John 5

John Peterson has been with The Caledonia since doors opened in 2007. During this time he has gotten to know most of the residents while witnessing marriages come together and families grow. John took some time from his busy schedule to talk to me about life inside and outside The Caledonia.

Lance: Hi John, Thanks for agreeing to participate in the interview! You’ve been here since The Caledonia opened and you always make yourself available to help residents and staff. What has it been like being here for nearly 8 years?

John: I love it. I got here about a week after the first person moved in, so that was in 2008. Since then I have watched people find their husbands or wives, get pets, start families. I’ve seen little kids that were small grow into teenagers that tower over me at 6’ 4”. I used to work in hospitality at The Hilton which I liked but everyone came and went quickly. Here it’s like a second family, both with the residents and with my coworkers who have also been here for years. It becomes an extension of your family and some of us spend time together outside of The Caledonia.

Lance: What does a typical day look like for you?

John: My role is officially doorman but I help with everything. Some days I’ll be at the desk, other days at the door, other days distributing packages or covering for colleagues if they are out sick. It changes daily.

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Lance: Where are you from?

John: I was born and raised in a town called Gouldtown, close to Millville, New Jersey and not far from Philadelphia. Gouldtown is about 300 years old and was the first mixed-race community in the US, created when a black man by the name of Charles Gould married Elizabeth Fenwick, the granddaughter of an English settler, around the year 1700. Today there are still hundreds of descendants of the Gould family in Gouldtown as well as many descendants of other mixed race families from the same era, something almost unheard of in the United States back then. This article is pretty interesting and gives more details about the history of the town.  My parents also grew up in New Jersey and now I have family around the US. My sister is in the military and lives in Texas and I have about 24 cousins.

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Lance: What do you like to do in your spare time?

John: I love going to the Met and the MoMa. I like to read and don’t even have a cable service because I prefer to read. I’m also really good at poker and blackjack, and generally any mind games that require concentration and logic. I’ve been playing cards for about 10 years now and have a great time playing. I love spending time with friends at restaurants, dinners, bars, playing paintball, fishing, obstacle course races and I’ve recently gotten really into fantasy sports which is super fun. My friends and I also rent a cabin in the Poconos every few months to grill, play cards, cook, set off fireworks, and hang out. Eric and I go out to karaoke with his wife (who is an amazing singer) and that’s always a great time.

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LanceWhat’s the hardest part about working at The Caledonia?

John: It’s hard when we’re short staffed because someone is out sick. It’s just us so that means certain things don’t get done, which can be stressful but it’s just the way it goes.

LanceWhat’s the best part about working at The Caledonia?

John: I care about the residents and their families; everybody kind of grows together. And the team is what I like most about it; people like Eric, Latoya, and Will. We’ve been here a long time and we work well together and get along really well.

Written by Lance Nguyen