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Meet your neighbors: Carl and Alice Wathne

Salem couple settles in at Brooksby

Created date

October 22nd, 2013

Moving was a somewhat familiar concept for Alice and Carl Wathne, who lived in seven houses over a span of 55 years. But their eighth move brought a new and daunting challenge: downsizing from 12 to 4 rooms.

As the Wathnes prepared to move to Brooksby this fall from their home of 16 years in Salem, Mass., they were forced to reconcile with items they had not unpacked after their last two moves. The task was overwhelming at times, but the Wathnes found they were not alone.

The Wathnes had joined the Brooksby priority list last winter, securing an apartment home at Brooksby and access to resources, including Laurie Phillips, Brooksby s personal moving consultant. She has just been a jewel, Alice says of Phillips. As members of the priority list, Alice and Carl were invited to a number of informative mini-workshops. Lunch and Learn With Laurie, hosted by Phillips, features speakers on downsizing and related topics. We got a feel for the other people doing what we re doing, Carl says of the luncheons, which were an opportunity to meet others planning a move to Brooksby. Carl adds of Phillips: She s so upbeat and enthusiastic; she came in like a breeze. She really got us thinking about how to do this.

Life-changing decision

In June, the Wathnes will celebrate the 70th anniversary of their first date: a trip to the theater to seeCasablanca. The couple spent the last 40 years in the Boston area, where Carl was a hospital executive and Alice taught private piano lessons. This summer, while on a break from organizing, the Wathnes reflected on their decision to move. We had in mind: We can t stay here for the rest of our lives, Carl says of the couple s three-story house. They worried about the prospect of one of them being left living alone in the large house. Having visited Brooksby on various occasions, the Wathnes knew they liked the community for its landscape and amenities. They could bring their nine-year-old sheltie Zoe with them to their new home and make frequent visits to one of their sons who lives in Salem with his family. Brooksby has everything, Carl says. After bouts with illness the previous summer, Alice and Carl determined the timing was right for a move this year.

Making changes

With help from Brooksby Sales Associate Jane Kiegel, the Wathnes found a two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment home with a patio that was just right. It felt like a little house, Alice says of the Hawthorne-style apartment. They worked with Dot Harding of Brooksby s Custom Interiors to put in wooden floors, crown molding, and built-in bookcases. That s another plus: you can make any change within your apartment, Carl says. The Wathnes enlisted the help of Brooksby-recommended real estate professional Joyce Sullivan of RE/MAX, who quickly and efficiently sold their house. The Wathnes also relied on a Brooksby-recommended antiques dealer and the Salem-based T.E. Andresen movers. Whenever questions arose along the journey, Carl says members of the Brooksby team were at the ready to provide answers. The whole marketing staff has been good, he says.

Seeing the light

As they downsized their way through summer, the Wathnes found the process itself validated their decision to move. We re tired, Alice says. Adds Carl: This is like being in a swimming pool filled with molasses, but we can see the light now. His advice to others? Do it now. Don t wait, because it s going to get more and more difficult. In the weeks leading up to their move, the Wathnes visited their new apartment almost daily to bring over items and to see the progress as the apartment transformed into their home. In the month before the move, Carl described the apartment s evolution and renovation as beyond our expectations.