To Ima Moreland, the bowling alley is more than a place to meet for a friendly game. It’s the place she found the love of her life.
“I was working at the Fort Worth Post Office, and they had a bowling league,” she said. “Someone invited me. I’ve always been involved in sports, so I thought, ‘Maybe I’ll try that.’”
Being new to the game, she had lots of questions, and one coworker in particular, Lester, was happy to help. In fact, he checked on her regularly.
According to Ima, she noticed him nervously pacing through her work area one day before he finally apprached her. He’d heard she had questions about score keeping.
“If you wanna to learn how to keep score, I’ll teach you,” Lester said.
So the two started hanging out at the bowling alley regularly and, you guessed it, fell in love. Both were divorced with families of their own. Neither were expecting to find love again, but the two were married in 1971.
Their time together ended when Lester passed away in 2017, and it was a few years thereafter that Ima had to make the tough decision on whether or not to leave the only place she had ever considered home.
Ima grew up on Jaybird Road between Azle and Springtown.
“One of my brothers showed me how to play softball before I could hardly hold a bat,” she said. “And I ended up playing basketball in high school.”
Ima graduated after 11 years as a student in the Springtown school system. She has fond memories of her hometown and remembered the days when she could get a hamburger for a nickel at a stand across the street from the school. She did move away from Jaybird Road for a few years as an adult, but eventually she found her way back home. She lived there more years than not. When her health began to fade, Ima, now 89, moved to Eagle Crest Villa, a senior community in Azle.
Ima walks the halls daily to get exercise and greet her neighbors and the staff.
“The people are great,” Ima said.
She also enjoys playing an occasional bingo game and listening to the musicians who sometimes visit the senior community.
“Ima adds the element of joy in her daily activities,” said Eagle Crest Villa activities director Nikki Jolliff. “She brightens everyone’s day with her lovely smile and warm heart.”
We passed nooks filled with games, books, puzzles, and sitting areas for Eagle Crest residents on our way to her cozy apartment, which she shares with her furry companion, Kitty.
Living in a senior community hasn’t stopped Ima from participating in the sport she and Lester so loved.
Every Tuesday and Thursday, Ima and her private sitter, Diane Butler, travel to Cowtown Bowling Palace on Highway 199 in River Oaks to participate in the senior leagues for ages 50 and up.
“This is the only place I’ve ever bowled,” said Ima.
Cowtown Bowling was bustling with senior bowlers the day we caught up with Ima.
Joining the fun is easy. Simply head to Cowtown Bowling Palace on a league day and ask to join one of the leagues.
There are two senior leagues – one on Thursdays and one on Tuesdays. Both league days open with practice at 9:15 a.m. Competition starts at 9:30 a.m.
There is a one-time fee of $25 to join a league and a $13 per week fee. The weekly fee covers your bowling time, but shoes are extra ($2).
You will be assigned a lane each week as a league member. You do not need to bring a bowling ball.
Say hello to Ima when you get there.