Recalling my anniversary date of July 19, 2018, I had risen from my bed in Pass Christian, MS in order to make breakfast for 7:00 a.m. in the AFRH cafeteria.

At 9:a.m. I met Smitty, one of the volunteer residents, who ushered me through the numerous tasks that had to be checked off during that day and the following days.
Health evaluation, Mail unit number, Room number, I.D. Card, Psychological test, then the Business office to determine my monthly fees.

Regarding my fee arrangement, I was completely surprised that for this year, I was only charged against my social security income and not my annuity. I surmise that will take place later.

Perhaps beginning next year.

The list of check offs lasted through the afternoon and then I returned to my home in Pass Christian. Since I was advised of my report-in-date just the previous month, the past several weeks were hectic while being devoted to giving away furniture, crafts, cookware, clothes, etc. I had found but few buyers interested in
purchasing from my rather large inventory.

I stayed the night in the Pass since the following day was my big move to the Veterans Retirement Home. Fortunately, I had the help of two good-hearted fellows at no cost to me.

I followed up with several trips back and forth in my auto in order to bring in my saved items. Now, I am almost completely settled in my suite. Furniture deployed, computer and accessories arranged, and most of my pictures were hung.

During chow time, for the first week, I sat at different tables in gaining acquaintance with members of my new society. I was to learn that some talked and some only mumbled and others were silent. A few even resented my presence at their table. No mind – I moved on to the next to introduce myself. “Hi, I’m Dan from Pass Christian!” Finally, I began sitting at one approachable table and learned their names: Ed, a 95-year-old golf player on 3-days-a-week, retired Naval Chief Petty Officer whom I refer to as the “Sage.” He knows about everything regarding the Military Retirement system – more so because he is the longest living resident of the Home, having more than twenty years. He is well read and well spoken and knows about everything else but maintains his quiet except with some outspoken
criticisms of the system. He is a good source of information. Card-playing Stan is the quiet Air Force Master Sergeant who became a truck driver after military retirement.

Chip, is the youth among the others, perhaps early 60s in age who volunteers in D Tower with the chair bound invalid residents. Ninety-six-year-old Pete, with a “rollater,” manages to work out for a half-hour every morning in the gym. He is proud of being a former Mardi Gras parade King for the Home.

Note: When I had arrived a year ago, there was strife in the air with grumblings and dissatisfactions with the system because rental increases had been announced. These guys don’t hold back on their grudges. About 70 Residents had left due to the higher rental rates, however, all seems to be well at this time.

Dan Ellis

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