Lucy and I walked into the dining room at The Claiborne at Adelaide. We saw a bobbing sea of white-haired residents seated at tables covered appropriately with white tablecloths. A petite lady sat alone at one of the tables, and we asked if we could join her.

As we introduced ourselves, I realized that she was Nita, and I had seen her name on the Welcome Home board in the lobby. Nita was a pleasant lady with a ready smile with wrinkles that told us that she smiled often. I imagine that in her youth she might have been a cheerleader.

We found common ground in that we all had previously lived in Atlanta, and we talked of places we knew and missed. We had a delicious salad with cranberries and lots of walnuts, and I remarked that the salad would be as good as one would get at Atlanta’s best restaurants.

Somehow our conversation came around to Lucy’s 1975 300D Mercedes that we drove for over 400,000 miles, and that we sold the vehicle because we could no longer find parts. Lucy loved this old car, and she almost cried when the buyer picked it up. Nita also owned a Mercedes, but it was only three years old.

Nita seemed happy as she told us of her daughter and grandchildren who lived nearby. She came to The Claiborne to be near them. She also mentioned her other children and seemed proud of them. She was a widow, as are the majority of residents here.


This was the third time that Nita had lived here. She had to leave to recover from a broken hip and then she had to leave for recovery from a heart attack. She was optimistic and hoped to gain back weight that she had lost. She was not a complainer and she handled her misfortunes well.

Nita asked about our lives and I told her of my long career in business. I also mentioned my book Depression Baby, that I had just completed the audio with my son Bradford, and that he was also my editor and publisher. She thought this father/son act was great, and said that she wanted to read the little book.

We were looking forward to dining with Nita again, but this was not to be. She slipped away from us sometime during the night, and we would never again have the pleasure of her company.

Click HERE to order Ray’s book Depression Baby: True Stories from Growing Up During the Great Depression in Appalachia — and Other Things…