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One and 100: Jimmy Carter & James Fischer, assisted living residents

The Tennessean (Nashville) logo The Tennessean (Nashville) 12/16/2021 Anika Exum, Nashville Tennessean
James Fischer, 59, lived in a group home and was homeless prior to moving to Knowles Assisted Living. Knowles was one of local facilities taking in residents during the pandemic. © Anika E. Exum / The Tennessean James Fischer, 59, lived in a group home and was homeless prior to moving to Knowles Assisted Living. Knowles was one of local facilities taking in residents during the pandemic.

Jimmy Carter, 65, and James Fischer, 59, met early this year when COVID-19 cases were rampant.

“We’d speak every day, and he’d play music so I could hear it across the hallway,” Fisher said.

Carter played Marvin Gaye, James Brown, the Isley Brothers and Maze.

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Since January, Carter and Fisher have lived across the hall from one another at the end of an often sun-soaked wing at Knowles Assisted Living in North Nashville, Tennessee. At the start, all they could do was speak from their respective doorways.

Just two months into the pandemic, Carter contracted the virus and was carted off by masked and suited workers. At the time, he was transported alongside five other Knowles residents.

Carter made it back after five weeks, but according to staff, almost all the others sent with him died.

Since then, Carter has kept busy coloring, building model cars and, most importantly, keeping himself groomed with his own personal pair of clippers.

Fischer kept himself happily occupied with a television.

“Being quarantined wasn't so bad because they made sure I had a TV in my room,” he said.

Prior to moving to Knowles, Fischer lived in a group home throughout a surgery recovery. Prior to that, he was homeless for four years following his wife’s death.

“Luckily, two months before the pandemic, they found me a group home,” Fischer said. “It was hell for homeless people during COVID…. This place is a five-star hotel compared to some places I’ve been.”

Carter echoed his friend.

“You got that right.”

Now, Carter and Fischer walk the halls of Knowles like pre-pandemic times.

They stop to talk with residents, eat together in the cafeteria, and, most importantly, get visitors once again after a year of isolation.

Fischer termed it a “positively challenging” time.

Carter said it was period in which he learned to incorporate alternative “medicine” into his routine.

“I learned to maintain good sleep, keep up activities and keep motivated,” Carter said. “Thank God that I’m still here because I’m doing groovy. I’m doing alright.”

© Provided by Commercial Appeal Memphis

One and 100: Click above to read more stories about how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the South.

This article originally appeared on Nashville Tennessean: One and 100: Jimmy Carter & James Fischer, assisted living residents

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