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What’s your retirement gift to yourself?

These Linden Ponds jet-setters give themselves the gift of worry-free living

Created date

January 8th, 2018
 While on a 38-day cruise, Paul and Linda DelGreco (left), who live at Linden Ponds, met fellow Erickson Living residents L.O. and Joyce Wray (right) who live at the Erickson Living community Eagle’s Trace in West Houston.

While on a 38-day cruise, Paul and Linda DelGreco (left), who live at Linden Ponds, met fellow Erickson Living residents L.O. and Joyce Wray (right) who live at the Erickson Living community Eagle’s Trace in Houston.



Linda and Paul DelGreco have always enjoyed traveling. Even when they were both working full-time—she as a paralegal and he at Polaroid—they frequently escaped cold Massachusetts winters by visiting Florida. They also took several cruises over the years. But when they retired about four years ago, they decided to make seeing the world a top priority. 

Their recent vacations have included four months in New Smyrna Beach, Fla, a 17-day cruise to Canada, and a 38-day cruise to Europe. 

Now traveling is a little easier for the DelGrecos. In 2016, they moved from a house in Quincy, Mass., to Linden Ponds, where community members can simply lock the door and head out of town. The community has 24-hour security, and the staff handles all maintenance, so residents don’t have to worry about their homes being robbed while they’re away or coming home to damage from a frozen pipe. 

“Our retirement gift to ourselves was not to have to worry about a house,” Linda says of their move to Linden Ponds. “Even going to Florida for the winter, you can’t expect people to keep checking on your house. A few winters ago, we had 112 inches of snow.” 

Kicking the bucket list

Now that they’re unencumbered by the burdens of owning a house, Linda and Paul are having a ton of fun trotting the globe. Their recent cruise to Europe on a Holland America ship followed the route of the Vikings from the New World to the Old World. Along the route, they made stops in places such as Canada, Norway, Ireland, Scotland, England, Greenland, Iceland, and the Netherlands.

“It was a bucket-list trip, and we did get to see a lot,” Linda says. “There were a lot of firsts on that trip—it was 10 countries and 21 ports in 38 days.”

Interestingly, while on that cruise, Paul and Linda happened to meet another couple from an Erickson Living community. During a stop in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, Linda noticed a couple taking photos with a newspaper. She recognized it as the Tribune and asked the couple if they lived at an Erickson Living community. Indeed, they did, and introduced themselves as L.O. and Joyce Wray, who live at Eagle’s Trace in Houston, Tex. 

The two couples started “comparing notes” about their respective Erickson Living communities, and quickly hit it off. They went on to spend much of their time together on the remainder of the cruise and have stayed in touch via email since returning home.

“We went on excursions together during the day and had meals together,” Linda says. “That was a really special perk of the trip.”

Finally spending winter at home

Although they’ve typically spent the colder months in Florida since they retired, the DelGrecos have decided to spend this winter at home at Linden Ponds. They’re eager to get better acquainted with their neighbors and more involved with the social life on campus. 

Plus, cold temperatures and snow aren’t an issue for people who live at Linden Ponds because the staff handles things like snow shoveling, and residents can get around the entire community via climate-controlled, indoor walkways. 

What’s more, the community features on-site amenities such as a medical center, fitness center and indoor pool, convenience store, salon, and bank, so residents don’t have to go outside during inclement weather if they don’t want to.

“The best part is that if it snows, we can just look at it falling outside our windows,” Linda says.

Paul and Linda selected a Gilbert-style apartment home, which has one bedroom plus a den. Linda says that although they had lived in their house for 36 years, the downsizing process was not difficult. 

“We were both on the same page at the same time, so it worked,” she says. 

While they’ve traveled a good deal since moving to Linden Ponds, Paul and Linda have still managed to get involved with the many resident-run clubs and committees at the community. Paul belongs to the Veterans Association and volunteers to help run the in-house television station. Linda is a member of the gluten-free club and was recently elected to the dining committee. 

“We love it here,” Linda says. “We have wonderful neighbors, and it doesn’t matter whether you were the janitor or the CEO.”

Linda eats a gluten-free diet and says she is able to find plenty of options at Linden Ponds’ on-site restaurants. And once a month, she and the other members of the gluten-free club get a special treat in the form of an entirely gluten-free meal prepared by one of Linden Ponds’ chefs, who helped to pioneer the concept of gluten-free dining when he worked at Burton’s Grill. 

After a relaxing winter at Linden Ponds, Paul and Linda will hit the road again. On their next adventure, they’ll travel to Bermuda in May to celebrate some milestone birthdays.

“It’s my seventieth birthday, and I have a girlfriend turning 70, and another friend from Florida turning 70,” Linda says.