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Betty Doretha Harris  Massenburg
Trailblazing School Principal - Trailblazing Business Owner -  Author - Motivational Speaker - Poet - Community Servant


This is the Award Winning Essay that won Betty a trip to Honolulu, Hawaii.


"I am 83 years young.  I grew up a sharecropper's daughter, the oldest of twelve (12) children.  I was determined to have a better life than what I saw and experienced on the farm.  After I graduated from college, received post-graduate degrees, married, and raised two daughters, Durham Regent is the wonderful reward that I am receiving for a life of hard work and sacrifice.  By living in my new home provided by Durham Regent, I can let "the good times roll."  My first week at Durham Regent, I was able to join in at their 15th year celebration and dance doing the "electric slide" with my daughters. Each day at Durham Regent exceed all expectations that I had regarding a retirement community.  The caring and sharing here have enriched my life.  I have been able to enjoy activities here that I was not able to enjoy while I was still living in my house.  The burden of owning a house has lifted.
I have continued to volunteer at my daughter's salon.  I have the luxury of exercise and a nice breakfast before leaving Durham Regent each morning.  Fortunately, the salon is close enough to Durham Regent for me to return for my lunch hour, and then back to the salon until dinnertime.  As you can tell, I enjoy staying busy.
Activities abound at Durham Regent, even though I am not here to enjoy them all the time.  The Durham Regent staff is intuitive and sensitive to the strengths of each resident.  Becky, the activity Director, gets me to come and read some of my poetry during the programs at Durham Regent.  She even posted my Winter Olympic poem beside the elevator.  I published two paperback poetry books many years ago.  Durham Regent has afforded me the opportunity to return to one of my first loves, poetry.  It is very comforting to know that when I stop being active out in the city that I can still be active in my retirement community.  I love the options before me.
The comforts of home at Durham Regent allow me to invite my family over to "my home," the Durham Regent.  The maintenance is impeccable in my private living quarters as well as the remainder of my plush home; the beautifully decorated lobby, the library, the exercise area, the music area, the media room, my whole home is just wonderful.  I love having the family over with no work on my part.  Life can be sweet.
I must admit that I have a bubbly type personality.  That is not the case of all the residents here at Durham Regent.  I have recognized that my presence here is not only good for me, but I have been able to shed light on others here.  I have helped one of my co-workers from years back with her wig.  Now she comes out of her room more often.  And Yes, she does look better.
On the other hand, I meet people here who have lead very interesting lives and who are positive and I enjoy being around them.  Many of the residents at Durham Regent have lived in various locations around the world and I am in awe of some of the residents and their experiences.  The passion for people and life is felt, seen, and shown at Durham Regent.  I doubt that I would have an opportunity to gather with such an elite group but for living here.  In our gathering place, the dining room, I move around at mealtime and chat with many different residents at Durham Regent.  Mealtime is truly a social outing for me.  I love the food and the socializing.
Durham Regent, which is operated by Holiday Retirement Corporation, has touched my life immensely.  Thank you for providing for me in my retirement years and for the opportunity to express my joy.  MAY GOD CONTINUE TO RICHLY BLESS US ALL." 


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