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Keeping life ‘interesting’

Novi resident discovers new hobbies, friends in retirement

Created date

July 1st, 2016
Fox Run resident Carolyn Schooley.

Since moving to Fox Run, Carolyn Schooley has learned a lot about television production in the community’s on-site TV studio, and she is the host of a show called Getting to Know You, on which she interviews her neighbors about their lives.

For several years, Carolyn Schooley has been hosting a show called Getting to Know You on Fox Run’s in-house TV station. In each episode, she interviews a different resident about their hometown, childhood, schooling, career, and family life. The shows are a great way for residents to learn more about the neighbors.

“We have so many interesting people here,” Carolyn says. “A lot of people will say, ‘My life wasn’t interesting,’ but I say, ‘Well, the rest of us think it is interesting.’ Somewhere in their life, everyone has done something interesting.”

Turning the tables

While Carolyn has been the one asking the questions about her neighbors’ lives for many years, she has had a fascinating life of her own. 

Carolyn met her husband at the University of Michigan, and they got married in 1950. Carolyn put her studies on hold for her husband’s career but started taking night classes as her children got older. She received her degree in 1968. 

She then went on to earn a master’s degree in elementary reading at Eastern Michigan University. She taught first grade for many years and retired in her mid-50s. 

“My family was very supportive of me going back to school and working,” she says. 

In the 1980s, Carolyn took an interest in basket weaving. She was the head of a hobby club in Fort Meyers, Fla., where she was living at the time. She arranged for an instructor to come and teach the group how to weave baskets, and she really took to it. She’s been making free-form baskets using pliable natural materials ever since.

“In Florida, I used a lot of palm sheets and philodendron leaves,” she says. “Here, I’ve used grape vines, and I have even used plastic wrapping for sheet rock that is used in construction.”

Supportive community

Carolyn and her husband moved to Fox Run in 2007. They wanted to be closer to their daughter, who lives in Walled Lake, Mich. After her husband passed away, Carolyn says she was especially grateful to be near family and to be living in a community of supportive friends and neighbors.

“I wasn’t alone. It’s good to be able to sit at a table with other people rather than eat alone,” she says. “It’s very healing.”

Carolyn has a one-bedroom, Fremont-style apartment home, which she chose for its large kitchen that gives her space for her basket weaving. She also has a patio that overlooks the glass-enclosed indoor swimming pool.

“I am very pleased to be here,” she says. “I really appreciate the security and the maintenance, as well as the everyday things, like being able to work with interesting people.”

New horizons

Fox Run’s on-site TV studio opened shortly after Carolyn moved to the community. While she had done some casual acting in plays, Carolyn had never worked in a TV studio, but she thought it would be a fun opportunity to learn something new. 

“There were about 20 of us at the start,” she says. “[The staff] taught us all how to use the cameras, and I just learned a lot.”

Over the years, Carolyn has had a hand in almost every aspect of producing shows in the studio. She has worked the cameras and the switchboard, and has spent plenty of time in front of the camera as well. 

At the beginning, Carolyn and Rick Coulter, the staff member who manages the TV studio, would produce comical bits in which Carolyn would give “traffic reports” about the Fox Run hallways, or the two would use the green screen to create funny scenes. 

Carolyn’s first official show was called Behind Closed Doors. She would meet with residents in their apartments to talk to them about a unique hobby or special collection they had amassed. 

Carolyn also spent several years in charge of the display windows outside of Fox Run’s classroom. The windows are used for rotating displays of resident artwork, crafts, and collections. Carolyn has displayed her own baskets in the display windows, and she sells them at Fox Run’s fall and spring craft fairs. 

Convenient daily routine

In addition to all of the opportunities to explore new hobbies, Carolyn says living at Fox Run also makes it easier to stay physically fit, thanks to the on-site fitness center and group exercise classes. Carolyn has done water aerobics and incorporates light cardio into her daily routine.

“It’s so easy here because you don’t have to pay for it or drive to the gym,” she says. “Plus, you can walk everywhere, so you get a lot of exercise that way.”

Carolyn has a large family, including nine grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren. The family is spread out, with some members living in Texas and Missouri, as well as Michigan. Carolyn gets to see her local children and grandchildren frequently.

“They are just growing up so fast,” she says of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. “They are all good kids. My three kids are good citizens, and they contribute to society. I call that success.”

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