God’s Waiting Room…it is a nursing home without nursing staff and you have Crawfish Creek on one side and the Pearly Gates on the other!

Seems Aunt Ira Mae does not let anything or anyone get her down her message for today, remember a shot of “Jack” a day will keep the doctor away, and if you are a senior citizen just keep telling yourself…breathe damn’it.

As I continue to write my southern stories Aunt Ira Mae has become my muse, sets a fire under me to tell these stories before I have to go into “God’s Waiting Room”.

To check out my poetry works on death and depression, living through the loss of a love one go to Amazon.com…

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=ann+johnson-murphree+paperbacks

10.25.2014.ajm

 

 

 

 

 

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Received a call today that I found interesting…

old lady

 

My aunt Ira Mae just moved into senior housing in a small Wisconsin town called Crawfish Creek Manor, Aunt Ira Mae calls it “God’s waiting room”. She called me today to let me know the latest gossip, about her little trips around town and such. This is today’s accounting of her new home.

Crawfish Creek Manor is a one street town with a creek running through it, Crawfish Creek…I am told that there are no crawfish in the creek! She no doubt put on her waders and checked this out. The town she says begins with the Manor, a home for senior citizens, and the creek winds through town. On each end of Main Street are two wood bridges between the bridges is a Theater (owned by Mayor Wilson) that is open every Saturday; next comes Andy’s barbershop (the mayor’s son), then the Crawfish Café (the mayors daughter Emma), Edna’s Beauty shop (Andy’s wife), Wilson’s Drug and Hardware store (Mayor’s son), Morrie’s Service Station (the mayor’s grandson), and last but not least a sign next to the last bridge with bold letters stating… “YOU ARE NOW LEAVING CRAWFISH CREEK”.

By now you are wondering, shouldn’t the town be called Wilson Creek? Well, no, because Aunt Ira Mae said that Mr. Wilson’s great-great-granddaddy settled the town and he thought it was a fine name for a creek and town. It is farm country there are no citizens accept the Wilson’s their homes are on the edge of Crawfish Creek and the Manor that she has moved into.

Aunt Ira Mae told me that Crawfish Creek Manor’s tenants come from a four county area; a large home with a palatial four-column porch that would lead you to believe it had been picked up out of the Deep South and placed there beside the creek. There are twenty tenants male and female, a gathering room and a small office where Mr. Wilson’s daughter Rosemary pretends to be the administrator/manager.

Ira Mae, well she moved from the city…an active elderly female of eighty-years-young. It looked peaceful she said, away from the hustle-bustle of Madison metro living, a place where seniors lived and enjoyed their waning years, or so it advertised.

However, living in Crawfish Creek Manor is not what she thought it would be… according to her, if it was not for her bottle of “Jack” she would go postal on them. I have found her adventure in her new home very interesting and she promises to give me a daily update, so as I continue with my “book project” I will try to share these interesting stories. When I ask what she thought each day when she woke in her new home she yelled into the phone”I tell myself to just get up and breathe damn-it at my age what else can I do”.   That’s my Aunt Ira Mae, a walking cane in one hand and a cup of coffee laced with Jack Daniels in the other! Hopefully she will call me with another tale of her life at Crawfish Creek Manor very soon.

On page 70 of the new book and these distractions are at times refreshing!

10.24.2014 ajm

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