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Meet Larry Farris, Former Flower Child at Carillon Assisted Living in Hendersonville

Larry Farris’ past is as colorful as the tie-dyed shirts he wore as a flower child in the 1960s and 1970s. Larry, now a resident of the Carillon facility in Hendersonville, North Carolina, was born in St. Louis, Missouri, in early 1943. He suffered a stroke when he was only 23 years old, and vowed to never take another moment for granted.

In 1965, Larry earned a bachelor of science in secondary education and two years later he returned to school to earn a master’s in counseling, as well as a certification to teach elementary school. In the mid-1970s, Larry pursued a doctorate in theology. “religions fascinated me,” Larry said. “I also really enjoyed school and learning.”

Larry wrote his doctoral thesis on religious cults, and he had up close and personal experience with his topic. While working toward his degree, he lived in a religious commune in Southern California. “A friend and I were driving along, when we decided to stop at a New Age bookstore,” Larry recalled. “We started talking with three or four good-looking women, and they were so friendly we decided to stay.”

During the day Larry worked as a counselor. In the evening he shared an apartment with other members who were following the teachings of the same religious master. Larry wore his hair long, he grew a beard and his typical outfit was a tie-dyed T-shirt, a pair of jeans, and tennis shoes. There were around 3,000 members in the group, and Larry remembers lots of meditation, psychic readings and tarot cards. “We didn’t have a TV or a radio,” Larry said. “We didn’t have a lot of furniture, either.” What they did have was spontaneity. He and other members of the group would often hop onto a bus for a weekend road trip, taking off to Arizona or swimming at a national park.

“We were the freest generation,” Larry said. “If someone told us we couldn’t do something, we did it just to prove we could.”

In addition to working as a counselor, Larry taught at a one-room schoolhouse in East Wind, Missouri, a small community in the Ozark Mountains. He played in pool tournaments and also drove a semi-truck. “I never did figure out what I wanted to do when I grew up,” Larry joked.

Larry’s younger brother encouraged and convinced him to move to North Carolina. He has been at Carillon for five years and serves as a resident welcome ambassador at the Carillon Assisted Living in Hendersonville. Larry loves his role and time at Carillon. His role as ambassador to new residents gives him the opportunity to share a lifetime of incredible experiences and stories of his adventures with other residents while learning about the lives of current and new residents.

Posted in Sage Stories Tagged , , , , on September 29, 2016

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