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A journey begins

Created date

July 14th, 2009
Decades of regular travel have given Elizabeth and John Sherrill valuable insight and an ability to peer at their homeland from the outside. From France to Singapore, they have met people for whom family was everything and the thought of being without them close by, unbearable. Family also set the Sherrills on their current journey to Linden Ponds, the Erickson community in Hingham. Family s really the whole story, Mrs. Sherrill says. First steps Despite a life of travel that has kept the Sherrills on the road about half of the time, their decision to move to Linden Ponds from their home of 50 years in Chappaqua, N.Y., was not easy. But with their three children spread up and down the east coast and the future to consider the couple began to think of moving away from New York. I was the one who began to realize there were steps in our house, Mr. Sherrill recalls. He worried that his wife, who is younger, would have a similar experience, facing new difficulties in an old home. I could see that she would be facing what I was facing in five years, he says. Occasional health problems made Mr. Sherrill wonder what could happen in the event of something more serious, without family nearby. Though the Sherrills had developed a strong network of friends in New York, from the garbage man to their church group, the couple s three children live in Miami, Fla.; Nashville, Tenn.; and Scituate, Mass. Gift for the children Mrs. Sherrill remembers what it was like at the end of her mother s life, when she and her siblings had to make the decision to move their mother, only to later question whether they had done the right thing. It is a gift you can give your children to make those kinds of decisions [before they would ever have to], Mrs. Sherrill says. The Sherrills children agreed a move was absolutely right, Mr. Sherrill says, but the process of choosing a new home was just beginning. Careful research Over the course of about two years, the Sherrills diligently considered their options, thinking about their decision and taking trips to various retirement communities. When we saw Linden Ponds, we knew we were looking at something really topnotch, Mrs. Sherrill says. They were especially impressed by what they heard from the people living there. Using the interviewing skills they had mastered over the years as writers, the couple spoke with numerous people. We went around and asked people what they liked about Linden Ponds, Mr. Sherrill says. They just spontaneously came up [to us to share their thoughts]. When he asked what they liked least, they just said, not much, he recalls. Emotional moments Though the Sherrills were confident in their decision to move to Linden Ponds and be closer to their daughter in nearby Scituate, the reality of the move was not without its difficult moments. Particularly as the couple prepared to leave their local ties to friends, doctors, places, and the house where they raised their children, the process was deeply emotional. They encourage others making a move to be realistic about both the positives and negatives that come with such a change and to talk about their feelings. Allow yourself the freedom to grieve, to expect it, and to acknowledge it. Then you can balance that with all the pluses giving things away as gifts to the children and embarking on a new adventure, Mrs. Sherrill says. This is the first in a three-part series as we follow the Sherrills on their journey to Linden Ponds.