WHEN WE MOVED here in the summer of 2009, early on I sat down in the lounge with the Residents' Picture Directory. It's a good way to pair names with faces. I soon discovered that with the press of other important matters, the directory had been neglected for some time and a year later, when we took on the task of updating the book, 39 residents didn't even have a page in the album. Many of the existing pictures had none of the interesting, biographical information below the images. Between us, Mr. Bob and I decided to bring the directory up to date. Of course, the job is never finished as people continue to move in. I interviewed a gentleman just yesterday. It's an interesting job and takes relatively little time. 8 questions to be answered, getting the person to relax enough to get a
good picture, then I write up the answers on the computer, download and print the picture. Mr. Bob does the paste-up, inserts it in a plastic sleeve, goes downstairs and puts it in the notebook. And there you have it!
When I was interviewing Betty, one of the new residents who was among those displaced from another retirement facility, we were going right along and when I came to the question "Education?" (one lady replied, "Yes" and I giggled for I do feel it an
intrusive question, somehow, maybe because of my own drop-out tendencies) Betty's answer was "One year at Blackburn College". Inside my head, bells rang, a light flashed. Blackburn? The college in Carlinville, Illinois, the little town where my father was born and my mother taught high school? The town of 5,000 people? Yes, indeed.
Carlinville is one of those little midwestern towns with a town square and a bandstand in the middle. My aunt and uncle owned a jewelry store on the square for years. The whole setting is pure Americana.
Only yesterday, a knock came on our door and there stood Betty with a portly gentleman who, as a Blackburn representative was visiting alumni, just to be sure that all is well (and possibly hoping for a donation). It boggles my mind, that sort of thing does and once again I had the same urge to tell my mother (the other time was when Eulalie, who illustrated my childhood copy of "Mother Goose", came to the store and autographed the book I received as a three year old.)
A little add-on to this story is that I've been contemplating an idea but knew it had to be approved by the higher-ups. Today I asked and was granted permission to compile a Staff Directory to be placed in the Manor Lounge. Mr. Bob has agreed to continue pasting. Life is good.