Friday, January 10, 2014

Going All Over the Place

from the 1960s brochure for the White Angel Inn in Phoenix Arizona
How ironic to hear a woman who spent most of her adult life living and working in a foreign country exult in her ability to “go all over the place” at the convalescent facility where she has been confined, now, for weeks. Despite having had the misfortune of slipping on a puddle and falling—breaking a hip, in fact—Lummie Davis Moore was determined to remain cheerful and upbeat. Everything had a positive spin, if she could help doctor it.

From a brochure in the early 1960s for a convalescent facility in Phoenix called White Angel Inn
When I found Lummie’s correspondence to her younger brother, Jack—the one we’ve already reviewed—it was stuffed, along with this second letter, in a business-sized envelope.

My only regret is Lummie's habit of dating the letter—actually, each of them—simply as “Thursday.” Other than the postmark on the one envelope remaining—marked May 25, 1962, out of Phoenix, Arizona, her residence in retirement for at least the past ten years—there is no way to know when Lummie’s ordeal began, and how long, exactly, she had been in this condition.

Broken bones do take time to knit back together—longer, as I’ve found out, for older bones—so I can understand Lummie’s lament that “the waiting seems endless.”

1960s dining room for convalescent facility White Angel Inn located in Phoenix Arizona
By the time of this letter—whenever it was—Lummie was recuperating at a place in Phoenix, Arizona, called White Angel Inn. Handily, Lummie was thoughtful enough to send her brother a copy of the facility’s brochure, which announced it represented “A New Concept in Convalescent Care.” Perhaps that was her way of letting her brother know that she was in good hands, despite her unfortunate recent accident.

If you go to your time machine and pull out your 1960s lenses to take a look, you can see there are all the comforts of home—a cheery dining room, a living room with television, a music corner and reading nook. Apparently, the bedrooms were equipped with a television—but not one you could watch while cuddled up under the covers, as its placement seemed to imply a sitting area beyond the beds. This being sunny Arizona, the perimeter of the building was equipped with patio seating areas.

No matter how up-to-date or accommodating the facility appointments, it still wasn’t enough to rescue Lummie from a serious dose of boredom, and that seems to come out more clearly in this second letter.

letter from retired former teacher to her brother describing her recuperation from a fall causing fracture to her hip

Dear Folks—Am coming along—Just waiting for fractures to heal—Suffer very little, but am bored to death, the waiting seems endless—In 3 weeks more surgeon will make x Ray of condition and after that I hope to be in a device they call a walker. I expect to be here until about August—But Dr. thinks I will and will walk without a limp—I sit up now most of the day in fact all morning, can go all over [the] place


  1. If Lummie was feeling bored, she was obviously feeling better and ready to do SOMETHING. That's the frustrating part of recuperation, I suppose.

    1. I never met Lummie myself, of course, but if she was anything like my aunt, she was accustomed to being on her feet and active all the time. Even if she wasn't feeling better, getting moving was this family's prescription for recuperation!

  2. Sounds like Lummie was in good hands & in a good place.

    1. Colleen, it is so funny to look at the photographs from the facility's brochure--they look so dated, now--and realize that was "brand new" and, apparently, cutting edge when Lummie was there.

  3. Looks like a nice place.

    Arizona Republic > 5 February 1961 › Page 129

    Work On Convalescent Inn To Start Within 30 Days Homes and Son Construction Co., awarded the contract to build the White Angel Convalescent Inn at 1825 - 35 E. Thomas, will begin work within the next 30 days, it was stated yesterday. The inn is a new idea in caring for those who are convalescent after hospital care, such as operations, according to Julius Altschul, president of the owning corporation. It will take patients from regular hospitals and care for them at a lower cost during the recovery stage. Jack Stewart, president of Camelback Inn, is vice president of'the White Angel corporation.

    This puts an early as it could be date of about March, 1961.

    1. According to Google - the address is next to/near the Arizona Heart Hospital and the Phoenix Children's Hospital.

    2. Satellite view shows a vacant lot with weedy parking lot at the actual address..

    3. That's a helpful newspaper clipping, Iggy--thanks for finding it. So the facility was relatively new when Lummie was there! And if this was a new concept in patient care, I can see why the business invested in brochures to promote the new idea.

      However, in retrospect, I can also understand why a satellite view would show a vacant lot at this point. What was new in 1961 would be quite outmoded by this point, when it comes to the multiple levels of care between acute care of the hospital and home health care.


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