Resident Spotlight: Claire K.

It all began in Grove Hill, Alabama about 85 miles from Mobile, on April 20, 1922. Mable “Claire” K. began what she states as a “blessed and grateful life.” After completing two years of college at Alabama College, now the University of Montevallo, Claire entered the work force. She worked part-time as a Biology teacher’s assistant (fun fact: the teacher’s niece was Katherine Hepburn). Her responsibilities were very un-lady like, such as wrapping cat cadavers in cheesecloth. One time she was asked to bring in a dead pigeon for a class assignment. In that sweet southern accent, Claire said, “Where was I to find a dead pigeon?”  With the help of a young man on campus and a fee of fifty cents for the service, Claire handed her teacher a dead pigeon.

Claire and her Momma moved into an apartment house after her Daddy died. Miss Ethel, the owner of the large apartment building next door, ran a boarding house for ‘single men.’ Well, how exciting to be 20 years old and have a house full of single men live next door to you. Often Miss Ethel would invite Claire and her Momma for dinner. “Nothing could be betta,” Claire stated.

Eventually, Claire and one of the “boarders” named Joe began talking and taking walks after supper in the beautiful azalea-lined neighborhood. Before too long, Joe was called to war and left to fight for our country.

Over two years had passed and not a single letter from Joe. Claire didn’t wait around, and she suspected Joe didn’t either. “I dated a lot of other fellas,” Claire confessed.

Suddenly a letter showed up from Joe and the two began to correspond on a steady basis. Upon Joe’s discharge, he was contacted by a previous employer for a job with the US Engineers in Silver Spring, MD. Joe had a plan: a new job, new apartment, and it was time to ask Claire for her hand in marriage. Unbeknownst to their church congregation, Joe and Claire planned their wedding at the end of the weekly service. It was a surprise to everyone!

With Joe working and Claire working as the secretary to their church minister, the next step was to plan a family. Claire and Joe had two sons thirteen months apart then ten years later came the third son, who turned out to be a ‘play toy’ for the boys. It was a busy household with a yard full of kids running around always tossing some type of ball.

Joe passed 2 months shy of his 90th birthday. The lovely couple shared 63 years of marriage, with a balance of smooth and bumpy times, but “we stuck it out.” Claire has six grandchildren and four great-grands and is very proud of each one. Claire continues a very close relationship with her church along with three other KP residents, participates in bible studies, social events and weekly services.

When asked what Young Claire would tell Older Claire, she shared advice that her daddy shared with her: “Reach for the stars but keep a sense of balance.”  She feels truly blessed to be here at Kensington Park, and we feel the very same to have her here as a member of our Highlands family.

Her warm, southern charm is felt by residents and team members throughout the Highlands. She always has a beautiful smile, kind word or positive comment for everyone. Claire has no regrets, no complaints and would make no changes to her life. This blessed life is a blessing to us all.

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