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Resident Voice Entries 2011

Welcome to the Consumer Voice Residents' Rights Month Resident Voice Entries page. As stories and entries from our network of residents and providers come in, we will continue to post them on this page. Please check back periodically to find and read some amazing entries submitted from around the nation.


I grew up in New York City in Manhattan and I remember the window of my room overlooking the Central Park. The apartment was near the Metropolitan Museum of Art and it was very beautiful and I can still see from my window the people strolling in the park and playing with their dogs.

I had not many friends in the city and as such my fond memories of growing up are with the summers that my family spent in Long Island Sound. The summer would start with a three hour car trip to our summer house that was near Jones beach. My summer days were on the beach with my friends, swimming and when we had a grown up with a boat, sailing into the Sound. My father kept working during the week and he would reach us on Friday evening and then leave on Monday morning. It was a ritual on the summer months to wait for him and for my favorite pastries he would bring me and for the news that he will discuss with my mother. My father would spend all his summer weekends working in the garden with his flowers and his herbs and his carrots. He was always asking me to help him with the garden but I was a big disappointment for him as I would prefer to play with my friends on the beach.

While the summer months are still in my eyes, I also remember the other months spent on the Long Island Sound. Often my father would pack the family in the car and we would drive three hours to spend a quiet weekend on the Sound. My father would work on his garden and my mother read her books while I would walk around to avoid the garden work. The Sound would be a very different place with no one of my summer friends but I still liked it.

Growing up in the city the moment I remember most is my Debutant ball held when I was 18 years old for my presentation to the society. I remember how long I waited for it looking my older friends going to their debutant ball. At the ball after the drinks were served the debutants line up at the dancing floor and then the music started. Each lady was properly asked and the couple would dance. I danced and I still remember it and it was beautiful. We were now in the society and we were enjoying it. I do not know if today they held debutant balls or if it is as it was then but it was magic and it was beautiful.



(video length ~6 mins)

My favorite memory growing up in Montgomery County MD was going to the Movie Theater on Saturday with my brothers and the other kids from my neighborhood. It was the main event of the week! We were together at school during the week, but somehow going to the movies was a more meaningful and closer experience. From our house it was a nice walk and we would carry the bag of popcorn my mother had prepared. We would speak about what happened in the past week in the neighborhood and what we would do after the movie and the coming holidays. 
The Movie Theater does not exist anymore, torn down years ago when highway and tall buildings replaced farms and fields, but it was beautiful and it was a nice and comfortable place to be with my friends and not to be at school. After the movie, usually we would walk back home and the boys would play horseshoes, while I would work in the kitchen preparing the soup for the big meal on Sunday after mass, when my aunt from Virginia would come and a few neighbors would join my family.
Now my friends come to visit me, fewer and fewer as time goes by. When they come we would go back to our memory of the Movie Theater and remember our friends and what happened to them and what we were doing then.
Sometimes, watching an old movie on the television with my new community of friends in the nursing home brings back many memories of the time together with my friends in the old Movie Theater. The memories are strong and comfortable and it is nice to return back to the old Theater.



I grew up in Cambridge MA near Boston in a Catholic neighborhood. The Catholic school was in front of the public school and naturally I, with my eight siblings and the kids in my neighborhood, all went to the Catholic school. I remember the day when the school’s chapel was inaugurated by the Cardinal of Boston. My friends and I participated to the inauguration ceremony and I was all dressed in cardinal red, from the red shoes to the red bow on my head. I was beautiful and I still remember the mass and the ceremony and everyone watching me. The Catholic school was the center of the community life and its theater staged many plays with the kids taking their first acting step in front of the whole neighborhood. My grandmother would always bring us to the plays. A few times I acted, wearing dresses that my mother would sew for me as nobody would have thought to buy play dresses at that time. 
The community event I remember most fondly was in winter when all the neighborhood kids would go to the nearby frozen lake to spend the afternoon together. My brothers would be ice skating but my mother would not allow me, because skating was not lady-like and even so young I was a proper lady. 
On Patriot Day the local ice creamery was giving free ice cream to all the kids. I remember the small portion but it was free and it was the best ice cream I can remember. Later on the neighborhood would get together to watch the big bonfire along the South River. 
I was back in the neighborhood a few years later and the community was not the same. My friends were not there anymore and the neighbors I knew had all moved out. While few houses had been completely renovated, most have been replaced by modern apartment buildings. Only the Catholic school had remained there and I still could see its walls and its windows and the playground where the community was getting together on the weekends.

Resident Name: Ms. Sally Swanson

 Click here to see a number of videos of Sally and her husband, Floyd.

I grew up, the oldest of three sisters, in Peabody, Massachusetts, the North Shore of Boston. Living near the Atlantic Ocean meant trips to the beach, pints of fried clams and “frappes” as we called ice cream milk shakes in New England. We lived in a duplex house while my father single handedly built a new house nearby—an amazing achievement! We lived across from a Catholic Seminary which eventually sold out and became the North Shore Shopping Center, the largest of the newly emerging shopping malls in the Boston area.

I loved music, took violin lessons and I also loved dancing and as a teen-ager I was good at that, often winning contests that were popular in the ‘50s. I often went to Saturday night dances at the “Boathouse” on a lake in Wakefield. There I met a young man then in the Navy serving during the Korean War, the year was 1954. Trips to the beaches of Gloucester, more fried clams, frappes and swimming in the cold ocean waters north of Boston became our life. Soon we were engaged and after being discharged from the Navy, he was enrolled at Boston University on the “GI Bill.” We were married in ’59, moved to Boston while he was pursuing his studies and I got a job at Harvard Business School.

Then JFK was elected President and working for the US Government became what everyone coveted. We packed up all of our belongings in a ’51 Chevy and drove south, much to both of our families dismay, to VA and then MD. From the Army Corps of Engineers my husband moved on to a career at NIH. I also worked there several years and so did our two beautiful daughters. We were blessed with a wonderful grandson, now five and growing fast.

We discovered tennis, it became our passionate past-time shared among our community and we loved going to tournaments. We found a great church. I also took art classes, painted water colors, entered them into shows and I was thrilled to win ribbons. Despite our New England origins we learned to love country and blue grass music--Willie Nelson, Lyle Lovett, John Prine, Emmy Lou Harris, Doc Watson, Vince Gill, Dr. John and many more—memorable performances at the Birchmere and Wolf Trap. In the summer time we always traveled back to our roots for vacation, mostly up to Maine, Popham Beach, and Booth Bay Harbor. A little sailing, more of those fried clams, some lobster, and blueberry pie. John Prine’s song “In Spite of Ourselves” a duet with Iris Dement, sums it up, “…he’s my sweetie, I’m his honey, never gonna let him go.” That’s still us.



I grew up in a small town East of Williamsburg VA along the James River. It was a small farm community and the school was the center of the community life. After I married young and moved away, the school was torn down and the kids were bussed to different schools and the community spirit was lost. 
Coming back from school I would smell the aroma of freshly baked rolls from Aunt Bertha, an old woman who lived down the road. I still can smell the rolls and it was the strongest call for all the kids of the neighborhood. We would go by to get our roll and enjoy it while speaking of who has done what at the school and what we would do in the afternoon. 
The strongest and dearest community memory is the Maypole Day Party, held on the first of May, when a tall pole was erected in front of the school and long colorful strings of paper were attached to it. Everyone would take a string, extend it out and start dancing around the pole, careful not to tangle with other dancers. Basketball was played on the school play ground and in the afternoon a Queen and a King would be elected to lead dancing during the evening and the night. The whole neighborhood was there and everyone enjoyed the Maypole Day Party. Unfortunately, sometimes the Maypole party became an opportunity of one-upmanship between families and this affair sometimes was funny and sometimes was not. I have not been back to the small town in a long time. I have been told that everyone moved away and perhaps the Maypole Day Party is not celebrated there anymore, but it is nice to remember as it was, and to be back there with the kids of the neighborhood.

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