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Active endeavors

Brooksby resident relishes newfound time, opportunities for volunteerism

Created date

October 23rd, 2012

Whether she is crocheting multicolored afghans for families in need, teaching others mah-jongg a game she recently learned herself or promoting the craftsmanship of a friend, Earline Martin endeavors with gusto. Her search for a retirement community was no exception. More than a year after her move to Brooksby, the Erickson Living community in Peabody, Mass., Earline easily produces the handwritten chart she created to document her impressions of each community she visited. Though she had followed news of Erickson Living for 18 years and knew it was the type of environment she wanted to call home, Earline did her due diligence exploring other communities. At the time, Earline was living in a condominium in Northern Virginia, down the road from Erickson Living s Greenspring community, but she wanted to be closer to her daughter, son-in-law, and grandchildren in New England. She visited every community within an hour radius of her daughter, including Brooksby. When I came up here I had to be fair, and I went to all the places that were like it. Brooksby came out on top, she says.

Paying it forward

Smile, it will increase your face value, a sign reads outside Earline s apartment door at Brooksby. She decided to leave much of her furniture behind in Virginia, but she brought with her the enthusiasm and energy that has carried her through life. Earline was just 36 when her husband died, after two decades of marriage. She went overseas to do financial work for the U.S. government in Costa Rica and Guam, where she braved stormy weather and unsafe conditions. Since retirement and her move to Brooksby last August, Earline has embraced an active lifestyle in her new home. I wanted to get here to Brooksby to socialize and to pay it forward, and I couldn t do that much while I was working, she says. Of Brooksby, she says: They help keep you active; they keep you on the road; they keep you going to theaters, on trips, cruises, volunteering that s what I m into now. Shortly after her move, Earline joined Brooksby s afghan group, which knits comforting creations for women, men, and children who have suffered abuse. Earline prefers crocheting and contributes her handiwork to the group s efforts. On a smaller scale, Earline crafted rugs, bed linens, and curtains for a dollhouse her neighbor Peter Jalbert built and donated to Brooksby. The dollhouse was raffled off at an event this past summer and raised more than $2,600 for a campus charity. Since moving to Brooksby, Earline has learned to play mah-jongg and has taught the game to others in the community. She also participated in the annual Brooksby marathon. Earline has also taken advantage of Brooksby s amenities. You have your privacy, but, my Lord, I ve got medical, a little grocery store, little gift shop, five restaurants, a bus that ll take me anywhere I want to go, she says. She adds: I was very impressed with [founder] John Erickson and the concept that he had. I was sold from the beginning, and I ve had nothing to change my mind.