Sketches of Life at The Home

• In the early years, the annual Christmas party at the historic Maxwell House Hotel was a festive occasion. Community leaders volunteered to serve as the ladies’ dates for an evening of food, music and dancing. Door prizes were given to the ladies in some unusual categories: to the oldest, the heaviest and, believe it or not, the matron with the most teeth.

• Residents were encouraged to participate in an assortment of social activities, from afternoon tea parties to singing in the chorus, playing bridge games, or attending lectures and concerts. Bingo was a weekly ritual.

• In more recent times, the ladies enjoyed outings to restaurants two or three times a month. The tradition started when one of the residents began reading a column in The Tennessean called Out Of The Way Gourmet, featuring restaurants throughout Middle Tennessee. Soon the ladies were checking out the finest cuisine in Sewanee (Pearl’s), Center Hill Lake (Foglight Foodhouse), Lynchburg (Miss Bobo’s) and Monteagle (High Point). These women were always on the go, whether seeing the Rockettes and the Phantom of the Opera or traveling to Montgomery Bell State Park or the Amish Village near Mumfordville, Kentucky.

• Some of the women continued to work after coming to The Home. One resident, Mrs. Hersch, worked at the Angel Hair Yarn Company in Nashville and gave knitting classes until almost 90 years of age.

• Over the years, many generous Nashvillians and local businesses provided their services free of charge or at a discounted rate. Local bakeries supplied bread. Purity Dairy delivered milk. Medical care, coal delivery, hotel luncheons and free movie tickets were also provided. Scores of board members donated furniture, linens, china, and paintings, even a piano. A former fried chicken cook at the Belle Meade Cafeteria was employed by The Home in 1984 and established Thursday as fried chicken day each week to the delight of the ladies. A former Belle Meade Chief of Police was married to one of The Home’s Matrons and they both resided at The Home for several years. He provided free rides to the grocery store in his patrol car. It was, it seems, a simpler time.