Robert Ausbury is a resident of Palace View Apartments.
I was living in a rented house before I moved to Palace View. We rented it from my wife's cousin, so we had a very nice low-cost rental there. But they were going to sell it. Palace View seemed so much in the thick of things next to a library and a bank and close to a little park called Elmwood Park, which we love very much. I don't think there are two towns in Connecticut that have such a nice park in the middle of Main Street.
We pay $600 a month for this very very nice apartment. It has one living room and one bedroom. The living room doubles as a dining room at one end because it's rather long. It's a very comfortable building. We have all the heat and air conditioning we need. The air conditioning is built-in and isn't noisy.
The apartment has a very convenient layout. If a wheelchair-bound resident lived here, he would have no trouble getting through the bathroom door.
I don't know anything about construction, but it's well designed. It's simple and direct. You walk in straight lines to get from place to place. The elevator is in the middle of the building.
I like the common room downstairs very much because it offers people the chance to get together for little Christmas, Thanksgiving, and birthday parties.
Our apartment at Palace View is much different from our last apartment. Everything is on one level. We don't have to go up any stairs. Most convenient of all, we take an elevator two floors down to the second floor to do the washing. This apartment is much more convenient for living than the house we lived in before, even though that house had considerably more space.
Living here has improved our general well-being. We don't need to do any renovating. We just have cleaning and cooking and socializing. We don't have a lot of friends in the building, but that isn't the point; the point is we have a nice place for the friends we do have in the town to come to see us.
Many of the residents here are older women. I'd guess their average age is about my age, 74 maybe a little older. They're all very nice. Most of them owned their own homes before they came here, but they adjust very well. They play cards one night a week in the community room. There's always a poker game going on down there. There are other social events in the common room as well. I don't join them in those things because I read a lot.
Palace View is across the street from a library and a bank. The back door of the library opens onto our parking lot, so it's very easy to get to the library, which is a dream. The library has many volumes, good up-to-date novels, and video tapes.
There's an A&P supermarket two blocks from Palace View and a wonderful park with tennis courts three blocks south of here. The pond at the park has been renovated and is full of geese and water birds now.
It would have been difficult to find affordable housing elsewhere. We were just so lucky that this place was being built. I've heard very hard stories about finding affordable housing in Danbury. Many people have to drive a long way and put an awful lot of money into cars if they work in Danbury or the surrounding area.
I haven't heard of anything as good as this. There are other public housing complexes for seniors just off Main Street, but I don't think there are enough of them.
A Career as a Chef
I grew up in New York City and first came to Danbury in 1935. I was brought over here for a visit while I was staying at a church camp in Carmel. That was the first time I saw Danbury.
I ended up in Danbury because I taught school at Lincoln Hall. I had been living in Corona, Queens, and had a job with the New York City Board of Education teaching at Lincoln Hall, a school for court-assigned boys in Lincolndale, New York, which is about 17 or 18 miles from Danbury. I was teaching cooking and baking, which are my trades, my crafts. All my life I've worked in restaurants. I am a trained chef. For 14 years, I had my own restaurant up in Sherman, Connecticut.
I've done quite a few things in my life, especially in the early part of it. I went to New York State college of forestry after I got out of high school. That led to a ranch job in Wyoming and summer jobs in the U.S. Forest Service in Oregon and Washington.
I've worked all over the United States. One of my first jobs as a chef was in the Palm Beach Towers Hotel in Florida.