By MARGARET BLOHM
For the Times-Herald
DEARBORN – At Beaumont Commons, Dearborn, it can be the unexpected things people appreciate. For resident Hursha Medley, it’s having access to an elevator.
“For seven years, I lived in a second-floor apartment in Farmington Hills that had 14 steps,” said Medley, who had both hips and a knee replaced. “It was my friend Mary Thurman who suggested I visit her senior living community in Dearborn.”
Medley took her friend’s advice and went for a visit and tour with one of her two sons, who live in the Redford area.
“I loved it and found the apartment I wanted on the second floor,” said Medley, who welcomed elevator access and also a private balcony overlooking lush trees on the campus grounds.
Now a resident since May 2022, Medley recently revealed how she and Thurman met nearly 60 years ago as co-workers and later, travel companions in retirement.
Medley, who was born and raised in Memphis, Tenn., moved to Detroit with her family in 1955. After graduating from Northwestern High School, she met Thurman in 1965 at a General Motors plant in Detroit, making small automotive parts.
“Our problem was that we’d work two weeks, get laid off and called back again for two more weeks. Nothing consistent,” Medley said. “Then we learned the Chevrolet Spring and Bumper Plant in Livonia was hiring.”
To their surprise, they were the first two women to be hired in the plant. Medley added that Thurman actually had one day seniority, because she was hired immediately while Medley failed the eye test.
Medley had her vision checked and bought glasses, so she could begin working the next day.
Their job was spray painting steel bumpers. As the first women in the plant, Medley said, it was heavy work especially when transferring parts from one line to another, and there was no opportunity to sit down.
After five or six years, Medley and Thurman were moved up to inspection and marking parts in quality control.
“That’s what we did until we retired,” Medley said.
In retirement, the friends took several cruises together – venturing to Alaska, Puerto Rico, Cancun and the Bahamas.
“I don’t feel the need to travel like I used to,” said Medley, who enjoys doing puzzles, reading and going on local outings with other residents.
Medley stressed that grocery shopping is also easier because she can park her car in the underground garage and take the elevator all the way to the second floor. No more steps.
Grateful for her friend’s advice to move, she said, “I feel like God told me I’m where I’m supposed to be — for peace and rest, because he knows how hard I worked.”