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Moving back home…again

Oak Crest couple discovers home really is where the heart is

Created date

July 21st, 2014
couple standing outside

Former first lady Nancy Reagan once said, “…homes really are no more than the people who live in them,” a sentiment that describes exactly how Walt and Marge Stawinski have always felt about Crest, the Parkville, Md., Erickson Living community where they live.

“When people ask us why we chose Oak Crest, we always tell them, ‘It’s the people.’ Everyone here is so friendly. You walk down the hall and everyone says hello. It’s a very uplifting environment,” says Walt. 

The Parkville couple waited two years on Oak Crest’s priority list for their two-bedroom, two-bath corner apartment before moving in 2009. 

“The first time my wife saw it, she said, ‘This is the one!’ says Walt, a BGE retiree. “We had a beautiful view overlooking the bocce court, putting green, and pond. And we liked the fact that we could enjoy the 80-plus beautiful acres and didn’t have to do a thing.”

The couple quickly settled into the active lifestyle at Oak Crest. Walt and Marge organized a softball team at Oak Crest. Walt started playing billiards, and Marge began volunteering by visiting people in need. So it seems counterintuitive that four years after moving to Oak Crest they would opt to leave the life they loved and move back into a large single-family house.

Unexpected change in plans

“Our son was thinking about moving from his home in Shrewsbury, Pa., to be closer to his business in Harford County, Md.,” says Walt. “He asked us if we would consider moving in with him and his family. Without any hesitation, I said yes. After all, it seemed like the ideal situation. I knew if something ever happened to me, Marge would be taken care of.” 

So after months of searching, they finally found the perfect fit: a 2,800-square-foot, three-year-old house on seven acres in Harford County—just three miles from their son’s work. 

“Long story short, I bought the house and informed the sales office at Oak Crest that we were moving,” says Walt. 

The Stawinskis sold their apartment before moving into their new house in April 2013 and anxiously waited for their son and his family to sell their home. 

“We were only in the new house about three or four days when Marge said she wanted to go home,” says Walt. “I said, ‘What do you mean you want to go home? You are home.’ I thought we at least have to stay and give it a chance.” 

But Marge had her heart set on moving back to Oak Crest, and it didn’t take much to convince Walt it was the right thing to do.  

“I admit it was a real change after living at Oak Crest for four years,” says Walt. “We missed the atmosphere and all the people. [At the new house], we would go out for the day and wouldn’t feel like coming back home because we were coming home to an empty house. I missed shooting pool with the guys. [At Oak Crest], we ate dinner with friends every night, and they became like family to us. We went from an active community to an area where the closest neighbor was a mile and a half away. It made it really tough.” 

Fresh start

Within a few days, Walt called the Oak Crest sales office about moving back to the community, but it wouldn’t be that easy. Because of the high demand for two-bedroom apartments, theirs had already been sold. 

“We were so eager to move back we told them we would take whatever they had available,” says Walt. 

But with only two one-bedroom apartments available from which to choose, the Stawinkis’ options were limited. 

“We came over and toured them both, and Marge picked the second one,” says Walt. “She was so anxious to come back, we ended up moving before the apartment was refurbished, and Oak Crest agreed to just work around us.”

It’s been a little over a year since Walt and Marge sold the house in Harford County to their son and moved back to Oak Crest. Walt says despite downsizing from a two-bedroom to a one-bedroom apartment, it’s like they never left in the first place. 

“We’re so active and on-the-go, we’re really not in our apartment that much,” says Walt. “We’re busy volunteering on and off campus and spending time with friends. After all, that’s why we came to Oak Crest in the first place.”