Margaret (Dennis) Rink and Ali Lou (Dennis) Paterson are sisters living at Chelsea Retirement Community. Margaret is the oldest – “You can tell ‘cause she’s bossy,” says her younger sister, Ali Lou, with a grin. “Growing up, Margaret would say that she was two and a half years and one day older than me.”
Margaret, Ali Lou, and their younger sister Janet grew up with their parents in a four-family flat in Detroit. During the lean years of the Depression, their father, an accountant, did the books for a shoe store in return for shoes, and a dentist’s office in return for dental care for his family. “He made sure we had what we needed,” says Margaret. Their family belonged to the Detroit Metropolitan United Methodist Church, where their dad volunteered as the church treasurer until he died.
Margaret and Ali Lou say they always did so much together. After high school, Margaret worked for a few years at Bell Telephone before attending Adrian College where she studied social studies and English. She loved it so much, she convinced Ali Lou to join her. They worked their way through college, washing dishes for 35 cents an hour. The two met their husbands at Adrian and married in 1947. Both Margaret and Ali Lou became teachers and moms, and they are both very proud of their extended families which now include grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
In 2009, Margaret moved to Chelsea Retirement Community. Four years later, Ali Lou says she came to CRC “just to celebrate Margaret’s birthday” and ended up putting a deposit down on an apartment of her own. “I can’t imagine living anywhere else,” says Ali Lou.
While they have different interests – Margaret loves to paint and draw, while Ali Lou enjoys creative writing – these sisters enjoy being close to each other at CRC. “It’s great to have a support person and to be here for each other,” says Margaret. Ali Lou agrees: “She’s been taking care of me ever since I can remember,” says Ali Lou of her big sister. “Margaret has always been in my life.”