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Getting to know Linden Ponds

Social circle expands for former Falmouth couple

Created date

March 28th, 2014
Bernie and Lorraine Garrett in their two-bedroom Worthington-style apartment home, which they chose partly for its ample closet space.
Bernie and Lorraine Garrett in their two-bedroom W

On a given weekday at Linden Ponds, Lorraine and Bernie Garrett might be found in any number of places. If it’s a Monday morning, Bernie will be entertaining audiences of LPTV6’s live show with the weather forecast, often in holiday-appropriate costume. Lorraine might be teaching or playing a game of mah-jongg, or honing her newfound quilting skills by making items for donation to local charities. 

In the evenings, the Garretts may stop by the group fitness studio around the corner from their apartment for ballroom dancing or a game of Ping-Pong. Between scheduled activities, they frequent the fitness center and pool. After swims, Bernie might stop at the library or head to the Acorn Pub.  

“You can be as busy as you want” at Linden Ponds, Bernie says. “We really enjoy ourselves.” That much is clear to anyone fortunate to share time with the energetic and gregarious pair. 

But the decision to move to Linden Ponds wasn’t easy for the Garretts, who, next month, will celebrate two years of living in the Hingham, Mass., Erickson Living community. When they first began looking at retirement communities, they were happily living in a condominium in Falmouth, where they enjoyed an active social life.

“We really loved it in Falmouth,” Bernie says. “I really didn’t want to leave the Cape.” 

Decision-making time

But after Bernie underwent triple bypass heart surgery, the third in a series of health problems, Lorraine concluded that the couple needed to think about moving to a place where they could be closer to their children and more readily accessible to health care services.   

“There comes a time when you need to make a decision,” Lorraine says. “Your friends are not going to be there [to take care of you] when you have health problems.”

Originally from New York, the Garretts lived in Natick, Mass., before moving to Falmouth. They began looking at retirement communities in Massachusetts, which would bring the couple closer to their daughter in Waltham. Their younger daughter resides in New York. 

The Garretts visited Linden Ponds and other local communities, but Lorraine says, “Nothing seemed to come to the level of Linden Ponds.”

A retired certified public accountant, Bernie researched the financials of Linden Ponds and Erickson Living to ensure they met his expectations—they did. Bernie also looked forward to getting just one monthly bill that includes utilities and one meal each day at any of Linden Ponds’ four restaurants.  

The Garretts chose the Worthington-style apartment, not for its two bedrooms and den, but for its two walk-in closets. Personal Moving Consultant Lynne Ford visited the Garretts in their Falmouth condo to help them decide what would fit in their new apartment home. They chose to bring nearly all of the furniture from the first floor of their condo and gave away most of the rest. 

The Garretts sold their condo in April 2012, just five months after Bernie’s surgery. Because her husband was still recuperating, Lorraine did the unpacking herself over a two-week period. She references the physical challenges of preparing for a move as another reason to make the move earlier in life. 

Expanding circle

After the move, Lorraine says her first priority was finding a place to play her game of choice: mah-jongg. Games require groups of four, and because existing games were full, Lorraine created new ones. Having taught mah-jongg at a community center before moving to Linden Ponds, she began teaching neighbors in her apartment home. 

“All of a sudden, it mushroomed. I had to extend my classes,” Lorraine says. 

Next month, the National Mah Jongg League will mail its new annual card, and Lorraine will begin another six-week session of weekly classes followed by regular games in the Fireside Lounge. 

Mah-jongg is just one of the weekly events on Lorraine’s calendar. She had long-enjoyed sewing but had never quilted before moving to Linden Ponds. She has since joined the community’s needlework group, led by Vivian Bleakney.

“I’m learning something new,” Lorraine says. She has made a handful of quilts and has sewing machines set up in her apartment home for continued work. She also uses the sewing machines in the classroom where the needlework group meets.

For Bernie, television work has been a new venture. He hesitantly stepped out from behind the audio equipment in the Linden Ponds TV studio to begin appearing in front of the camera on the live show once a week. On special occasions, he hams it up in costume—as Santa Claus and Cupid, among others—to liven up the weather report. 

Bernie also belongs to the Wellness Committee, overseeing the fitness center and indoor swimming pool, and the Resident Advisory Council Election Committee, which coordinates elections for the group of resident liaisons to Linden Ponds leadership. 

Bernie also speaks to Linden Ponds staff members during new employee orientation. 

“There’s a whole lot of talented people here, and they are sharing their gifts with us,” Bernie says. On the flip side, “We gave our grown kids a gift when we picked this place.” 

Despite their initial hesitation to leave Falmouth, Lorraine says: “We had a big social circle there, and we have a bigger one here.”