Angel Moore has come a long way in her life, from growing up on a cotton farm just outside a small town in Mississippi where her parents owned a country store with a gas pump to a 50-plus year marriage to Clayton Moore and a loving family and friends in the city she now calls home—Clarksville, Tennessee.
Earlier this year, she began the next chapter in a life she calls “blessed,” when she moved out of the house that she and her late husband built in 1980 and into a spacious apartment at The Villages.
“I just celebrated my 80th birthday this past Saturday,” Moore said, after I made a comment about her youthful appearance. “I think the secret is in the genes. My mother had great skin, and she still looked young when she passed away at the age of 82. She spent her whole life on the farm, part of a family of 16 children.”
Unlike her mother, farm life was not for Moore, and so following her heart when she met the man of her dreams did not mean abandoning the land she loved—it meant entering a whole new life in a great big world. An Army man, Clayton Moore’s career eventually took them to Fort Campbell, and so she and her family established a home among the people of Clarksville.
“We all worked together,” Moore says of the sense of community she saw with her church and the other military families at the time.
“My husband suffered some very serious injuries while deployed in 1970 to Vietnam. When he came back, I would visit him every day in the hospital. For nine months, our friends would always make sure our kids were welcomed home from school and kept safe.”
Moore says that Clayton’s injuries forced him to cut his military career short and were the eventual cause of his passing ten years ago. She still wears a gold star pin in his honor.
Over the years, Clayton and Angel built a life in Clarksville, and she fondly recalls her military and civilian friends, being a member of the First Baptist Church and a singing group that she was a member. Listening to her speak, it’s clear that she has seen a world of change—“some good, some not so good.” And with all of the change has recently come one of the greatest: her move to The Villages.
It was Moore’s daughter, Kathy, who initially suggested the move to an assisted living community, though she had already been considering the need herself. “I was living in a nice neighborhood,” Moore says, “but everyone around me worked, and I was there in the daytime by myself. I didn’t really mind it, but when we came here to look at things, I realized it was time. I had not said that out loud, but when Kathy said it, it made sense.”
Fortunately, it was not a difficult transition. She’s making new friends and getting out more, and her family has commented on the change they’ve seen in her. “Both of my children feel good about me being here. There is a difference in my mood. I think I was lonely, and just didn’t realize it,” she says. “I would see my friends at church and sing with my group, but it was always just me in that house. My family was seeing changes in me that I wasn’t seeing. I just got a letter from my granddaughter in Curacao—she used to stay with me a lot, and we were buddies. She says that she hears from her mom about how much happier I am.”
Moore says she’s confident that her new home is going to grow to be a big community with lots of activities.
“The people here are wonderful and very caring,” Moore says. “Alison, Amy, and Lucy take great care of us, as does Cindy, our Activities Director. I didn’t know them before I got here, but they are friends now. They always have time for us.”
Moore smiles, and her eyes light up as she shares some wise words. “I know things are working out just like they’re supposed to,” Moore said. “You never know what God’s plan is for you. But, for me, now, it’s coming into plain view. You have to accept what happens and move forward. Always make the best of what you have.”