"We're like old, devilish children"—Juanita Sturgeon
" Mrs. Sturgeon's Life & Philosophy"
audio & slide show by Aubrey Kosa
Juanita Sturgeon at the Hampton, Va., P.A.C.E. center, summer 2014. "We’re like old, devilish children."
SoundSlide Show: "Do What You Love" & 3 Audio Documentaries
The Dropping-Off Place
by Aubrey Kosa
Juanita Sturgeon wakes up early to catch the bus to PACE, hoping that the ever-present threat of rain in Hampton holds off until she is dropped off at the center. She spends an hour on the stationary bicycle, part of her physical therapy, and practices her walking around the center.
Around ten o’clock, she can be found in the main day room, tucked in an alcove to the right of the entrance or perhaps in the second day room, surrounded by her crocheting group as they work diligently to put together a display for the talent show. Later, she might be found back in the first day room, playing a round of afternoon BINGO or tucked back in the alcove, enjoying the bustle of the center:
This is the dropping off place. Ain’t nowhere else for us to go… They can’t leave us at home because we’re gonna get in trouble. We’re gonna get up, fall down, some of us are gonna try to cook… you know, we’re like children, devilish little children. That’s what I say. You just don’t think. But you know, I enjoy it, sitting out here with these girls, the ladies here doing different things. It’s real nice. So this is a god-given program to us old people, those who can’t take care of themselves.
Mrs. Sturgeon lives with her only daughter, Zina:
I call her the sergeant. I say, here comes my sergeant. She says, mama you have to get up now. And on the tenth of July, we’re going to an international convention down in North Carolina for our religion. And so I told her, just to put me back in the nursing home for that and that way she can just go ahead and she said no. She wants me to go too. Because, you know, I need the encouragement as much as she does.
Aubrey Kosa is a Christopher Newport University student. She is an English major with a leadership minor, aspiring to be a journalist when she graduates. She grew up all over the country, being a ‘military brat’. She enjoys her daily morning run, as well as the color yellow and sunshine.
"Listen to the Music" (4:02) Audio documentary
"The Protector" (4:15) Audio documentary
"The Stars" (2:37) Audio documentary
"Do What You Love" (5:03) SoundSlide show