All in the family

Mother-daughter duo found writers’ group at Maris Grove

Created date

July 31st, 2017
Winnie Hayek, who lives at Maris Grove, reminisces as she pages through Paint Lick, her mother’s memoir. Winnie published it, her father’s memoir, and her own memoir last December on Amazon.

Winnie Hayek, who lives at Maris Grove, reminisces as she pages through Paint Lick, her mother’s memoir. Winnie published it, her father’s memoir, and her own memoir last December on Amazon.

When Winnie Hayek moved from West Chester, Pa., to Maris Grove, Erickson Living’s retirement community in Delaware County, she followed in her mother’s footsteps. 

Actually, she moved in with her mother, and she did so as soon as she was age qualified. 

An only child, Winnie and her parents not only had shared an especially close relationship, they shared an interest in, and a talent for, writing. 

Winnie’s mother, Doris Burgess Hayek, told beguiling stories about her early life in Paint Lick, Ky., a place Winnie describes as a “magical village” south of Lexington. 

At Maris Grove, Winnie’s mother put those stories on paper. 

Writers’ workshop

She twice took a memoir-writing class taught by one of her campus neighbors. 

Later, after she and Winnie took the class together, they were inspired to start a writers’ group. It wasn’t a how-to class, but rather a place for community members to share their writings of whatever sort. 

Doris has since passed on, but Winnie continues to lead the group.

Last year, she tackled an important writing project: To honor her mother, she assembled Doris’s written stories and transcriptions of her recorded stories into a smoothly flowing memoir. 

She also compiled her father’s writings and his wonderful drawings into a similar book. 

Writing is Winnie’s obsession; she’s been doing it all her life and throughout her careers, first as an English teacher and professor, and later as a speechwriter and researcher at West Chester University. 

She also organized her own personal essays and poems into a nontraditional memoir that expresses her view of the world.

Winnie published all three books through Amazon’s self-publishing unit last December. She also promoted her mother’s memoir on Paint Lick’s Facebook page.

A community of family

Doris’s stories of her hometown during the first half of the twentieth century represent a legacy she bequeathed to her daughter because the same qualities that held sway in Paint Lick permeate life at Maris Grove.

For instance, describing her mother’s book for Amazon, Winnie wrote, “In Paint Lick, neighbors are family.” Of her life at Maris Grove she says, “I love the sense of community. It means so much to me.”

Staff and residents alike share in creating the community of Maris Grove. 

“You couldn’t imagine a more responsive executive director than Maureen Heckler,” Winnie says. “[Staff members] really care about us and work hard to create wonderful programming and make the place aesthetically beautiful.” 

And one of her neighbors, a member of the writers’ group who also taught Winnie to play billiards, is as close as a sister. 

As in Paint Lick, everyday errands can be accomplished on foot, and in much shorter distances at Maris Grove. Among its on-site amenities, the campus boasts a postal center, market and pharmacy, bank, and full-service medical center. 

A rehabilitation and continuing care neighborhood is also on campus. So while Maris Grove represents truly independent, self-directed living, and community members have the freedom to come and go and participate—or not—as they desire, help is available should they need it.

The security team consists of emergency medical technicians, and the maintenance team is just a phone call away should problems crop up in community members’ apartment homes.

So much to learn and do

Because she loves her life at Maris Grove, Winnie participates. She gives back by leading her writers’ group and helping her neighbors with minor computer issues. 

Although working well into the night on the memoirs, she has found time to belong to three campus dance groups and performed in Maris Grove’s annual Follies production.

Off campus, she attends courses at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of Delaware in Wilmington. 

Winnie’s comfortable one-bedroom apartment home is spacious enough to accommodate a writing area in her bedroom and an office niche in the great room near her patio doors. 

Keepsakes and memories reside throughout. Before she moved to Maris Grove, Winnie visited her mother nearly every day. “It felt like home the whole time,” she says.

It was, and is, the perfect place for her.