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Parallel lives come together at Maris Grove

September 3, 2020

A special friendship blooms at active senior living community in Glen Mills.

When we meet someone new, a few simple questions (Where did you grow up? Go to school? Work? Where do you worship?) help us discover the people and places we have in common.

Such was the case for Maggie Arbuckle and Joanne Lennon, residents of Maris Grove, an Erickson Living-managed community in Glen Mills, Penn. Their answers revealed some surprising connections and launched a deep friendship both women cherish. "We should have known each other our entire lives," says Maggie, "and we're making up for lost time."

Different sides of the same street

After moving to the community in 2017, the two women were introduced by a mutual friend following Sunday mass at St. Cornelius Catholic Church. Their bonds began unspooling like a runaway ball of yarn.

"We grew up within two blocks of each other in Philadelphia," says Joanne, "but, because we're a few years apart, our paths never crossed." Maggie adds, "I mentioned our family physician, Dr. Henry Hession, and Joanne started laughing. 'That's my father!' she said. He took such good care of my grandmother. We instantly hit it off, and it grew from there."

After completing their educations, both married and moved to Media, Penn. Says Maggie, "We were literally across the street for more than 50 years but never met. The main thoroughfare, Route 352, separated my side of Middletown Township from Joanne's. We were in different voting districts, different parishes, and never overlapped professionally."

Perhaps their most meaningful connection was learning that their husbands Joe and Bill are buried in the same cemetery two rows apart. Joanne laughs, "It took us a lifetime to meet, but we're going to spend eternity together."

Different careers

Maggie had a successful career in human resources, specializing in corporate training and personnel development; she also worked for 10 years in marketing and advertising. Joe was a professor at Widener University. "I had a wonderful life with him, and I'm having another wonderful life at Maris Grove," she says. "I always knew I'd move here. It just felt like home to me. I've been here three years, and it has exceeded my expectations in every respect."

Maggie enjoys exercising, attending lectures and church, and serving on the Diversity and Inclusion Council.  Off campus, she has taught decision-making classes to incarcerated men at the local prison for 22 years.

"It's incredibly rewarding to help these men restart their lives as productive members of society," she says. "As soon as it's safe to do so, I'll be back in class."

Joanne attended the Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia, the first art school in the country, and won a scholarship to study art in Europe. After she married Bill, a chief engineer for Arco, she stayed home to raise their six children.

"Bill was at sea for months at a time, so our kids were my full-time job," she says with a smile. Once her children started school, she returned to work, first as a photographer, then as a freelance graphic designer. She continues to paint, and her apartment home is filled with her artwork.

"They're like my kids," she laughs. "I love being surrounded by them and can't part with any of them."

Great minds think alike

Not surprisingly, Joanne and Maggie both chose the Thurmont floorplan, an extra-large, two-bedroom, two-bath apartment home with lots of windows.

"Clearly, this friendship was meant to be," says Maggie with a huge smile.

Says Joanne, "She's my sister, so much more than a friend. She's so good, so kind, I'm blessed to know her."

Maggie adds, "I feel like I've known her my entire life. It's a wonderful relationship. We're here for each other, no matter what. I'm grateful to Maris Grove for bringing us together."

To learn more about Maris Grove, visit marisgrovecommunity.com.

About Maris Grove: Maris Grove, one of 20 continuing care retirement communities developed and managed by Erickson Living®, is situated on a scenic 87-acre campus in Glen Mills, Pennsylvania. The not-for-profit community of more than 1,900 residents and 1,000 employees is governed by its own board of directors, affiliated with National Senior Campuses, who provide independent financial and operational oversight of the community. Additional information about Maris Grove can be found at MarisGroveCommunity.com.

Written by Dorrie Anshel

Photo: Since moving to Maris Grove, Maggie Arbuckle (right) and Joanne Lennon have discovered a lifetime of commonalities and become fast friends. Photo from early 2020 when a friend celebrated an Irish-themed birthday. Photo credit: Joanne Lennon

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