Stories of a Lifetime

Everyone has a story. And perhaps none more than senior citizens. Last week, I went around town and sat down with several individuals to talk about, well, whatever they wanted to talk about. It was truly incredible to hear their stories, and I’m so excited to share them with you.


LtColMaryFrancisClark“Nothing scared me going into it because I didn’t know what I was going to face. My father had more of an objection than anything because he had an old attitude about females in the military, but I was more determined to do what I wanted to do. I went in as a dietitian in 1965, but once there, I was a dietitian as well as a soldier. So I had to become a soldier.”

– Lt. Col. Mary Francis Clark, Treyton Oak Towers


AnneAlbinHayes“Girls didn’t call boys back then, but I got up the nerve and called him and said, ‘Would you be interested in going to the Sadie Hawkins dance that my sorority’s having?’ And he said, ‘Would I!’”

“It turned out great. Because six months later, I realized: ‘I’m gonna ask this gal to marry me.’”

– Anne and Albin Hayes, Treyton Oak Towers


HoneyMcCall“It’s tough getting old, but we still have lots of laughs. And I think we have a lot to offer young people. Our stories are interesting – we can tell stories to keep the young people from making the mistakes we made. I’d say, keep moving, keep laughing, don’t quit. Don’t sit down and quit. Life’s just too beautiful.”

– Honey McCall, Masonic Home Village


MildredFleischmann“I was racing sports cars in the ’50s, and what I loved was the competition. It was big thrill to win and especially to have little kids come up and ask you for your autograph. I felt like big time. There is a book though called ‘Women in Sports Car Racing,’ and I have a full-page picture of myself carrying both trophies – my husband’s and mine. And it ran a quote of mine, something to the effect of, ‘Women who race sports cars have a definite advantage in today’s world.’”

– Mildred Fleischmann, Masonic Home Village


JerrisMallory“I worked at PoFolks for 15 years, and I moved up from waitress to manager. There was one couple – the man always said ‘Psst!’ loudly to try to get his waitress. And the waitress came to me and said, ‘Jerris, this man won’t talk to us right.’ And I said, ‘Well, wait a minute and I’ll do it.’ And so I went up, took their order and said, ‘My name is Jerris – don’t forget it!’ And then he started that ‘Psst! Psst!’ thing and I wouldn’t answer him. Then finally, I went over to his table and said, ‘Do you all want anything else?’ And he said, ‘Well, I’ve been calling you and calling you!’ And I looked at him and said, ‘That’s the way you call for a dog, and you know what a female dog is.’ His face turned bright red, and his wife said, ‘I am so glad you said that!’ And then they’d come in all the time and he’d always say, ‘I want Jerris’s table.”

– Jerris Mallory, Clark Rehabilitation and Skilled Nursing


RosieBrown“I was taking art lessons one day, and I was talking to the girl who was teaching. I told her about how I have so many grandchildren and this guy turned around and said, ‘You’re either Catholic, or you’re sexy.’ I said, ‘I’m both.’”

– Rosie Brown, The Forum at Brookside


JerryHarrah“I was freelancing interior design out of my home, and then I decided that I wanted to have a shop. So I bought a building on Bardstown Road, and I had my interior design business there while we lived up above. And that had always been a dream of mine – to have a shop and live upstairs above it. You know I’ve always believed and still do believe – I don’t think anything is impossible. In fact the word ‘impossible,’ if you split it, it’s ‘I’m possible.’”

– Jerry Harrah, Treyton Oak Towers


BobMcElya“My favorite show I did was ‘Cyrano de Bergerac’ not just because I played Cyrano. But two years later, I was in stock theatre – I had done some silly show. And there was a couple that wanted to talk to me after the show. And the man was the grandson of the original Cyrano – and he had seen the ‘Cyrano’ that I was in – and he said, ‘I hope my grandfather was as good as you.’”

– Bob McElya, Masonic Home Village


CarleneClay“In 1952, my husband and I flew from Knoxville, Tennessee to Cincinnati. It was a prop plane we flew on and the weather was a little turbulent. The plane went up and down the whole time, and I said ‘I’ll never get on a plane again.’ But when I was 65, I thought, I’ve had such a good life, much better than so many people have. And if I took this trip to Europe and something happened, I wouldn’t regret it because I had such a good life before. If this was my time to go, that would be okay. And I thoroughly enjoyed that trip to England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales.”

– Carlene Clay, Elmcroft at Oaklawn


DrKenPetersRhoda“We had a little house on Broadway for women and children, but it was very antiquated and very small. And the need for women was equal to or greater than the need for men, and we hadn’t dealt with that. But they were kind enough to let me choose who I thought ought to direct the new women’s program. And Rhoda took us on a retreat with the entire board of directors. She led us through a strategic plan, and we came out with this plan – the goal was, in five years, to break ground on a new women’s center in some part of town. Five years later, Rhoda and I were part of the shovel that broke ground on the $19 million-dollar women’s facility. There’s nothing in the country equal to it today, and she was a part of that.”

– Dr. Ken Peters, co-founder of The Healing Place, pictured here with his wife, Rhoda, Treyton Oak Towers


Joyce“I always wanted my kids to do something that they wanted to do. That they would be happy doing. We never said, ‘You have to do this,’ but rather, ‘Do what you want to do and just be happy.’ And they’re both very happy doing what they are now. And that’s so gratifying.”

– Joyce White, Forum at Brookside


BigAl“Myra drove the bus on moving here. She saw that it would be in our best interest if we did this together while we were still capable and moving around – when we didn’t need to do this. To do this before it’s needed is the right way to do it. She saw that and knew that we should do it together before we had to. Because if one of you croaks and the other one’s left behind – I’m so glad that we’ve done this.”

“I will tell you, every day, every single day, we say, ‘Isn’t this a beautiful place?’”

– “Big” Al and Myra Early, Forum at Brookside


“Well there’s something that happens that shouldn’t, but when a mate passes away, your friends sort of change. Even though we had a group of friends in the neighborhood, it seemed like the death was a new thing. It was like, if I want to remain friends with these people, I’m going to have to leave to keep this friendship.”

– Doris Lester, Masonic Home


“My husband I were staunch Republicans. And then, for some reason, I got three liberal daughters! They’re all going to vote for Hillary! My husband always said, ‘It’s your fault!’ And I would say, ‘Well, I did tell them to think.’”

– Laurie Carrigan, Masonic Home


Debra“I would want to tell the young people that if they have goals, to work hard to pursue those goals, to not to give up and to just keep those goals in mind so that they can do whatever they want to do. Keep those goals ahead of you and realize you can reach that mark in life if you really want to.”

– Debra Toran, ASC


GladysFried“I’m of German ancestry, so we had sauerbraten, which I loved cooking. My grandmother was from Germany and she taught me how to make noodles for different dishes. I always loved making those for everybody.”

– Gladys Fried, Elmcroft at Oaklawn

Photos by MICKIE WINTERS