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Active adventure at Linden Ponds

Betty Potter celebrates seven years at Hingham community

Created date

September 20th, 2011

Linden Ponds was little more than a promise when Betty Potter signed up to be one of its first residents. At the time she was living on Cape Cod and had been alone for more than a year following her husband s death. Betty s son-in-law was involved in the development of Linden Ponds, an Erickson Living community in Hingham, Mass., and saw an opportunity for Betty. The winters were really wild and empty, Betty remembers of her house in Cotuit, Mass. I was willing to listen to any solution because I wasn t happy with what I was doing. Betty signed on for Linden Ponds and moved in just two weeks after the community opened, seven years ago this month. It was kind of fun; it was like an adventure, Betty recalls of the community s early days.

Gathering place

For Betty, the adjustment to life in her new community was seamless. Linden Ponds fit like a comfortable pair of gloves, she says. I m in a protected environment, but I can be independent. You can be by yourself or you can get involved. A self-described bookworm, Betty had been involved in her library on the Cape and naturally became one of the founders of Linden Ponds library. She volunteered in the original space, which took shape down the hall from her apartment home, comprising books donated by people living at Linden Ponds. Every town should have a gathering place, so let s make the library, Betty had said. Her vision and efforts contributed to shaping the Books and Bytes library and computer center that opened three years later on campus, offering a number of round tables and free coffee among computer stations, newspapers, and books. Since the library s opening, Betty has seen her mission fulfilled in the people gathered in its open and welcoming entryway. Of the early days at Linden Ponds, Betty says, Everybody did their own special thing. She adds, The atmosphere was established right in the beginning: speak to everybody. They smile and say hello.

People person

Betty was inclined to get involved with her community from the get-go, an instinct she attributes to having grown up in a large family in North Eastham, Mass., and to her formative experience as a member of the Coast Guard Auxiliary during World War II. Intricately assembled scrapbooks tell the story of Betty s journey that began in the early 1940s when, at age 20, she convinced her father to allow her to head to Boston to join the WAVES, the women s reserve of the U.S. Navy. Once there, Betty learned of the new women s faction of the Coast Guard called SPARS, and she joined it instead. Betty became a yeoman, doing clerical work for the SPARS, but while stationed in New York she was asked to try out for a new recruitment show. She not only made the cut for the musical theater show, but she also became the face of the Coast Guard advertisements in newspapers nationwide. As you can tell, I m a shy violet, she quips. Over the course of a year, Betty traveled with a cast that included actor Sid Caesar, making memories that have lasted a lifetime.

Enhanced retirement

Since moving to Linden Ponds, Betty has discovered new joys. Shortly after her move she began taking painting classes under the direction of Burton Longenbach, an accomplished artist who lives in the community. I learned to paint with acrylics, and over about a five-year period I painted about 70 different paintings, she says, many of which are in the homes of her four children and their families. It s really been fun because I ve always dabbled, but I never did it seriously. All these various things enhance your retirement life.