Reuniting Lifelong Friends in Assisted Living Community
When Katherine Budeker, or Kay as she likes to be called, began her career at the Equitable Trust Company in Baltimore little did she know that she would make a friend for a lifetime. In 1941 as chief telephone operator, Kay took a teller six years her junior named Esther Allen under her wing. Kay was a city girl growing up in Baltimore and Esther was a county girl who grew up in Baltimore County. Not only were the two women coworkers, but they eventually found out that they were related through the marriage of their cousins.
“That cemented the relationship,” says Kay. “I always thought of Esther as my kid sister.”
Esther eventually became a boarder at Kay’s mother’s home, where Kay still lived. After Kay’s mother passed away, the twosome moved to a home near Towson, Md. There they made many happy memories traveling across the country and throughout Europe.
“We like to kid each other and we’ve never had a fight,” says Esther. “We don’t always agree, but agree to disagree.”
Unfortunately in 2006 Kay required surgery and had to subsequently move into Stella Maris, a long-term care facility located in Timonium, which separated the duo for two years. However, Esther’s declining health recently made it no longer possible for her to live at home by herself. Once it became known that Esther would be admitted, both Admissions and Nursing staff worked hard to reunite the two gal pals.
Today, 67 years later, they are still best buds and share a room on Three Shehan. They enjoy playing Bingo, participating in “Fun with Food,” celebrating birthday parties and listening to live music. Although they have one another, the two are happy to be in the company of the other residents and staff of Stella Maris.
“Everyone is so kind,” says Esther. “I’m glad that I’m not living alone anymore.”
Roommates Katherine Budeker and Esther Allen have enjoyed each other’s company for 67 years.