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'This is our home'

Where else would you host a pajama and movie party?

Created date

March 22nd, 2018
Maris Grove community members Denise and Bob McIver sit in the lobby of the Redwood Commons Clubhouse theater where they held a pajama and movie party early this year. Bob bought his bunny slippers especially for the event.

Residents sit in the lobby of the theater where they held a pajama and movie party.

Everyone knows people who are so much fun to be around that, wherever they go, they seem to bring a party with them.

Denise and Bob McIver, who moved last July to the new Redwood Commons neighborhood at Maris Grove, Erickson Living’s retirement community in Delaware County, Pa., are like that.

Pajama party

Here’s a prime example: a few months ago, Bob floated the idea of a pajama and movie party in the Redwood Commons Clubhouse theater.

He bought bunny slippers to wear to the party, and he promoted his idea by walking through the clubhouse restaurants wearing the slippers.

The party caught on. On movie night, everyone who showed up wore pajamas.

People brought popcorn and cookies. And at the end of the evening, they asked if they could do it again. “Sure,” said Bob, “this is our home.”

Those four words sum up the family-like atmosphere that pervades Maris Grove and warmly welcomes new community members into its fold.

One-level living

The McIvers had been considering retirement communities for some time but never felt ready to commit.

Then, when Redwood Commons was announced, the thought of a new neighborhood with new apartment styles, new residence buildings, and new residents moving in together made the couple think more seriously.

Denise had been experiencing some challenges with the stairs in their house, and Bob has a bad back. “We thought one of us would eventually go down the stairs head first,” Denise says. “We knew we needed one-level living.”

The couple’s five-bedroom house in Boothwyn had plenty of steps. It also boasted two attics and a full basement, yet the McIvers used only the family room, kitchen, and one bedroom. That was all they needed.

They replicated that space at Maris Grove by moving into a one-bedroom, one-bath Ellicott-style apartment home.

“The Ellicott is laid out so well, and the rooms are really spacious,” says Denise. “We don’t feel cramped at all.” They got rid of lots of things, but they don’t regret it; what they kept are the things they want and need (you can see a floor plan of the Ellicott apartment home in the special section that wraps the Tribune this month).

When they decide to spread out a bit, they head to Redwood Commons Clubhouse.

In fair weather Denise reads the Sunday paper on the screened porch adjacent to one of the clubhouse restaurants. “I call it our balcony,” she says. “It’s in the woods.”

‘It’s that kind of place’

Bob says life is better now than before the move. For one thing, he and Denise still live near their old neighborhood and long-time friends.

“We know the area and the shopping centers,” says Bob. “And we have a lot of family here.”

At Maris Grove they enjoy a host of on-campus amenities, such as a fitness center where Bob goes when his back bothers him.

They also benefit from maintenance-free living and a 24/7 security team trained as first responders.

Their sons, one in Philadelphia and one in San Francisco, are happy that Mom and Dad live at Maris Grove.

“And we’re helping them,” says Denise. “They won’t have to come and empty our house or figure out what to do if our health declines.”

The McIvers have joined clubs and interest groups across Maris Grove’s three neighborhoods. A Vietnam veteran, Bob also participated in a living history panel at Garnet Valley High School and talked about the war.

He’s adopted most of the student servers who work in Maris Grove’s six restaurants. “They call me Dad,” Bob says.

“I had been looking at this as the last phase of my life,” he adds, “but Maris Grove is so dynamic a place. Everybody is involved with everybody else, and in a nice way. At dinner or [in the hallways], they stop and ask how you’re doing or about the new grandbaby. It’s just that kind of place.”