March 31

Assisted Living Residents Share Childhood Memories

By Rick Banas of Gardant Management Solutions

In a Blog we posted last week, I shared an idea on communicating with older adult loved ones during a time when so many of us are impacted by stay-at-home, shelter-in-place and quarantine directives because of the coronavirus and COVID-19.

The idea stems from one of the things we are doing with the residents at the senior living, assisted living and memory care communities Gardant manages.

Older adult loved ones have a lifetime of memories and experiences; we are asking them to share them with us.

Likewise, when you are communicating with your loved ones, ask them to share those memories and experiences with you.

At our end, we began by asking residents to tell us about their childhood. What did they do when school was out? What games did they play? What is their fondest memory of their childhood?

Their responses illustrate how much life has changed.

After school let out, helping around the house and homework most often came first. Play happened only if and when chores and homework were finished. Play was outdoors, weather permitting.

Jump rope, hopscotch, hide and seek, jacks and all kinds of ball games were the most frequently mentioned games that residents played growing up. Monopoly was the most mentioned board game.

Other games referenced by residents included checkers and Chinese checkers; dress-up, house and school; fox and hen; horseshoes; kick-the-can; marbles; mother-may-I; pick-up sticks; red rover; and tag.

A sampling of responses from residents about “what I did when school was out” and “my fondest childhood memory” follow:

What I did when school was out.

After school, walked home, did homework, played or ran outside until supper. Evenings played games and worked on projects. Listened to the radio after helping with dishes and garbage.

Went barefoot; helped my Mom with housework and laundry. She taught me how to cook and bake.

We lived on a farm and I had chores to do. I carried in wood for the wood-burning cook stove; gathered eggs from the chicken house; and hung up the family’s laundry on the outside clothesline in the summer.

Cleaned house and started the meal for dinner.

Did chores to help Mom prepare for winter. It was very hard living in Mississippi.

Raised a garden; visited family; worked on the farm.

Gardening; helped with canning; played with my siblings.

In grade school, played. In high school, worked.

Homework, then outside to play until dinner. No one was sitting or on a phone.

Summer picnics, neighborhood ball games, and celebrating the holidays with our large family.

Changed into my bathing suit and swam. Ice skated and tobogganed down hills. Played outside.

Rode my bike; went to Tennessee to visit my maternal grandparents. When Uncle John was doing field work, we rode on the tractor’s fenders.

Did homework; read books; helped at home; went to the store for groceries.

Played in the yard. We had kittens to play with.

Played with horses; worked on the farm; cooked.

Playing in the neighborhood; in August, went to visit kinfolk.

Played basketball with my brother, his friends and two of my girlfriends. Our team was well-known at the lake.

Ran track and field; worked at home for extra money.

Built models.

Helped my mother with the canning; went to the County Fair for several nights to ride the rides with the boys.

Played and helped Mom with cleaning and housework when I was young. At 15, got a job.

Stayed home; helped tend the farm; fed the animals.

Pulled weeds; mowed the yard; carried wood; fed chickens. We had no homework. We had no air conditioning and no electricity until I was 11.

Worked on a farm. Never saw any of my schoolmates until September when school started again.

Went into the woods nearby to pick wildflowers.

Went outside and played hopscotch; then inside and played music.

Changed out of school clothes then helped my mother with supper.

Dad was a welder, so I got to go help.

Played as much as possible in my bare feet.

Watched TV. It was black and white. I loved watching cartoons on Saturday mornings. The programs went off the air when it got dark.

My fondest childhood memory.

Playing paper dolls with my sister; exploring the attic with me brother.

Playing with neighborhood children outside.

I was the first girl at Morton High School to study vocational electric mechanics; repairing school TVs, radios and teacher’s car radios.

When my father took us to Montrose Beach on Lake Michigan on a hot summer evening and taught me how to swim when I was quite young.

Going to Riverview to ride the roller coasters, eat cotton candy and win prizes.

Going to the carnival and drive-in movies; Easter and Christmas plays; activities at church.

Loved going on family picnics and to the County Fair.

My father would take me to Shirley Temple movies; sometimes my brother would take me.

The children’s section of the library was on the lowest floor of an old mansion in the middle of town. It was wonderful to walk into after walking there on a hot summer day.

Saturday mornings at the library when the librarian would read us stories.

Doing my paper route. The monies went to my Dad who used all of my and my brother’s monies to purchase his first bakery.

Walking in the woods with my dog.

When I got my first car.

When I graduated from 8th grade, I got a brand-new, beautiful girl’s bike, which I rode to high school.

My first record player and records.

Doing things with my friends. They would come over and watch TV because my Dad always kept them laughing.

Joining 4-H.

Spending time with grandma. Her and Mom taught me to sew, crochet, cook and bake. Getting a nickel for a Pepsi or Payday.

Watching my Mom put on her make-up and watching her sew my clothes on the old sewing machine.

Summers in Seaside, New Jersey, next to Barnegat Bay with friends and family; crabbing, sewing, swimming, sailing and rowing.

Going to my grandmother’s house. I loved her garden and her cooking.

Going to town on Saturdays; to church on Sundays.

Being maid-of-honor at my sister’s wedding when I was 12.

Getting to know my sister and brothers; they were older than me.

Going camping every weekend. Roasting marshmallows over the campfire. Catching fish in the rivers.

On Sundays, church and Sunday school; visiting with relatives at their house or ours; the special meals.

Our close family ties were a great support. Also walking through rows and rows of apple trees in bloom and literally inhaling the fragrance. The beauty of the apple blossoms.

Went to Chicago to shop for a pair of shoes and a purse for my 8th birthday.

My Dad took us to Chicago on a train to see Santa and have lunch at Marshall Field.

Being around family. My Dad was the best. I would sit on the floor by him and he would tell me things about his childhood.

Skiing down a hill called 22 bumps; visiting grandma’s farm.

When my Daddy, who was a truck driver, would come in off the road.

When my Dad took the four of us to Montgomery Wards and bought my brother a red 20” bicycle and me a blue 24” bicycle with training wheels. Also, the nice swing set he built us.

I’m proud to have grown up back when we had an outhouse and no car or electricity. Some people can’t imagine how it would be to live that way.

In the summer, I got to go spend two weeks with the Grandma and Grandpa. It was the best two weeks of the year.

When my Dad made the world’s largest cake. It was in the stadium in Evansville. It was called the fellowship cake. The stadium was filled with people. We got our picture in the paper. It was so cool.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

15 + 5 =