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Really living, times 12

Celebrations of life, friendships continue at Brooksby

Created date

August 21st, 2012

This year, Brooksby commemorates 12 years and a growing population of nearly 2,000 people with access to three clubhouses, five restaurants, two hair salons, a fitness center, TV studio, chapel, and a full calendar of events and activities. One year after the Erickson Living community opened in Peabody, Mass., Carolyn Payne invited a group of friends for a celebratory dinner in one of the small private dining rooms. The next year she wanted to do the same, but ran into a problem: her guest list was too long. So I had two in a row, she says, adding, I think it s really worth celebrating every day. Carolyn is one of Brooksby s pioneers one of the first to call it home when only one of the community s three neighborhoods existed. Brooksby is a place that promotes an active and healthy lifestyle for its residents and helps them live life to the fullest, says James Wingardner, Brooksby s executive director. For 12 years, this community has made a difference in the lives of residents and staff. We will continue to strive to improve the lives of so many more people who become a part of this great community.

Capturing history

People living in the community attended a cocktail party with a live band and dancing to mark the anniversary and raise money for one of Brooksby s charities. The event was just the kind John Connors is accustomed to capturing on camera. My picture file is growing by leaps and bounds; it s now in the thousands, says John. He has lived at Brooksby for seven years, during which time he has grown his hobby to capture events large and small, including the annual fund-raising gala. It s a great history of Brooksby. One of John s favorite assignments was photographing Brooksby s pioneers for the community s tenth anniversary. We gathered them all outside in the courtyard, and I took a huge group photo of all of them, which was a bit of history that I m proud of, he says. The autographed and framed photo now hangs in one of the community s main hallways.

Growing friendships

Brooksby s earliest residents paved the way for the current thriving community. Carolyn was among those who established a system where anyone unable to go out for dinner due to illness could call a designated volunteer to help retrieve what was needed. The informal arrangement lasted three or four years, Carolyn says, at which point the place was big enough, and people had established their own friends and neighbors, and they didn t need it. Carolyn moved to Brooksby from Magnolia, a village within Gloucester, Mass. She says she didn t anticipate making too many new friends, especially compared with the closeness of her longtime college friends. However, from being out in her garden to dining in the community s restaurants, she s made many good friends. I think it s just that not since I was in college have I been together with so many people who get along so well with each other, she says. Of Brooksby, Carolyn adds: I thought it was grand; I loved it right from the get-go. It s as close to being a perfect place for me as I can imagine.