Helen Charlton jokingly hints to daughter Sue Charlton that she can see into her future.

Helen, 96, predicts her daughter one day will live in a specific first-floor apartment at the Oakleaf Village of Columbus on Karl Road in the Northland area.

After all, there's precedent.

That's the apartment Helen has occupied since October 2017 and the same one that her late mother, Lulu Farrell, occupied in the 1980s.

"I think I knew it all along," Helen said.

Sue, who lives in Gahanna, doubts that; the apartment has undergone major changes since Farrell lived there. Sue said her grandmother, who was 104 when she died in 2000, was the second resident at Oakleaf Village.

Initially, Sue said, her mother was scheduled to move into a room on the second floor of the facility, but then a unit on the first floor opened up.

"We were in here and she felt it was familiar," Sue said.

Helen frequently visited her mother when Farrell lived at Oakleaf Village.

Younger sister Judith Heidmann discovered documents showing a good reason for that familiarity.

As far as Oakleaf Village personnel can determine, the coincidence of a daughter moving into the same apartment as her mother had done decades earlier is a first.

"Never heard of this," Kristin Miller, marketing director, wrote in an email. "It is so unique."

Sue said her mother is starting to have memory problems.

"I was told that I was in a hospital," Helen said of having hip-replacement surgery after moving to Oakleaf Village. "I believe my children told me that."

"The past is sharp as can be," Sue said.

As an example, Helen vividly recalls growing up on Northridge Road in Clintonville, where her family moved when she was only a few years old.

"It was all kids," she said. "We were allowed out summertime until dark."

A favorite memory is of the "roll the barrel" game played when the neighborhood children would find a discarded hot-water tank. They would stand on top of the tank and roll it along in their backyards, like circus performers, Helen said.

"We used to have contests to see who could do it the longest," she said.

After graduating from North High School, Helen enrolled at Ohio State University, where she majored in home economics with a goal of becoming a professional cook.

She graduated in 1943 but worked in the field only once, at a summer camp for boys in Pennsylvania.

Helen wed James A. Charlton, who also grew up in Clintonville, on April 24, 1943, at Clinton Heights Lutheran Church, right around the time of his entry into the U.S. Army during World War II.

"It was a sad day," Helen said.

"I remember he had to go down to Fort Hayes and be drafted. It was trying, a difficult time because you didn't know what was ahead."

When James returned from war, he and Helen had four children: Sue, Mike, Bill and Judith.

Their pictures, as children, decorate the wall above Helen's bed in her Oakleaf Village apartment.

After the war, James managed a downtown restaurant before becoming director of operations for a plastic pipe company on Cleveland Avenue, after which he went into real estate, Sue said. The family eventually moved to Worthington, she said, where her father served as president of both the city council and school board.

"That was a great time," Helen said.

James was 87 when he died in 2006.

kparks@thisweeknews.com

@KevinParksTW1