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‘Almost like driving into a resort’

Pair embraces vibrant community

Created date

November 23rd, 2010

There s something intangible about this place and the atmosphere, Howard (Howie) Bengele says of his first impressions of Linden Ponds. Something about it was very appealing. About a year and a half ago, Bengele began thorough research into communities that he might later call home. His house of 30 years in Canton, Mass., was becoming too much work to maintain, so he and his partner, James (Jim) Henderson, began consulting the literature on retirement communities. They found they wanted to know more than what they could glean from a brochure or website.

Taste for the community

The two had thought about moving to Mexico but changed their focus after seeing Linden Ponds. Bengele says of entering the community grounds: It was almost like driving into a resort. Bengele and Henderson toured the community with Retirement Counselor Marisa Muldowney, and with Muldowney s help, returned on a few occasions to have dinner at the community s restaurants with people who live there. I thought that it would be good not to be total strangers, Bengele says of his request to visit on a few evenings without the guided tour. The dinners were also a chance to sample the food, which Henderson adds, is really quite tasty. The dinners were a success, giving the pair a taste of the community and a feel for the camaraderie of its people. They appreciated the community s numerous social opportunities and found themselves itching to see more. Less than a year after they began their search, Bengele and Henderson made the move to Linden Ponds this past May, with their seven-year-old Cairn Terrier, Heather.

Camaraderie and dreams

Though he loved their Canton house, Bengele says, There isn t anything that I miss. We lived on a dead-end street, but we didn t really socialize with anybody. At Linden Ponds, people are here all the time, he adds. The proximity of everybody to allow that interaction is so important. Henderson adds, We ve probably made more friends here than we did the whole time in Canton. The two are already ambassadors for the community, sharing their experience with people who are searching for a home as they were more than a year ago. Meanwhile, they are delving into the activities their new community has to offer.

New pursuits

A scientist with his doctorate in physiology and biophysics, Bengele worked in kidney research and as a teacher for one portion of his professional life and later worked for a pharmaceutical company in drug development. His professional life left little time to exercise his vocal chords in song. I love choral music, I always have, and I thought it would be great to sing in a choral group, he says. I thought here was a perfect opportunity. Bengele has since joined the Chapel Chorale and the Linden Ponds Singers. Despite his inexperience, he says, They were happy to see me there and I m learning how to read music. Bengele is also learning the ropes at Linden Ponds television studio, where he mans the audio and camera for the studio s live show. I hadn t planned on any of that; it just sort of happened, he explains. Henderson has less time to partake in the activities at Linden Ponds, as he is still self-employed, providing management services for nonprofit organizations. Despite his work schedule, Henderson has found time to indulge his passion for gardening, both along the edges of the couple s patio and in his garden patch. Henderson even went as far as putting in rose bushes and mulch along the wall between his apartment and the one next door. Meanwhile, he volunteers once a week to pick up scraps from the restaurants and add them to the community s composting bins. Henderson has his creative eye on the community s various art classes. Though he applied for art school in his native country of Scotland, Henderson never went that route and today looks forward to getting back into his artwork. Referencing his singing and Henderson s artwork, Bengele says Linden Ponds offers fulfillment of some kind of a dream that has been dormant for a long time. He adds, It s a really vibrant community.