CANON CITY, Colo.
May 30, 2012
, a 75-year-old African-American from
, briefly lost her composure as she entered the train's dining car in
Canon City, Colorado
. As a child when she traveled by train with her grandmother in the 1940s, she had been denied access due to segregation. After wiping her eyes, she purposefully made her way to her seat in anticipation of a three-course gourmet meal, an experience more than 65 years in the making. Flood flew from
, where she resides at the Terrace at Memorial City, to
to receive her lifelong wish, thanks to Brookdale Senior Living and
's Wish of a Lifetime. Her story was featured on National Public Radio's "Morning Edition" on
and is available online at
As a child growing up during segregation, Flood traveled from
every summer with her grandmother. In the early years, the trip was made by train. On those long rides, Flood remembers peering through the glass into the dining car with its fine linen and china, but not being allowed in due to her race. Flood and her grandmother packed shoe boxes with their meals to eat along the route.
"As a child, I didn't understand why we couldn't go in and eat too," said Flood. "I would ask my grandmother, and she would just say we were not allowed."
When she was older, the two would travel by car to visit relatives in the South, but Flood's desire to eat in the dining car never went away. On
, Flood was able at last to enjoy lunch in a train dining car, an experience she wasn't sharing alone, she was certain.
"I know my grandmother is here with me today," Flood stated, matter-of-factly.