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Pioneer resident takes full advantage of community life

Created date

August 10th, 2016
Campus book club chair Marilyn Crovetto relaxes in the reading room of her apartment home at Maris Grove.

Campus book club chair Marilyn Crovetto relaxes in the reading room of her apartment home at Maris Grove.

Marilyn Crovetto pioneered Maris Grove. She moved to Erickson Living’s retirement community in Delaware County, Pa., when it opened in 2006.

Marilyn moved from a home she’d lived in for 42 years and had maintained on her own for 2 years after her husband died. “It was a large property and was too much for me to take care of by myself,” she says, “and it was lonely.”

When the Crovettos bought that house, they lived surrounded by people just like them, couples with young children. 

“But gradually,” Marilyn says, “those people were gone. The new neighbors were all younger than I and were all working. They went out in the morning and came back in the evening. I never saw them during the day.” 

Although she’d joined Maris Grove’s priority list and selected an apartment style, Marilyn was unprepared when the sales staff called and said her floor plan had become available. 

She quickly listed her property. “I was so lucky,” she says.

After Marilyn’s initial buyer backed out, a man knocked on her door, asked if her house was still for sale, and without even venturing inside agreed to buy it at her asking price.

She settled with him one morning and with Maris Grove later that same day.

Pioneering a campus club

Readers abound at Maris Grove. So shortly after Marilyn moved, she started the campus book club, which she still chairs. 

People want to read along even if they can’t make it to book club meetings, she says. So she posts current titles on the community bulletin board of MGTV, Maris Grove’s in-house TV channel. 

Last month, members read and compared Harper Lee’s two novels, To Kill a Mockingbird and Go Set a Watchman. This month, they’re reading what sounds like a biographical page-turner, Henry Hemming’s well-reviewed The Ingenious Mr. Pyke: Inventor, Fugitive, Spy.

The club prefers fairly recent titles, so Marilyn scans People magazine’s weekly reviews of new books, gleans titles from a book-clubbing Texas friend, and exchanges suggestions with her niece in Canada. 

She also borrows from Maris Grove’s library and the local public library.

Her second bedroom is her cozy reading room. She’s furnished it with some of her late husband’s hand-built wood furniture. 

In fact, he made much of what furnishes Marilyn’s home, including tall bookcases, a silver chest, a grandfather clock, a table, and a dough-box-style end table. The furniture fits comfortably in her Fairmont apartment home, a two-bedroom, one-bath floor plan that features lots of closet space and an eat-in kitchen.

In an ironic quirk of fate, Marilyn’s store-bought Duncan Phyfe dining room table broke its legs some years ago when Marilyn fell against it and knocked it over.

The ideal fix was easy and close at hand. Marilyn simply called the campus woodshop. Its talented members repaired the table to like-new condition.

Marilyn’s doctor, a Maris Grove physician who practices solely in the on-site medical center, is equally close. And a 24-7 maintenance team is as near as a phone call to the concierge.

Living life as she chooses

Marilyn is on Maris Grove’s flexible 20-meal dining plan, a popular option preferred by residents who still enjoy cooking for themselves or who like to explore the Brandywine Valley’s rich collection of interesting restaurants. 

Marilyn eats out fairly often. She goes to her daughter’s home in Booth’s Corner for dinner every Sunday, enjoys celebratory meals with Maris Grove’s birthday group, dines with a widow’s group from her church, and eats off campus with a group she started two years ago: Maris Grove’s popular Lunch Bunch.

A former Red Hat group, the Lunch Bunch has 35 members and a waiting list. Members carpool to nearby restaurants and pay $10 annual dues that cover several trips on a Maris Grove bus to acclaimed farther-out venues like Charlotte’s Restaurant in Newtown Square. 

At Maris Grove, Marilyn eats with a group of Maris Grove neighbors at one of four campus restaurants. 

Her many friendships are what she treasures most about Maris Grove. 

In fact, they represent the secret to a happy life: “You can’t live only in your apartment,” says Marilyn. “You have to reach out to people around you.”