"I lived in Arlington for 45 years. I loved my apartment. It was on the third floor. It was perfect. That's why I'm here. I had a stroke and lay on the floor for three days. Luckily a friend came to visit. I called to her from the bedroom that I could hear her but I couldn't get up. The Police were called. I was taken to the hospital. That's why I'm here".
P. tells her story from a wheelchair, while looking out the window at a snowy courtyard. She likes to sit here daily and meditate on the changing beauty of the trees, the light from above, the appearance of a pair of mated Ducks resting in the Koi pond. Another woman passes by, pushing her walker with a wire basket, stuffed with books and newspapers, hanging askew. "By the Grace of God" she begins, "I'm alive. I had something wrong with my brain. I lay on the floor. I was in a coma. The next thing I know I'm here. God is good". C. likes to perform on the baby grand in the lobby. Drink to me only with thine eyes. An old hymn. Year round she shares Jingle Bells.
E. wheels her noisy multi colored wheelchair into the office. Tote bags and handbags, bells, oxygen tubing and stickers arrive before she does. She has something to share. "I was at Mount Auburn yesterday for my appointments. I stuffed small bags with chocolate while waiting and gave them out to staff. It made their day. Someone gave me this piece of art." She shows off a C.D. with a small box glued to the front. In the box are beads, a tiny gold castle glued to a christmas ornament, buttons buried in white glue and glitter. There are two wings with valentine hearts glued to the back of the c.d. It's decided that a project like this needs to be made in one of the crafting classes that are offered. E's story is different. She's young. She is very very smart. She suffers from disorders that make people pull away. ADHD/BiPolar/and many pages of physical complaints, heart, lung. Her heart and mind were broken after a loved one's murder.
And there is O. O. is new. Her conversation involves being the child of Austrian parents, her father a friend of Hitler. Her work with the space program. She wears black thick rimmed glasses. She shows off her Monet or is it a Renior? Was it $300 or $30,000? She sleeps in a chair sitting up. She's funny and witty and gets up every time the doorbell to her apartment rings, "coming". Nurses, Aides, the pharmacy delivering medications. She still has filters, please and thank you, appreciation, understanding and wonder.