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Pursuit of peace' leads to Brighton

Created date

August 23rd, 2010

[caption id="attachment_13908" align="alignright" width="280" caption="Grace Ittleman stands beside the countertop she had custom-built in her Brighton-style apartment home at Brooksby Village. (Photo by Setarreh Massihzadegan)"][/caption] Grace Ittleman has finally retired, but she admits it s going to take effort. After a long career in the business world, she could not become a homebody and turned instead to part-time work. Though she retired from that two years ago, she keeps up a busy schedule of volunteer work, research, and learning while settling into her new home at Brooksby Village. At the forefront of her decision to move from her Salem, Mass., condominium, she says matter-of-factly: I just don t like cooking. One meal each day is included in the cost of living at Brooksby, and many people who live there admit to scarcely using their kitchens for more than boiling water. The fact that I don t have to cook gives me more time to do the things I like to do, she says, things which include volunteering for the North Shore Physicians Group of Salem Hospital (NSPG), researching her family s genealogy, and taking courses in history and opera through the nearby Explorers Lifelong Learning Institute, where she also served as treasurer. At NSPG, Ittleman is an integral part of our administrative office, says Steven E. Kapfhammer, president of the group. Ittleman provides support for leadership council meetings and creates training materials for the Patient Safety and Quality department, but he adds, Grace contributes more than just assistance on projects to NSPG s office; the staff also enjoys hearing the stories of her experiences, travels, family, and new home at Brooksby Village.

Finding a fit

Petite but larger-than-life with energy, Ittleman explains that the moves to and from her condo of 15 years were calculated ones. After her husband passed, she moved to Salem from Malden to be closer to her daughter, son-in-law, and two grandchildren in Swampscott. Another daughter lives in Springfield but Ittleman wanted to remain nearer to her extended family in the North Shore area. In recent years, she got on Brooksby s priority list, reserving herself a spot in line for an apartment home. I decided I could make the move now while I have all my marbles and am in good health, she says. When her one-bedroom, Brighton-style apartment home became available late last year, Ittleman worked with Brooksby s Personal Moving Consultant Ellen Meehan, who visited her in Salem and helped determine how the furniture there would fit into her Brooksby apartment home. With Meehan s assistance, Ittleman was able to arrange her new bedroom and living room exactly as they were in her condo. The only exception: Her desk would have to reside in the spot where her piano once stood. Ittleman knew she wanted one large change to her apartment home that would mimic the layout of her condo. With help from Dot Harding of Brooksby s Custom Interiors department, she had the wall dividing the kitchen and living room removed, making way for a narrow countertop filled with family photos and overlooking the brightly lit living area.

Rich family history

The wall upon entrance to Ittleman s apartment home is lined with historical family photos and a large, framed aerial shot of the Mount of Olives Cemetery in Jerusalem ' where her grandmother, who arrived in Palestine in 1911, is buried. ' Ittleman was born in Poland to a Jewish family. ' Because she immigrated to the United States in 1930 at the age of 7, Ittleman, her sister, and her parents avoided becoming victims of the Holocaust. ' Many of her father s family members were killed during the Nazi invasion of Poland that marked the beginning of World War II. Fortunately, most of her mother s family was able to escape from Poland and settled in the United States, Australia, and Israel. Ittleman has since tracked down numerous family records dating back to the early 1800s, which help tell her family s story. She reflects fondly on her numerous visits to Israel as she continues enthusiastically to pursue her interests in the history of mankind and the pursuit of peace, which eludes civilization, she says. While she plans to keep up her busy schedule of outside activities, Ittleman also plans to do some more exploration into her Brooksby community. The activities here are incredible. Of her neighbors, she adds: They re coming and going all the time.