Finding old photo of dad’s bestie raises question: Is Peaches dead or alive?

Dad visits with his friend Audrey “Peaches” Phillips in his subterranean studio apartment at Oak Terrace in Rock Island in this undated file photo.

On Wednesday, I had a dementia caregiver horrific experience.

I was so broke, I did not have $2 for roundtrip bus fare to the dispensary. Only $1.73!

So, there I was, digging through furniture cushions. Including dad’s checkered chair that we bought right before he went into Amber Ridge (and that went with him to Amber Ridge).

Only people who have  been caregivers for people with dementia will understand how they have an uncanny ability to squirrel things away.

It can be really gross, especially when you find things in a chair, more than two years after your dad has been buried. And to think the chair has been in your house this entire time.

But I did find an amazing old picture of dad’s best friend, Audrey “Peaches” Phillips in that chair, too. And it’s so odd to find the picture because I just referenced Peaches yesterday in a blog post. Peaches was the MetroLink ambassador extraordinaire.

Longtime Rock Islanders will recall Peaches, the friendly black lady who would catch the bus outside Oak Terrace Apartments, always on the go, on one side of the street or the other.

My dad was the so-called “Mayor of Oak Terrace” for 30 years, living in Apartment B1. He moved in there after a short stint in a sleeping room after my mother had him removed from this home by court order.

Truly, dad’s old apartment at Oak Terrace should be made into a museum, velvet ropes and all. I’ve already done my part to make the homestead the Bernard L. Heitz Presidential Library.

Dad was ‘Mayor of Oak Terrace,’ Peaches was clerk

Peaches was my dad’s best friend, as she was one of the few people who could tolerate him for extended periods. They spent many hours chatting in his apartment. She always was extremely nice to me.

Peaches health turned poor even before dad’s, and she ended up in a nursing home before he did. But dad could not remember the name of the nursing home. I spent a day calling around and nobody seemed to have her.

Still, I feel like I didn’t try hard enough (dad asked to go see her many times through the years).

I can’t help but wonder about finding that picture stuffed down there. I wonder if dad put it there for safe keeping. There were tons of playing cards stuff in the side, too. Perhaps he was cheating the others in cards at the memory care facility.

I did not know a whole lot about Peaches. I never have been able to find an obituary.

In fact, I am not convinced she is dead. Last I knew, she was living in a nursing home in East Moline, but I called all the East Moline nursing homes a long time ago.

I bet she’s in Hope Creek.

Does anybody know what happened to Audrey “Peaches” Phillips of Oak Terrace Rock Island fame?

If dad was Oak Terrace’s mayor, Peaches was its village clerk.

What a fun surprise finding this picture, even if some of the other things wedged in that cushion were pretty gross!

As for the dispensary, a friend came through. I would not have had any money for the dispensary either, but I hit my bonus points. I bought a strain called “Outer Space,” a sativa, which has been pleasant, uplifting and not at all overwhelming.

It has a nice, fruity taste, too.

Until next time.

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