Jesse and BFF3

Jesse McElveen and Lamar Morse were the original BFF’s. Partners in an Atlanta drug store they bought in the 1920’s, they remained friends until they reached 100. Lamar went first, then Jesse and I am sure they are together again, laughing and telling tales.

I met them at Wesley Woods, a retirement center started by the Methodist Church in Atlanta. I have been taking photographs there for over 20 years. They are one of my cherished clients and each time I go I am treated to some of the most amazing people with wonderful stories.

When I left them, Jesse and Lamar were sitting together on a couch across from the elevator. They told me they liked to sit there and watch the ladies come down for dinner! Each was closing in on 100 but they were still quite alive!

Toni reached an age where she could say whatever she felt like and did! I met her as she was playing ping-pong with her physical therapist. She said, “I’m Toni and I’m bhp_WesWood3_84 years old!” She went on to say that she liked photography when she was younger but her husband did not and wouldn’t let her have a camera.

“But now he’s dead, and I can do whatever I want!” she said. Let this be a lesson for tolerance in marriage.

Last fall I photographed two residents who were 100, Marie Rouch and Blanche Poore. When I asked her secret, Marie said: “You go to bed every night and then you wake up the next morning, and you do that for 100 years.” Sounds like good advice to me.

Photos from top: Jesse McElveen and Lamar Moorse; bottom, Marie Rouch and Blanche Poore

Billy Howard

Billy Howard

Billy Howard is a commercial and documentary photographer with an emphasis on education and global health.