It's been said that a smell, sight or sound can bring back a memory from long ago. Imagine approaching the golden years and moving to a location to retire. A location that summons the past every time you open your eyes.
Carol Ann Davis and her sister Beverly McDonald have this experience continuously. They are both residents at the Historic Bastrop High Apartments, which also happens to be the same place they attended jr. high.
Built in 1927 and expanded in 1931, the school housed high school and junior high classes for decades before falling into disrepair, that is until a group of concerned citizens decided to take on the project of renovating it into apartments for seniors. They expressed the hope that converting the campus into a senior apartment complex would bring former students back home to Bastrop. And that it did.
After McDonald's husband, Wes, passed two years ago, her daughter wanted to move her somewhere she would be safe. When McDonald discovered the high school apartments, she told her sister, and they both moved in right after its grand opening in 2011.
"Everywhere I look I see memories," McDonald said. "In 1956 or 57, the City had a woman's basketball team. My mother played on the team at that time. I would come and watch her play in this very gym."
Both women reminisced about a time that wasn't just distant in years, it was also distant because life was very different back then. The years they attended the school was between 1962 and 1964, their seventh and eighth grade years.
"I had my first crush at this school," Davis said. "Back then you didn't kiss a boy. If you liked a boy you let him carry your books and you talked while walking to class."
McDonald said she has happy, as well as sad memories from that time.
"I remember on Nov. 23, 1963, I was standing over there by the stage when our principal, Mr. Resweber, announced over the intercom that Pres. Kennedy had just been shot. We all stood in silence, mortified. I remember school let out for a week after that."
The women both feel very fortunate to have each other during this time of their life. They plan to live at their current residence for the rest of their lives.
"The price of living here is very reasonable," Davis said. "All of our appliances were included. Most of the utilities are included and they have solar panels that offset the electric bill."
McDonald said she likes the fact that she doesn't have to do any maintenance at their new home.
"I can go sit on the patio every morning and drink my coffee and look out over flower beds that are so beautiful," McDonald said. "It's nice having everything done. All I have to do is take it easy and enjoy. My sister and I aren't going anywhere. We're home."