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we spent our entire lives in the community jobs family homes neighborhoods they all provide a sense of place and the longing as we grow older the texture of our lives change is especially for those who choose to live in a retirement community presbyterian homes is one such place located in evanston it was one of the first retirement communities in the country to offer continuing care residents live on their own and townhouses and then when necessary move onto assisted care apartments or to the nursing facility presbyterian homes has a fitness center library and beauty shop it's not cheap but five hundred and thirty people ages sixty five to one hundred and six call it home as part of our chicago matters series our region our community producer joe richmond went to presbyterian homes and got to know its residents give a few of them tape recorders to keep an audio diary of their lives in retirement this is
their story in their own words is an a part one of three my name is joseph g r a p e i n e the hard way i'm eighty eight years old i was a free show up until a couple years ago and after the lash to balk that i had with hospital came up with the hair we called presbyterian home which and said this is the place to be heard
from here show a shoulder beautiful car my wife this cadillac for our charade ended though they tire on the back reads another line why or will it look like the titanic when i came here i shall it was assumed many years ago when the gavel you have a family and i guess there is something to be said for a day and at the same time it's a nice feeling to know you can be cured forward without that the beginning of the family returning to mount one nice thing about being here are so many active in so many movies we can see we can have our ekg year
dentistry gadgetry you're a men's we're better st louis well i mean new ericsson i and soon going to be ninety six years old now one thing monday over breakfast breakfast is served in seven thirty we cannot go down in robes and for a parisian kurdish jamie grace josh's and i complain about the law mandates there's so much activity going on here let
me get to the place where you feel your age or just acknowledge than i'm thankful you don't have to do anything suddenly some odd years trigger at religiously i'm at now and our story were lovers twelve years old and now i'm allowed my daughter loved me trees are the wretched day one actor burt was one after lunch and one after dinner that show as far my problem i had this thing to trot around with whelan that goddamn thing around all day it's a great place to which are attached us tilting that you put into your nose and you turned the oxygen on ago that the viewer knows and in the orange
and how should only marry ago rebecca my room now and i am taking my daily ration of race in xinjiang every year but this should be interesting plastic jar to top with white worries since covered with gm and we don't stand for a couple weeks a puff up of a bitch and then you eat nine everyday it not a group and although i i sometimes hear my tears and some people claim that it helps arthritis and i and that's been here for maybe two or three eighths
i have been in this room now for over five years and realized i had some i didn't change their names but my guess its interests that's used to make here so they know china's gone and i know that not a good feeling but don't forget this year's juniors seniors and globally society brand women to npr one day i was
in new orleans the next census but the next day i was the master of my own destiny and sinatra's as i did my wife now all of a sudden i have to be dependent on somebody ought to sometimes you know one adult for me and i don't want that like i think i had like i hear it would be should there and i had free i wouldn't be sitting here right now that a car on a day like this it out is to run it has been honey i'm at apple thirty on a saturday afternoon i'm sitting in my living
room is like you know a little bit about the house where we live it's called a townhouse it's been very intense navy blue robe and it's nice quite hear kurdish list include you're pretty good with america i knew her all i know just looking terrible ended their back and shaggy here in more than a year it is have a really nice head of hair my sister always teases him about his way he's still very thin rangy thin lanky long legs he's so tall and i'm sure it in the living room just denies is my walker is a
move all around here when i bought at the man but it comes to you know this is the cadillac of lee walker's and so i look at it and think it in one and i'm very grateful that i have can choose what happens to us i would never chosen this kind of body if i could've gotten another kind to indict hillary by from the chin up a cable through their down things are not so great ms mayfield i am elmore going down the
line we just always going to continue well he stays with me a lot of times when i know you'd rather do things he's not a very expressive or emotional person singular just a fact you don't mind but i bet i know and i just i feel like this is all that people feel if you were older that you don't wanna be a burden to anyone and especially not your husband ok i think i'll go get lots of something lead as usual as usual snack that
it was in my opinion but this is the westminster beauty salon and i double and joe johnson i'm getting on the haircuts right now and this is karen stern about having a sample of planning while treatments have had oil treatment and now she's having her hair styled and then she will be a raving beauty that this years and are ready i'm jack bauer wonders what i'm i'm i am on the american one woman than as joe johnson well to the hirshhorn on this issue
tickets for shelter and ice with and to greece smiling techies and i smell well it's nice to have somebody to hold your hand things get rough stuff her berber new show model i would too that was the beginning of that and this is very nice poem that sums up the chairman and director of missions for me for me and it's one she'd when bill it's been
a few years mm hmm this weekend korean war organization i first got here i thought it was all i waited for three years it was just five years ago audi to a dining room winner replaces high tailed it a baby eye what's up with that isn't the
case here eventually and most of the men sitting at that table there they're all people say when that you're a man that sat there every night of all there's like all you sit there and speak and well might have a dictaphone and there are different types of people there people there are bankers former heads of his is the lawyers over them into clothing man that we don't drop the same time as the saying goes i'm a new kid on the block so i sent over to the side right my little tank by myself and i'm sure that maybe these immensely me
yeah as i have m ward and they've your worldview is this guy's on legislation they really feel that way but i certainly don't think so i'm talking to my nephew now i am ninety six years old and he is eighty years old family that pretty much thrown up toy thick i can write longhand anymore may and their wheat thins our three fifth in and it's quite a different name and i'm very thankful that i think and i write an awful lot of the veterans thing i've written hundreds or maybe a few years that obligation and i don't think just when the weather's nice
very often a favor thanks for people that had an impact on my life all my life end i don't think anyone skinny and dozens of very close friend sue the years but i've had a few that i treasure they're all gone back to a close friendships take time and there there are a lot of wonderful people here you don't get to know them that well we get together in groups were together three meals a day but even those but you feel a very special if it's just a different relationship it takes time to build a relationship please finish
let's put it this way i've never wears a tiger my wife was she was very social so to speak my daughter is very central my son was exceedingly social and then i kept a lot of good books that i read i read the paper in the evening i watched television for a few hours and the latter is but he came to the door i might turn away i might say i'm sorry because they had that privilege but nevertheless i could not abide by no knock at the door i am unable to find anybody at maybe i'm not looking so hard maybe i'm not trying maybe i do not
have the forcefulness that an old salesman used to have you never know where you'll find somebody that you're a kid you never know i've been dying to sing a song for years to make it another old fashioned please may get another double old fashioned please make it for one who is new to join the disillusion crew make it for one of lowe's new refugee once high and mike castle i reign supreme and all what a castle built on a heavenly dream but quick as a lightning flash mike castle began to crash still make it another old fashion please and
i woke up early this morning i mean and i turned on the light and abandoned because their sleeves very soundly each morning i do wake up with some pain and discomfort in and then i get up and sit in the living room and look out the sun the morning sun is coming in through windows now and then it's a little crystal ball with hitting our chest in the middle of our living room and then the whole spectrum i can see on the wall behind it unfortunately i can also this he did a stunt double that religious or not i felt that after the second research you that i would be able to do more things and i wouldn't be game there's been a very pretty disappointed to me that the nie is not working and so that i have actually fallen even within the law or something i'm
extremely cautious and worrying fall that's what people that tactically when he said that time to x rays time there's nothing to do and i say well the man that did the first me for needing he says serving at least there's nothing can be done its thing can be done in you can we could put a brace on you from egypt to the toll it's where people wear them in him quite often made up her amputation kits all ways that you can come back and see me into a three months if you want to see it seemed marches so startled so there was some high hurry was it you know it takes one back and i think well enough that worked if it would help i would do it doesn't always
and i think that never be walking along i could people there but i'm hoping that i'll be that's because it's become but i think that even if i do become more disabled like i think of things that i could do it and my eyes are still think evidence that ali couldn't not pretty good faced a boy all sorts of things with my fingers are so bad and there's still nothing moves pro morsi others comes
again it's a very nice person and one of the first that i knew your top two runoff and she played bridge with some people friday night you're a sorry yesterday today he's going to be continually renaming them eustace distance you make any attempt to engage
i hope when life moments come i say i'm not afraid to die it will china may actually comes the selfie i have friends here that are very rarely i don't believe it michael to change and i will be in a better place maha helen jo johnson is a giant our way to two o'clock and then
mortgage who's your best wishes ihs at the few and far between brick homes and did you know him to be a part of berber want to say oh oh half and
i ms bienvenue well no i just came to visit me and whether jonah night but two great granddaughters is your key and that i grew up with you know neighborhood this as me that are going to allow this is it and according to his annotated was about five years old and when i look over i think everybody a marriage gone except me i alone left my head of family is important i think i'm beginning to feel i am more important to them than i ever realized later
life when i'm with my e grandchildren sometimes i realize how much i have stalled when you're in a place like this you have more time and ego think of your life my guess what i wish i had done differently about the people of an impact on my life my life have been rich with friendships true friendships and i think a lot about that is that today i think sometimes people do a great getting old you often hear that i would not want to relive my life there in london
wonderful memories that i am but i don't want to go back and going forward the last place diary of a retirement home was produced by joe richmond the editor was raw brand music was performed by george dan slott metzler mary jane recliner and monthly presbyterian home some longer thanks to ben shapiro deborah george sue johnson insurance smaller and special thanks to all the residents of presbyterian homes the executive producer of chicago matters is johannes org the audio producer is mary gaffney chicago matters is a joint project of wbez channel eleven the chicago public library and the chicago reporter chicago matters is funded by the chicago community trust chicago's community foundation helping people who are charitable
Chicago Matters
The Last Place: Diary of a Retirement Home
Producing Organization
American Diaries
WBEZ (Radio station : Chicago, Ill.)
Contributing Organization
The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia (Athens, Georgia)
If you have more information about this item than what is given here, or if you have concerns about this record, we want to know! Contact us, indicating the AAPB ID (cpb-aacip-526-db7vm4432m).
Episode Description
"A man gives up the keys to his four-door Cadillac Deville. A woman shares her secret concoction to relieve arthritis pain'nine gin-soaked raisins daily. Down the hall two residents meet, court and decide to get married. Behind another door a woman comes to terms with not being able to walk anymore. "Through audio diaries, this half-hour radio documentary follows the lives of a few residents of Presbyterian Homes in Evanston, Illinois. Residents were give tape recorders to document their lives in retirement. "'The characters grab you, the stories crackling with passion and truth' --The Washington Post 6/30/98 "'Diary of a Retirement Home' gives a group of elderly residents an opportunity -through audio diaries- to speak directly to the audience. The result is a powerful and innovative portrayal of life in retirement. Through the hopes, fears, daily chores and intimate whispers of a few residents, 'Diary of a Retirement Home' paints a picture in words and sounds that is unlike anything else ever heard on radio about the last stages of life."--1998 Peabody Awards entry form.
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Producer: Zorn, Johanna
Producer: Peine, Joe
Producing Organization: American Diaries
Producing Organization: WBEZ (Radio station : Chicago, Ill.)
Reporter: Peine, Joe
Reporter: Appleyard, Betty
Reporter: Erikson, Eleanor
Reporter: Appleyard, Dev
Writer: Appleyard, Betty
Writer: Appleyard, Dev
Writer: Erikson, Eleanor
Writer: Peine, Joe
AAPB Contributor Holdings
The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia
Identifier: cpb-aacip-669020cdc53 (Filename)
Format: Audio cassette
Duration: 00:30:00
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Chicago: “Chicago Matters; The Last Place: Diary of a Retirement Home,” 1998, The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed June 26, 2022,
MLA: “Chicago Matters; The Last Place: Diary of a Retirement Home.” 1998. The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. June 26, 2022. <>.
APA: Chicago Matters; The Last Place: Diary of a Retirement Home. Boston, MA: The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from