Brooksby, then and now

Peabody community celebrates tenth anniversary

Created date

May 25th, 2010

[caption id="attachment_12146" align="alignright" width="280" caption="Today, Brooksby boasts 3 clubhouses, 7 restaurants, 10 residence buildings, and more than 1,700 residents."]Brooksby Village, when furniture was rearranged to turn the Greentree Caf into a place of worship and the Fireside Lounge doubled as a playroom for entertainment and activities. As a Brooksby pioneer, Clark was one of the first 100 or so people who moved into the community ten years ago. At the time, Brooksby had just one clubhouse and one residence building; everybody knew one another and dined together in a portion of the one restaurant. Clark, who founded the Protestant Community at Brooksby, clearly remembers how she felt about making the move there. I was so ready and so eager for it that certainly took away any misgivings I may have had for making this leap, says Clark, who moved to Brooksby from Ipswich, Mass. Betty Fish was similarly eager when she moved in from Canton, Mass., on the community s third day. I was anxious to get settled and get going and meet people, Fish says. She didn t waste any time. She left her boxes and lent a hand unpacking boxes in Brooksby s library. Unrushed, she would unpack a couple of boxes each day in between enjoying the summer weather and meeting her new neighbors.

Activities aplenty

Brooksbywill celebrate its 10th anniversary this month with ten days of events, including a luncheon for the pioneers like Clark and Fish, an outdoor music festival, and a field day, all of which serve as examples of how the community has grown, from those first 100 people to the 1,800 who now call it home. The community has blossomed to include three clubhouses, ' five restaurants, a catering room, TV station, and chapel.Brooksbyresidents have numerous activities from which to choose. Jim and Dot Silva,Brooksbypioneers from Lexington, Mass., have kept busy from the beginning. In addition to playing table tennis and golf, Mr. Silva was one of the first members of the Resident Advisory Council, which serves as a liaison between the residents and the staff ofBrooksby. He also sat on the community s Board of Directors but has retired to spend more time with his wife. And she has her separate activities too she line dances, serves on the Protestant Faith Council, and volunteers in the library atBrooksby. Mr. Silva advises those thinking about a move toBrooksby: Come while you re young enough and healthy enough to get involved while you can do things, join in the activities, and enjoy the life here. Though the Silvas often went to Florida during the winters before they moved to Brooksby, Mr. Silva says, Once you re living in a place likeBrooksby, there s less incentive to go down, including no need to worry about snow removal and the like.

Help on the way

Yard work is no longer necessary, and Fish appreciates that much of what she needs is available in her own building. She usesBrooksby smedical center, dental office, bank, and beauty shop.

Brooksby has about everything that a person could want, and if you need help with anything, there are always people here to help you, she says, adding, I feel like it s a blessing for me to be here.

Those who live atBrooksbyalso have much to say about the people they have met there. I think that it was the best thing that ever happened to me, says Clark. I had been a widow 12 years [by the time I moved in]. You can have nice companions and friends and yet you don t have to go out of your way to find them. Back whenBrooksbyopened, Community Resources Coordinator Fran Gerrior says, The community was very different but also very much the same. Always the friendliness and intention of saying hello to everyone was there the difference was that you knew everyone. For Clark, meeting people has remained a priority, and she continues to go to dinner each night by herself in order to sit with different people. I am open-eyed about anybody I meet in the elevator or the hall, Clark says. She often invites new residents to dinner, explaining, One of my missions is to help people get the feeling that somebody cares about them. Fish befriended fellow pioneer Doris Spencer shortly after moving in, and the two often travel together. They rescheduled this month s trip to Vermont, however, to be sure they could attend Brooksby s anniversary celebration. I think it s special that they re celebrating it; it s really something because I think Brooksby is really a special place, Fish says. Clark advises others: This is a new, good life take advantage of it. And what about her apartment home? I am so content, she says. My beautiful window looks out on the rocks and the trees and I see the sunrise and part of the sunset. I just think it s beautiful here.
Brooksby Village is an Erickson retirement community in Peabody, Massachusetts. ' Erickson manages a network of 19 communities nationwide that combine a maintenance-free, active lifestyle with social activities, amenities, and medical offerings proven to improve both physical and mental health.