When I visited Ms. Day this morning, the first thing I noticed was her window. It is adorned with canvas paintings & Beanie Babies and overlooks the new Skilled Nursing Building across the courtyard. It felt appropriate that Ms. Lillian’s room would look onto Pines’ newest addition – she has, after all, seen this campus go through more than one transformation.
Lillian Day was born on the Alabama – Florida line ninety-eight years ago. She spent the first several years of her life in Alabama and when she was 8, she and her family moved to Bowling Green – a small town in Hardee County, Florida. From there, her family moved to Palmer Farms, near Sarasota, where celery was grown as far as the eye could see. Ms. Day let me know very quickly that her father did not like it there and quickly moved the family into Sarasota.
“Sarasota was a little place back then,” Ms. Day told me as she reached for the Sunday paper Rev. Marilyn brings her every Monday morning. “I remember McAllen’s Grocery and the Five-and-Dime. There were only two theatres back then, and one hospital,” she recounted to me.
In 1938, as Lillian came into her teenage years, her father went on to work on the building team for the Lido Beach Casino – what was once a paradise for tourists and Sarasota residents alike. Soon after, in 1941 – at seventeen years old, Lillian graduated from Sarasota High School and married her husband, Fred, who was a graduate of West Point Military Academy. She then began her lifelong career as a CNA at Pines of Sarasota.
“Pines is the only place for me,” Ms. Day told me when I asked her why she chose Pines. “I remember when there were just cottages here and Mr. Cullers gave me the job.” Lillian Day retired from Pines of Sarasota after a 40-year career and returned in 2018 as a resident.
She was a young bride at Pines. Raised her son, Charlie, at Pines, and has her best friend, Martha, as her roommate now. She has seen Pines go from small cottages dotting our campus to state-of-the-art facilities. “This is the most wonderful place to be,” she said to me as I was saying my goodbyes. “Make sure they know how wonderful it is here.” From her mouth to your screens, Pines is a wonderful place to be.