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"I blackmailed my daughter when I moved to Episcopal Place"


“I blackmailed my daughter when I moved to Episcopal Place.”, said Marguerite. She has lived at Episcopal Place since 2013. Small in stature, and big in personality, Marguerite and her little dog “Cosmo”, can often be seen zooming around Episcopal Place and Caldwell Park in a mobility chair decorated with Bob Marley swag. That’s the story of how Marguerite was able to adopt Cosmo; it was blackmail. Marguerite was living in Birmingham with her daughter until she could move into Episcopal Place. Cosmo was her daughter’s dog, but he bonded with Marguerite. In fact, Cosmo pulled his dog bed from the family room into Marguerite’s bedroom. When it was time to move to Episcopal Place, Marguerite commented that Cosmo really loved her and it would be a much easier transition if he could come along. That’s all her daughter needed to hear.


Marguerite had lived in 18 states and swore she would never return home to Alabama. She had many adventures including being a black jack dealer in Reno in the 1980s when she was making over $200 a day. Her daughter thought she would never slow down. Marguerite was enjoying warm weather and an active beach life in Jacksonville, Florida when her health began declining. The family decided it would be best if she returned home to live with her daughter in Birmingham. Although she didn’t want to move to Alabama, it was Fr. Wilson of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church who first told her about Episcopal Place. Fr. Wilson described Episcopal Place as a wonderful community of diverse people living together in unity and love. The hope of moving into Episcopal Place made the transition to Alabama much easier.

Once Marguerite moved in with her daughter, it was several months before there was a vacancy at Episcopal Place. By the time she moved in, her health had declined further, and her son had been murdered. She was depressed and mentally exhausted.


It was Episcopal Place that gave her a second chance at life. Meeting new people and getting to know the staff helped her through those dark days. Marguerite says that Episcopal Place gave her a rainbow after her son’s death. There are several neighbors who she now considers family. She enjoys the social activities at Episcopal Place as well as quiet reading time in her apartment. Marguerite is especially fond of the Episcopal Place yoga classes, although she prefers to practice it in her apartment where she can listen to reggae and calypso. There are days when she doesn’t feel like getting up or doing anything, but walking Cosmo and being greeted by neighbors always makes it better. She says that for an older person it’s especially important to feel part of a community – to feel grounded. That’s what Episcopal Place is for Marguerite; it’s her home and her haven. Marguerite is very happy at Episcopal Place and wants everyone to know about the love that is encased in its walls and the dedication of the people who live and work here. She has received many rainbows at Episcopal Place and is proud to call it home.

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Photography credits by Billy Brown & Sara Walker