A Place Called Canterbury: Tales of the New Old Age in America
Title: A Place Called Canterbury: Tales of the New Old Age in America
Author: Dudley Clendinen
Documents the retirement of a former New York Times writer to a full-service Tampa Bay apartment populated by neighbors from all economic backgrounds and faiths, in an account that traces the community’s shared efforts to secure vibrancy and dignity throughout their final years.
Old age in America is not what it used to be
In 1994 New York Times writer Dudley Clendinen’s mother—a Southern matron of iron will but creaking bones—sold her house and moved to Canterbury Tower, a geriatric apartment building with full services and a nursing wing in Tampa Bay. There she landed in a microcosm of the New Old Age. Canterbury was filled not just with old Tampa neighbors but also with strangers from across the country. Wealthy, middle class, or barely afloat; Christian, Jewish, or faithless; proud, widowed, or still married; grumpy or dear—they had all come together, at the average age of eighty-six, in search of a last place to live and die.
A Place Called Canterbury is a beautifully written, often hilarious, deeply moving look at how the oldest Americans are living with the reality of living longer. Peopled by brave, daffy, memorable characters determined to grow old with dignity—and to help one another avoid the dreaded nursing wing—A Place Called Canterbury is a kind of soap opera. Likewise, it is a poignant chronicle of the last years of the Greatest Generation and their children, the Boomers, as they are drawn into old age with their parents. A Place Called Canterbury is an essential read for anyone with aging parents and anyone wondering what their own old age will look like.