Every once in a while, you can catch Frances Davis dancing down the halls of CarDon & Associates’ senior living community in Pendleton, Indiana — Fall Creek Retirement Village. Not only is this because she’s happy to be a resident there, but the staff encourages her to stay connected to her history as a performer.
Fall Creek’s Director of Marketing & Admissions Kyla Oakes loves to pore over the black-and-white pictures of Frances dancing as a young woman.
“A lot of us here are from Anderson, Indiana, so we know of the Paramount Theatre, where Frances performed in the 1940s and ’50s,” Kyla said. “It’s interesting to see that it was a big place for shows and events back then as it remains now. It’s been around my whole life. I had my prom at the Paramount!”
While newer Anderson residents know the theater as the town’s main concert venue now, Frances remembers it as her premier destination for ballet recitals, tapdancing, and jiving along with jazz bands. For Frances, dancing wasn’t just a passion of her youth — it was a vital form of therapy.
“When I was a little girl, I had scarlet fever and almost died,” she said. “The doctor suggested I do something athletic, so my mother signed me up for dance lessons. Before then, whenever I was walking along, I would often just crumble and fall to the floor because my ankles and legs were so weak. Dancing really built them back up.”
Frances danced from age four to 18, when she decided to get married and start a family. She tied the knot with her high-school sweetheart and had two children, a son and a daughter. She later remarried and had another daughter.
Although dancing will always be a love of hers, Frances left the stage with no regrets — stepping away as confidently as she did after her first performance as a little girl.
“When I was done with my first recital, I just stopped my dance and walked off the stage,” she said with a giggle. “The teacher took me aside and showed me how to curtsy. She had her back to the audience, so I turned around like her to curtsy, and everyone in the theater roared with laughter.”
To this day, Frances recalls this moment with great amusement. It’s one of the many stories the Fall Creek staff members love to hear from her.
“I was pleasantly surprised when they showed such an interest in that part of my life,” she said.
The staff’s relationship with Frances is a perfect example of how CarDon caregivers not only tend to residents’ daily living needs but grow close like family.
“We’re always asking Frances a lot of questions about her dancing,” Kyla said. “Like all of our residents, she has such an interesting life story.”