Patricia Craig Johnson --- Searching for My Ancestors --- Sharing My Life Stories

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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Motley Crew of DMA Plaza

Tonight was a really fun night at my home --- DMA Plaza in Fort Collins, Colorado.

For those that don't know, it is a senior housing apartment building that is eleven stories tall and dates from the early 1970's. Some folks say, "I just couldn't live in a place like that." But I am here to tell you it is a one of a kind experience to live here. We are a vast collection of different personalities, colors, and appearances. There are 126 apartments in this building and most have one resident but several have couples as well. These folks are not of the affluent group as far as money is concerned. They aren't even all of the kind and gentle senior citizen model (if there really is such a group). We get acquainted slightly as we pass in the halls, entrances, or the social center, known as the laundry room.

I have lived here for two years and I can't think of living anywhere else. I am perfectly happy here. No leaves to rake, no snow to shovel, no grass to mow -- its really nice -- unless you like to do those things. I usually come and go, doing my own things with just a friendly hello to those I meet as I pass.

However, a new couple moved in here a few months ago and they decided to try something new. A DMA Karaoke Night. Slowly the group started filtering in the Community Room. It started at 6pm but it was about 7pm before the curious started coming in. The loud music was hard to ignore and I am sure it resonated for quite a few floors up through the building. Soon the room was full of all sorts of people. It was a fun night as we all listened to songs from better days and each had our own memories of that music. There were a few brave ones that got up and sang with the music and the magic microphones that make people sound like better singers than they really are. There were a lot of old fashioned love songs, country western, classic, and rock and roll songs. There wasn't a still foot in the whole room as you couldn't help tapping along to the music.

The crowd was an interesting mix of folks that are in various health states, mental states, inhouse romances, and even a sort of sad love triangle. People that have lived a rough life, suffered tragedies, health problems and as always, money problems. No one here is rich -- at least as far as money is concerned. Life here is a struggle for many reasons for many people. As I looked around the room I saw that for these few hours we were all young again and laughing again and happy again.

Yes, your humble correspondent even braved it to go up and sing -- but only in a group of more than one. We all laughed at each other and ourselves. It was fun.

As we finally had to call it a night and go back to our apartments there was not a grumpy face in the whole lot. It just goes to prove that you don't need a fancy environment to have a good time and feel good about your neighbors. Tomorrow we may all go back to our "normal" world, but for tonight we were transformed somewhere else. Where in the world can a person walk a few feet, enjoy a fun night, and not have to go out in the cold or drive anywhere? I wouldn't trade it for anything and I am grateful to live here.

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