25 years and counting

July 27, 2016

Can you remember what you were doing in May of 1991? May 31, 1991 to be exact.

Mary Ruth can tell you what she was doing, because it was when she made the decision to move into a brand new senior Affordable Housing community in Southwest Philadelphia. In fact, she was one of the first residents to move in. As Ann Thomas Apartments, a Presby’s Inspired Life-sponsored community located on the 2000 block of S. 58th Street, gets ready to celebrate its 25th anniversary, Ruth took a few moments to reflect upon her time living there for the last quarter-century.

“What can I say? I just love it here,” said Ruth, who came to Philadelphia from Warren, Ohio in 1948. “The other tenants are very nice people. I’ve been here all these years and I never had one disagreement or argument with anybody.” But before moving in 25 years ago, Ruth was having disagreements with herself about moving into a senior Affordable Housing community.

At the time, Ruth, a retired nurse’s aide, was living with one of her five daughters in the Philadelphia suburb of Yeadon, Pennsylvania after giving up her house of her own. The daughter she was living with was a secretary at a nearby school and would answer calls and interact with people throughout the day. Someone told Ruth’s daughter about a new affordable senior living community in Southwest Philadelphia and Ruth’s daughter mentioned it to her mother. “My daughter called me to tell me they were building a new Affordable Housing community,” Ruth recalled. “And I remember saying to myself, ‘What? I’m not moving there,” I said.

But eventually, Ruth allowed herself to be talked into making a visit and checking out what, at the time, was a brand new community. Ruth said that decision to come and visit Ann Thomas back in 1991 wound up being one of the best decisions she ever made. “I was walking to church once and I looked up and saw them erecting the building. It looked pretty good so I figured maybe I will go in for a visit. I loved what I saw and signed up. Three months later, I moved in and have been here ever since. The rest is history.”

Ruth’s love for Ann Thomas, the fellow residents and staff can’t be summed up in a few words or sentences. What would you expect after 25 years? But one thing she said she has really enjoyed is how she can still have an independent yet sensible state of life in the community. “This is so close to transportation and malls for shopping and other things like that,” she explained. “I can walk right outside and get on a bus to my doctor appointment or to a store or I can walk down the block to the supermarket. That’s been so convenient. That’s a really important thing for all us seniors and we all have that here. It’s always been that way.

“I feel safe and sound here. … We have nice managers and guards. They’re so good to us. The maintenance people, too. It’s just been so nice here. I love it and I’ve told the managers I don’t plan on leaving anytime soon.”