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Family destination at Linden Ponds

Created date

October 27th, 2010

Thomas and Vivian Bleakney had thought carefully about the retirement lifestyle they wanted before they moved to Linden Ponds, but they worried about how the change would affect their grandchildren. We were concerned the grandchildren wouldn t have the yard to play in, Mr. Bleakney says. Instead, he and his wife ended up fielding questions about why Grandma and Grandpa have such a big place, he recalls. They love it here. The couple moved to Linden Ponds from nearby Weymouth, Mass., four years ago, after Mr. Bleakney s father received an invitation to a luncheon in the community. The Bleakneys went instead and surprised themselves by reserving a spot on the priority list two days later. We didn t even realize this type of lifestyle was out there, Mrs. Bleakney recalls. We said, What a nice way to live. The Bleakneys had had enough of yard work and preferred not to witness repairs their house would surely need. There would be no real worries, Mrs. Bleakney says of life at Linden Ponds. We fell in love with the place and the possibilities.

Family playground

Nine months later, the couple made the move from their home of 35 years to their Hastings-style, two-bedroom apartment home. A week after their move, their youngest granddaughter was born and has grown up visiting the Bleakneys Linden Ponds home. If you are a really active, intelligent person, this is the kind of place where you want to live. Vivian Bleakney, Linden Ponds resident Today, the couple says their grandchildren prefer Linden Ponds to the playground. They ride bicycles through the community, swim in its pool, and play golf on the putting green. They also join their grandparents for activities the Bleakneys have made famous at Linden Ponds. For the past two years Mrs. Bleakney has led the popular line dancing group, where her grandson made a recent appearance to demonstrate his own steps. The Bleakneys are also familiar faces in the community s Derby Clubhouse, where they teach their neighbors how to use Nintendo Wii, a video game console that offers interactive sports including bowling, baseball, and tennis. They play with their grandchildren on the Wii console in their apartment home, but they have also sparked community enthusiasm for Wii bowling, which draws an after-dinner crowd each week at the Derby. We re the loudest group at Linden Ponds, Mr. Bleakney says. The Bleakneys have also joined Linden Ponds bowling league in Hanover, Mass. Other days, the couple is outdoors, walking or golfing with the community s golf clubs. Vivian Bleakney is part of the needlework group at Linden Ponds, offering her expertise to participants who need help with quilting, while Tom Bleakney practices his own handiwork in the woodworking shop. He s even taken on new challenges at the community s television station, where he does camera work and floor directing at least three days per week. He recently started work on a stage production of Driving Miss Daisy, which will be his first on-stage project and an event his grandchildren can t wait to see. The Bleakneys had careers in education she as a kindergarten teacher and he as a science teacher and counselor. But they both say their schedules today require more maintenance. Even so, they have the ability to say no when they want to make other plans. If you are a really active, intelligent person, this is the kind of place where you want to live, Mrs. Bleakney says. Open door Despite their active lifestyle, the Bleakneys also make time to enjoy their apartment home, where the couple s positive energy emanates from the decorated doorway. Beside a colorful fish quilt made by Mrs. Bleakney, a sign reads: Grandparents: A door and heart that are always open. The couple chose their apartment home in part for the large box window that protrudes from their living room, creating a spacious, bright atmosphere. The Bleakneys also had their eyes on the master bedroom s walk-in closet, which served as their granddaughter s bedroom on visits while she was in a crib. Now the grandchildren prefer the adventure of sleeping on air mattresses when they visit. The couple s second bedroom doubles as an office, but their entire apartment home has become a holiday destination. Mrs. Bleakney cooks Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners in her eat-in kitchen to serve as many as 12 people. As community ambassadors, the Bleakneys now assist in hosting the same luncheons that landed them at Linden Ponds. At one of the luncheons Mr. Bleakney says he was asked how long it took him to get accustomed to life at Linden Ponds. His response: Ten minutes.