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Love is in the air

Created date

January 26th, 2010
Love is definitely in the air at Maris Grove and Ann s Choice. There s one funny thing about love it tends to spread, and, like a smile, it s contagious.

Starting as neighbors

Mej Bernard and Joe Blake were each happily married to other spouses for 50 years, but those spouses passed in 2006. As fate would have it, they both attended a marketing luncheon at Maris Grove that October. Mej was alone and seated at a table full of Blakes Joe Blake; his brother, Bill; and his sister-in-law, Betty. They casually chatted and made independent decisions to move to Maris Grove, Joe in May 2007 and Mej in September 2007. (The following year, Bill and Betty Blake moved to Maris Grove as well.) The summer before she made Maris Grove home, Mej signed up for her garden spot on campus and tended to it. During those times, she would bump into Joe casually, ask for a glass of water, or view his one-bedroom apartment home with a patio. They were becoming friends in the best sense of the word. Two days after Mej moved in, she ran into Joe as she and her daughter were moving boxes. He invited her to a birthday party, and she almost turned him down because she was tired and disheveled from moving. Her daughter told her to go, so she went. What was supposed to be a birthday party turned into the Welcome Mej party, she giggles. After that, Mej and Joe made a fluid transition into dating and by February 2008 were engaged. They were married on July 27, 2009, in an intimate ceremony that blossomed into 100 people, where Mej Bernard became Mrs. Blake spiritually. The wedding was held at St. Francis Church of Assisi on Long Beach Island, N.J., near their family. Since they each had an apartment home at Maris Grove, they were going to summer in one and winter in the other, but the summer ended and the patio wasn t useful anymore, Joe laughs. So they decided to move into her place in Vernon Woods, a two-bedroom apartment home where they have two of everything and a lovely bay window. The process of merging two lives into one meant downsizing. So they gave stuff to children, Goodwill, Maris Grove s Treasure Chest store, and even furnished the Maris Grove guest suite with his bedroom and dining room sets. Now I can visit my furniture, he jokes. How are things going now that they re cohabitating? We re very cozily settled, Mej reports. And while they may have downsized material goods, their love for each other has expanded their horizons. We have a lot of the same interests, says Mej, but he dragged me into the pool hall, and I dragged him into the garden.

Love three doors down

Edna Abendroth and John Blaker were recently married on January 23, 2010, on the island of Half Moon Cay in the Bahamas. They lived on the same floor at Ann s Choice, just three doors down from each other. He moved there in August 2006; she moved a month later. Edna knew John s late wife. After she passed, Edna helped me through that difficult time, as a friend, and I am grateful to her for that, John says. I was a widow for nine years, and I prayed for the right man to come into my life, Edna recalls. Two days after she said her prayer, John called and asked her out on a date. Since that first date, they have been glued together. They re very compatible, right down to liking the same food. Both enjoy traveling, going to the theater, and watching the same TV shows. Their fate was inevitable they were engaged in May 2009 after dating for a year. Everybody here was so supportive and happy for us; they were disappointed we didn t get married at Ann s Choice, Edna says. Instead, they chose to get married on the Bahamian cruise because it doubled as a honeymoon, and Edna had never been sailing down the Panama Canal, something John wanted her to experience. Back at Ann s Choice, they decided to move into his apartment home, because he had a two-bedroom suite. She s remodeled the space to reflect their new life together. Things from the past from both of their lives were put away as memory pieces, and they got new bedroom and living room furniture. He s pleased with everything I ve done, and that makes me happy, she says. It s lucky we were only three doors down from each other, John says. It made moving all her stuff a lot easier. And while he admits he s lost a lot of his closet space, he knows he s gained so much more.