Nichols Village

“Our lives can’t be measured by our final years, of this I am sure.” – Nicholas Sparks

​This past Monday, November 13th 2014, I had the privilege of spending an hour with two elderly women at Nichols Village Retiring Community. At first, this little field trip seemed like a drag. I work in the dining room at Nichols Village on weeknights as a server to these people, so the prospect of hanging out with them seemed dry at best.

​However, I was remarkably surprised. Walking into the dining room led by Joan Joy, my chosen woman from the community, I was already feeling in good spirits based solely on how excited Joy was. She was a mess of energy, practically dragging me to the table we chose by the window. My fellow classmate Davis Jackson was walking by with his woman, Evy Webber, as Joy shouted out “Evy! Where are you going? Come sit with us!” Suddenly the awkwardness just melted away, had there been any left in the first place.

​Davis asked his questions based on Jimmy Kimmel, asking the ladies if they knew who the vice president was, what the original 13 colonies were, etc. They had a blast with this, Joy taking the lead as she struggled over his questions and complimented how fun it was to find the answers. For me personally it was kind of amazing seeing these women outside of dinner service.

​We quickly found out that Joy, the chattier of the two women, got married at age 20 to a 31 year old man. Their marriage lasted 59 years. We discovered that she had taught 4-6 at the Page School and was also a substitute art teacher. She recalled hilarious circumstances from when she was teaching about elevator evacuation to misinterpretations of the art work her high school students were drawing. Joy seemed to have had a happy, spunky life.

​When the focus of the conversation shifted to Webber, however, the mood instantly changed. She told us she had been a child of divorce, entirely uncommon back then, and that she grew up in the depression. She had her first job at 11 years old. The atmosphere at the table was silent but charged. Everyone was focusing their attention solely on Webber’s story.

​She told us she wasn’t very close with her family. Her sister was a full 10 years older than her. Then, one day, she heard of a man called Southwell that a friend met in Boston. She soon found out that this was her uncle, and that he wanted to meet her. One day she just took her three kids and traveled into Boston to meet this stranger, nervous of what she would find. Webber was pleasantly surprised to discover that this man had every intention of being in her life and the sense of family was immediate. They grew extremely close and their relationship flourished. It was only later that Webber discovered that her older sister had known about her uncle and had contact with him while she was in the dark, not knowing of his existence. Of course her uncle had no idea of this betrayal. He took her in almost as if she were his daughter, and treated her children like grandchildren. At this point, Joy interrupted, saying “Evy is the most loving, wonderful person. She takes in rescue dogs!” This immediately cleared the air of seriousness. The story had Davis and I awestruck, of course, but we quickly picked up our jaws and smiled at Joy’s comment.

​As the interview went on, we not only learned that Joy’s favorite O.P.I nail polish was “not so bora-boring”. We learned that Webber brings her little dog around in the basket in her walker everywhere. What I assumed would be a boring hour and a half turned into an extremely cultural experience almost. I felt privileged to have gotten the chance to get to know these women and about their lives. They were open in honest in a way that you truly only see in young children today. This encounter made me grateful for my job and also made me feel excited about where my life will take me. It was quite an experience.