Written by Mia Kweskin
Carol Axelrod uses two words to describe her experience at Covenant House—fun and friends.
“I have made so many wonderful friends. If you hear two people in your hallway talking you open your door and you join them. I just say all the time how much I love it here and people will always say well why? It’s that I don’t have to leave if I don’t want to—there is something every single day—there’s knitting, there’s Yiddish class, there’s exercises—there’s just always something you can do.”
For Axelrod, location is key, because St. Louis has always been home. Many of her friends today are people she met in school or knew from other schools around the area.
“My husband and I actually went to the same grade school but he was two years older then me, and he told me he was always walking like a block behind me,” Axelrod said.
Axelrod says she enjoys her outings with her longtime friends whether it be to one of their favorite restaurants like Spiros, First Watch, or the Cheesecake Factory, or a jaunt to Alton, Missouri to explore Josephine’s.
“I have so many friends and we’re always doing something,” Axelrod said. “Sometimes we go to Josephine’s in Alton. It’s really a lady’s tea room. They have rooms and rooms and rooms where they sell all sorts of things—jewelry, and purses, and clothing. You can always find something there, always.”
Throughout her life, Axelrod has stayed true to her love of Mahjong, another way she has made many of her friends. She started right after she got married in 1957 and still plays three times a week.
“A lot of it is luck but a lot of it is brains, you have to think a little bit, and it’s also social, you play with people you like,” Axelrod said. “I’m in three different groups and I get called to fill in for other groups. It’s just a game you play for money, not a lot, and it’s just fun, like ‘Hey look at this great hand I made.’”
Besides Mahjong and trips to Josephine’s, Axelrod also participates in many activities and events within Covenant House. She enjoys the Friday afternoon movies and any kind of performances.
“There are so many things that people do that I don’t even do yet like there’s some kind of musical bells people play. I haven’t participated yet but I’m thinking about that,” Axelrod said.
Axelrod has also participated in the Covenant House Fashion Show. Residents were invited to the Jewish Federation’s re-sell shop to pick out stylish outfits for the Fashion Show Each model invited guests to watch them as they walked the runway.
“Some of my friends came, my kids came that could, my grandkids came that could and it was so much fun, I mean we just had a blast with it, we really did. They made up a little ‘And here’s Carol, she’s on her way to the opera’ or something like that,” Axelrod said.
Whether it’s strutting along the catwalk or playing a great game of Mahjong, Axelrod keeps herself active and smiling at Covenant House.
“It’s like your own little home here,” Axelrod said.