Today on Senior Voices, we need Viola Wheeler who wants to remain in her home on Dayton’s West Side, where she’s lived for over four decades. Born in Birmingham, Alabama, Viola came to Dayton in 1955. She spoke with Dayton Metro Library volunteer interviewer Audrey Ingram about why she wants to stay in her home.
Audrey Ingram (AI): Did you raise your kids in this home we’re in today? So how long have you been in this house then?
Viola Wheeler (VW): Forty something years, 44, 45 years, yeah about 44 years.
AI: So why do you stay in your home?
VW: No place else I that wanna go. For one thing, I love my neighbors. When we first moved here, it was only three black families, the people on the corner, and Mr. Lewis, and it was one more, and when we moved here I was 27, and my husband, he was 27, and the lady next door she said, oh we got some young black…oh, it’s gonna be awful, you know, they play the loud music and stuff, but see we weren’t like that, and when they found we was different, we was like family, because my kids called them grandma.
AI: What are some of the challenges that you have maintaining your home here?
VW: It seemed like when my husband died, my house start falling apart. I said, is it because my house missed my husband? You know, I said I don’t know what, it start falling…first thing, the door wouldn’t lock, I said this is strange. So, I called myself fixing the lock. And then, the ceiling in the basement start falling in, and said what is this? And then like the dryer quit working, the washer quit working, I said my goodness I don’t understand this, you know, but…
AI: How has Rebuilding Together Dayton helped you with some of your maintenance challenges?
VW: Someone came out and cleaned my furnace and gave us a smoke detector, and carbon monoxide, they did that earlier in the year. They was really nice.
Rebuilding Together Dayton will hold its major volunteer event, National Rebuilding Day, this Saturday, April 28.
This interview was edited by Community Voices producer Senior Voices project coordinator Jocelyn Robinson. Senior Voices is a collaboration between the Dayton Metro Library, Rebuilding Together Dayton, and WYSO. This series is made possible through the generous support of the Del Mar Healthcare Fund of the Dayton Foundation.