The Senior Center

by DG Hear

Tags: Romantic,

Desc: Romantic Story: Working with the elderly, I learn a lot. Valentine's Day story.

There is no sex in this story. It could go in Romance or Mature. It's a story about a young woman who became a nurse in a Senior Citizen Center and a friend she became very fond of. Thank you to Mr. Wolf for editing this story for me.

Chapter 1

My name is Nina and this story begins when I got the position of being a nurse at a senior living facility. I have to say I was very nervous at first but after awhile I loved my job. I had recently graduated from college with a nursing degree but I still took courses to improve my knowledge and update my skills.

I usually worked the second shift so I helped my guests with dinner and getting ready for bed. I preferred to call them guests instead of patients. I believed they had earned that right.

Most of our guests were here because they were elderly or were unable to live on their own. Their families were too busy and didn't have the time to help them properly. That is when they would move in to our facility.

I loved those people. My story will mainly be about Ben Johnson, a man in his seventies. We became really good friends. He may have seemed grumpy to some people but I found him fascinating and a great story teller.

First, a little about myself; my name is Nina Moore, I'm twenty-three and recently broke up with my latest boyfriend after catching him cheating on me. To be honest we were friends for two years but only became more serious in the last six months. Before Jake I had dated a few men, but nothing serious.

I spent my time studying and learning my nursing skills. I was an only child and raised by my grandparents. My parents were killed when I was just a child and my dad's parents raised me. I loved them so much. They were a bit more strict seeing they were from an older generation but I did my best to do as they asked.

Grandma was a great cook and because of that I was considered on the heavy side. I didn't date much in school even though I was popular. I was said to have a very bubbly personality. I think that was how my friends told me that I was overweight. I was just a bit chubby and began working on my eating habits and working out when I could find the time.

I needed to get out on my own and had recently got my own apartment. I still stopped by to see my grandparents regularly. To me they were my Mom and Dad. I didn't remember my parents since they died while I was at a young age. My grandparents kept their memories alive by telling me stories about them. I really wish I could have gotten to know them.

Unlike most young people, I find talking to older people a delight. Sure there's the growling and talk of loneliness and pain but there's the other side where they can tell you so much about life and history. I found out all I had to do was listen to them. They really had so much to say and all they needed was an audience.

When I first met Ben he seemed grumpy but as we got to know each other better I found out he was really intelligent; he remembered everything. Instead of Alzheimer's like some older people, I believe he had a photographic memory. He told me it wasn't as good as it once was but he seemed to know a little about everything.

We would talk and he would tell me things. Later I'd go on-line to see if what he told me was the truth or if he made it up. It was always the truth but some things were his opinions.

His daughter would stop in and see him twice a week. She never stayed very long. Ben said it was his choice to move into the senior center. At his home he felt he was just in the way. At least at the center he had a lot of friends around his age and most still had their sanity; those were Ben's words.

We would often talk when I wasn't busy with my other guests. Over time I had grown to love this old man. He was so real and was so smart. He had lived in the center for two years.

It all began when he had fallen and broke his leg. He came to the senior facility for rehab and said that he enjoyed having people around to talk with. When I asked him about his family he told me his daughter married the neighborhood banker. Eventually he became the president of the local bank.

He had one grandson, Rob, who was in the service and stationed near Iraq. He told me that he and Rob were best friends and did everything together. He taught him how to hunt, fish and took him everywhere with him.

After Rob graduated from high school he chose to go in the Air Force and signed up for four years. He came home twice on leave to see his family. It was before I started at the center. He had less than a year to go before coming home for good or he could re-enlist, Ben was hoping he wouldn't re-enlist as he really missed his grandson. You could hear it in his voice when he talked about Rob.

Ben told me how proud he was of Rob and that he flew to San Antonio, Texas to see him graduate from basic training and spent a few days with him. Rob was the one really bright spot left in his life.

I talked to some of the other nurses and they told me that Ben was a very rich man. He turned over much of his estate to his daughter and put some money away for his grandson. I found out that the mansion down the road belonged to the Parsons family. That would be Ben's daughter and her husband. It had been known as the Johnson mansion until Ben gave it to his daughter and her husband.

When I asked Ben about the mansion, he just laughed. He said life wasn't all about money but what you get out of life. He said Barb, his daughter, and her husband John were good people but all they ever talked about was finances. They were worried a lot about their image in the community.

Rob on the other hand was more like Ben. At least that's what Ben said. Rob was intelligent and wanted to get away on his own for awhile. That's why he joined the Air Force. Ben showed me post cards that he received each month from his grandson.

Many years ago Ben was a Marine and had fought in Vietnam. He told me, "Once a Marine, always a Marine". It was a part of his life that he preferred not to talk about. He did talk about his good times in the service but not Vietnam. He said he lost too many close friends and it was a low point in his life.

After returning from the service, Ben said he attended college and studying seemed to come so easy to him. He received a degree in finance in three years and became a stock broker. He ended up marrying his high school sweetheart, Mary, and they had a daughter and a son. His son died in a car accident when he was a teenager. That was another low point in his life.

He believes that's why he took Rob under his wing. He treated Rob like his son. His wife Mary passed away from cancer four years ago. After that he kind of went downhill. If it wasn't for Rob, he couldn't care if he lived or died.

On to brighter things. I would watch Jeopardy some nights with Ben and I swear he knew all the answers. The nurses told me he always seem to get the answers right. He gets along with most everyone who works at the senior center. What he doesn't like is if someone treats any of the patients like second class citizens.

He pays for his room and board himself. He doesn't use any social services. I later found out that he donates a quarter million dollars a year to our center. Needless to say if someone wasn't treated nicely, he had the clout to do something about it.

What's funny is you wouldn't know his financial situation by looking at him or even talking to him. He is just a nice old guy that treats everyone with respect. He doesn't want to be treated special in anyway.

They often play cards or other board games at the center and if he wins, he wants his candy bar or other prize. He would say, "I won it, I want it." He can't find anyone to play scrabble or other word games with him; they all know they don't stand a chance. Often times some of the nurses or even office staff will take a chance on playing a game of scrabble with him. He rarely loses, if ever.

He asked me to play and I told him only if we could use five letter words or less. He laughed and we did play a few games like that. I did go online and found a scrabble dictionary that if you put the letters into it it would tell you all the words you can spell out. Ben laughed when I told him about it and he let me use it.

I've even won a few games. Now other people play scrabble with him also and Ben lets them all use the 'descrambler'. He doesn't use it but says it does make it a bigger challenge.

The holidays were approaching and he would tell me all these stories from past Christmas's and New Year's. He tells us all how Christmas began and how all the different religions celebrated the holidays. His personal stories of holidays were always interesting.

He left the center for two weeks and went home for the holidays. I had to say I really missed him. He was actually going with his daughter and her husband over to Germany to meet up with Rob, his grandson. He was so excited.

Before he left he took a picture of me. I asked him what for and he said he wanted to show it to Rob. I have to admit I was a bit embarrassed but it did make me feel good. He kept a picture of Rob on his nightstand and I do have to say he was a hunk in his uniform.

When Ben returned from Germany he was so happy. He even bought me and the other center help gifts from Germany. Most were imported candy, trinkets, and things like that. He handed me a second small package. In it was a silver necklace with my birthstone on it. When I told him "Thank you", he said it wasn't from him and he handed me a sealed card with my name on it.

.... There is more of this story ...

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Story tagged with:
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