“I just love the people of Eastway. We’re country people. We’re down-to-earth, simple folks.”
When Eastway Court installed their Community Gardens a few years ago, there was no doubt who should be honored in their name. “Wanda’s Gardens” is a tribute to 84-year-old Wanda Horn, who has faithfully cared for her beloved residents of Eastway Court for more than 40 years.
Wanda was born in the small town of Cumberland - long before it was incorporated into Indianapolis - and raised on a nearby farm. She graduated from Mount Comfort School with a graduating class of 16 and married her high school sweetheart, Johnny. She’s attended the same church her entire life and will be buried in the church cemetery with her parents, husband son, and four siblings. “It’s a simple place,” she says. “It’s changed a lot over the years, but it’s still a simple place,” she says of the Cumberland area, and Eastway Court Apartments.
In September, 1980 Wanda started working part-time at Eastway and has been a fixture in the office ever since. A lot has changed in 40 years. What’s the biggest change? “There wasn’t a computer in sight; everything was on paper,” says Wanda of the early years. It wasn’t until four years ago that Wanda received her first computer. “And that computer is the most difficult part of the job,” she quips with a smile.
Looking out at the spacious grounds, you can still see corn fields in between the widely-spaced one-story units, reminiscent of Cumberland’s farming-community past. “I just love the people of Eastway,” she says. “We’re country people. We’re down-to-earth, simple folks,” she says.
“Well hi there!” Wanda says enthusiastically as a resident exits the office, interrupting our interview. “You got that doctor’s report back?” As Wanda listens to the resident explain his medical situation, it’s clear that they’ve been friends a long time. “She’s a staple in this complex, that’s for sure,” he says as he promises to keep her updated on his health.
When Renewing Management purchased Eastway in 2016, Wanda had just been through several devastating losses, including her husband of 59-years and her only child. “It was a hard time of my life and then didn’t know if I would still have a job,” says Wanda. “When they decided to hire me back, I was so thrilled. And since then, Renewing Management’s been so good to me.”
Renewing Management made several updates, including a brand-new playground, outdoor living space, dog park, community gardens and a beautiful clubhouse, gym and office. In fact, when the new playground was installed, the first person to try out the swings was not a child, but Wanda. “They said, ‘You better be careful Miss Wanda’ so I climbed to the top of the slide and went down that too,” Wanda says smugly.
While most senior citizens Wanda’s age have slowed down considerably, feisty Wanda Horn is still on the go.
“My friends who are my age wonder why in the world I still work, but I am just so happy that I can come be with wonderful people. My co-workers are just amazing. I’ve even learned how to text,” she says with a big smile. “I thank God every day for giving me just another day to enjoy. I don’t have time to think about complaints.”