We talked to residents of Sycamore Village in Swansea about their lives.
"I grew up in Belleville. I swam at Stolberg Lake when I was a child. I lived on the lake before moving here. I sold my house to a young nurse who is employed here. People remember me by my maiden name, Ruth Belleville. Years ago, they had the county fair and every year would crown a Miss Belleville. Big deal, I always said. I have been Miss Belleville for 20 years ... People complain about being old. Enjoy it. Be thankful God gave you a lovely life."
Ruth Belleville Schifferdecker, 94
husband was Alan; son is Paul Sutherland; a grandson and two great-granddaughters
"I grew up on Lebanon Avenue in Belleville. l liked to ride my bike. I used to go swimming at Turner's. I had one sister. She was five years older. We were buddies. After high school, I moved to Washington, D.C. I had a good job in the Pentagon as a personal assistant. I was also a professional model. I still like to dress nice. From Washington, I went to Japan, then to Korea. When my mother and father were getting old, I moved back to be with them."
Laverne "Sandy" Sanders Malin, 87
mother of two and grandmother of five
"I grew up in St. Louis. My family was a big one, 12 kids. I was the third youngest. I got married when I was 19. My husband looked like Clark Gable. I worked at the defense plant during the war. I was in charge of bullets, 50 caliber. (Later,) I was an entertainer in Branson. I love the applause you get, and it was always great to meet people. I did Elvis. I imitated Edith Bunker, and Archie, too. I could really sing back then. My nephew brought me up here."
Lillian "Lily" Onstott, 88
husband was Charlie; they had one son
"I was born in Vincennes, Indiana, and grew up in Belleville. I liked to swing on the swings and play baseball. I could hit the ball. I liked to go sledding in the winter. My family had several kids and we moved a lot. It was the way my father was. After I married, I was a stay-at-home mom. After my kids were grown, I learned to swim. I used to hang out at the Belleville pool with a lot of the ladies. We'd meet for the adult swim."
Rosemary Bosick, 86
Husband was Charles; mother of four, grandmother of eight and a great-grandmother
"We had 18 kids in my family. There are just two of us left. We had three sets of twins. I was Edna's twin, but we didn't look alike. We used to make the bread in the family. We made seven loaves every day. I grew up at 74th Street and Carson. We went to St. Philip's. I lived on a farm. I worked like a man. I picked tomatoes and potatoes, beans, watermelon, carrots, all that stuff."
Rose Bertelsman Hilpert, 96
She was married to Raymond Hilpert for 63 years; mother of three, grandmother of nine and great-grandmother of 21
"I grew up in Red Bud. My dad was a police officer. He also did other jobs to get by. I married Gregory Dashner. He was a mortician. I worked at St. Clement Hospital. I was a nursing assistant for years. I also taught Sunday School classes at United Church of Christ. We always had a dog. They were very protective. I liked them."
Pearl Guebert Dashner, 91
mother of three, seven grandchildren
"I grew up in East St. Louis. My father was a policeman and ran for sheriff of St. Clair County. All the parents came to him when their kids were in trouble. He would help them. I had two brothers and three sisters. When I got married at 19, we moved to Centralia, Missouri, and started a new church. (Thomas and I) met at a religious college, Central Bible College in Springfield, Missouri. ... Here in Belleville, my husband pastored Calvary Assembly of God on McClintock for 31 years. ... I taught sixth grade in Mascoutah for 26 years. I just loved it."
Juanita Hubert Creek, 87
mother of three, grandmother of six, great-grandmother of 12 and great-great grandmother of two