Last year, residents sat out holidays at Michigan senior living home. Not this year.

Hazel Park — When you live through 96 holiday seasons, like Lucile Ruonavaara has, you get to boast about some variety in your traditions. 

In 1932, for example, Ruonavaara’s family moved and her mother said she and her three siblings might not get presents because Santa would not be able to find their new home. The 7-year-old decided something had to be done to make sure the jolly man showed up. 

While her mother went to the store to buy a loaf of bread, little Lucy set off by herself to the old J.L Hudson Department Store on Woodward and explained to Santa why her family’s new ZIP code should not stop them from receiving some holiday cheer. 

Linda Ruonavaara, 69, of Royal Oak, left,  helps her mother Lucile Ruonavaara, 96, with her Thanksgiving meal in her apartment at Baldwin House Senior Living in Hazel Park.

The day after her expedition, the Detroit Goodfellows showed up at their house with food and presents for Ruonavaara’s family. 

This week, Ruonavaara prepared for another family holiday, this time at Baldwin House Senior Living in Hazel Park, where she has lived for six years. Others there were making plans for visits to family homes on Christmas Day. For those who stay at Baldwin House, the center will host a party for residents Saturday and allow their families to visit them in their rooms while still abiding by COVID protocols.

pevita pearce

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