The Story of our Senior Resident 'Arthur Cavender'
Frontline Stories from Assisted Living at Stellar Care
Written by Mai Truong

“Hey, hey good lookin’, whatcha got cookin’? How’s about cookin’ somethin’ up with me?” You may hear these Hank Williams lyrics while walking through the hallway. If you follow the voice, it will almost certainly lead you to a pair of bright blue eyes and an easygoing smile that belong to Arthur Cavender. Arthur was born on May 7, 1931 in Elmer, Missouri to a family with a horse and cattle farm. Arthur had 1 older brother and four sisters. Growing up, he was no stranger to a strong work ethic, waking up early every day to help out on the farm, regardless of if it was a hot day, rainy or snowy one.

By the time Arthur was fourteen years old, he was already working with his father on pipelines in Illinois. The working days were long and arduous, as the men worked 12-14 hours a day, 7 days a week. He loved the hard work, however, and keeping busy. Arthur shared that he learned to operate very heavy equipment, but never found it to be too strenuous a task. Working in Illinois brought another joy as well. It was in there that he met his soon-to-be wife, Mary Lou. Mary Lou worked at a local coffee shop and Arthur would stop by almost every day to visit her and order a coke. She was a few years his junior and was hesitant to get to know the young man that came so regularly just to order coca cola. He’d sing to her in an effort to break the ice and she, with time, warmed up to his charm and persistence. He had dreams of becoming a country singer, but decided to keep singing as a hobby instead, as he saw marriage and a family in his future. After they dated a while, Arthur joined the air force in order to be able to support his new family. During the Korean War, he was stationed in Alaska for some time, near Russia, then was transferred to Texas, where he and Mary Lou got married.

Mary Lou and Arthur had three children together, Annette, Steve and Tami. They later moved to California. According to Arthur, “Mary Lou decided that she wanted to move to California and I said, okay. Missouri is colder than the dickens! I like California weather, it’s nicer.” Arthur started working in auto repair and construction work and the family was able to enjoy day trips almost every weekend to Palm Springs, Big Bear, the desert and the coast. Arthur enjoyed attending to the house and even mowing the lawn, although he at times battled with daughter, Annette, for the “fun” of mowing the lawn. He had a mischievous side as well. He’d sneak by with the kids to buy some fireworks, come home and set them off. Mary Lou was once called home because Arthur and the kids were setting off fireworks in the neighborhood and causing a bit of a ruckus in the neighborhood. The mischief was always in good fun, however, and the family looks back fondly at these playful memories.

Visiting with Arthur today, you can still see lots of charm and a bit of mischief behind his handsome blue eyes and warm smile. Arthur will still sing for anybody that would like to listen. His days now are walking around the building, chatting and socializing with anybody that he passes in the hallway. He’ll stop and take a break, converse with the nearest person, and start to sing. You really can’t help but smile when hearing his voice fill the hallways and know that you are hearing a dear friend, Arthur.

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