JOPLIN, Mo. —
It was not an easy decision, as I just really don’t like too many changes in my lifestyle — especially when it comes to place of residence.
Before owning my own house, I rented an upstairs duplex. There I lived 19 years before it was sold and I had to move. I always thought having my own home meant I would never have to move again. But, as the old saying goes, “Never say never.” I must admit my house had all the obvious luxuries of a big yard that seasonally smelled of fresh-cut grass, a front porch and back deck to chat with the neighbors, and even a garage for my car.
Anyway, I thought my living arrangements were more than OK until family, friends and others told me to at least just entertain the idea to move to an apartment. Their reasoning was well-founded and made logical sense, but still I resisted. Why, I don’t know. But, sadly, it was all so true when they would tell me: “Your house is falling apart and so are you.”
To make matters worse, I no longer even had a driver’s license and was always having to rely on neighbors, family and friends to do my errands. At least when you rent, the landlord is the one financially responsible for the general maintenance of the apartment. Probably, the “final straw” that made my final decision to sell my house and move to downtown Joplin was when I had to replace a faulty water heater that cost me $750.
But surprisingly enough, once I did move downtown to the Frisco Station Apartments building, I absolutely loved everything about it. I already knew the Frisco had been the old professional building where physicians, dentists and attorneys had their offices. Before 1955, the Frisco was a major train depot where some 52 trains would travel through daily.
The Frisco Building, built in 1913, was designed showing influences of the Chicago style, initiated in Chicago in 1880-1900 after a fire destroyed much of the city.
In 1987, the building became vacant and was almost deteriorated beyond repair and was even considered for demolition by the city in 2001. Instead, the city helped restore this historic landmark to what is known as the Frisco Station Apartments.
My young nieces and nephews think it is awesome that their Aunt Pam actually lives in an old train station!
Since I had not driven a car for a few years, I found how wonderfully convenient it was for me to access affordable public transportation via the trolley. To my delight, I found that I could go all over the city, to the mall, all the hospitals and a variety of supermarkets. Living downtown, I started going places I had not frequented the past few years.
Also, the residents at the Frisco are all so friendly and helpful, not to mention entertaining and interesting. I enjoy my frequent walks downtown, visiting the various merchants and eating the downtown cuisine.
In my 60 years, I have lived a third of those years in the country and two-thirds in the city. Now, I am just fine and very content living my remaining years at the Frisco Station Apartments building.
Yes, downtown Joplin does have its perks.
Pamela Hankins, a retired social welfare caseworker, lives in Joplin.