‘Why not now?’

Trading house hassles for maintenance-free living just makes sense

Created date

September 14th, 2018
Maris Grove resident Lyn Johnson reaches for a title from her collection of 100 videos by Professor Elliot Engel. She shows them in the community’s Redwood Commons theater as part of a literary lecture series.

Maris Grove resident Lyn Johnson reaches for a title from her collection of 100 videos by Professor Elliot Engel. She shows them in the community’s Redwood Commons theater as part of a literary lecture series.

Erickson Living’s mission statement, “We share our gifts to create communities that celebrate life,” is well reflected at Maris Grove, its retirement community in Delaware County, Pa.

Maris Grove community members lead special-interest groups, volunteer on and off campus, and literally share their hobbies and collections with their neighbors.

Lyn Johnson, who just over a year ago moved from the 55-plus community of Traditions at Longwood in Kennett Square, is a case in point.

A new adventure

When the Johnsons first considered moving, Lyn thought Maris Grove’s population of some 1,700 residents might be too big. Surrounded by friendly neighbors, now it feels just right.

Lyn and her husband Mel continue the lifestyle they love. Off campus they volunteer as docents at Longwood Gardens and Brandywine River Museum.

At Maris Grove, they’re active too. Mel has joined a book club and cochairs the woodshop. He also belongs to the campus DuPont retirees group.

Lyn square dances and belongs to the women’s club book group.

Last fall, when her book club sought a short book to discuss during the busy month of December, Lyn suggested showing her one-hour Elliot Engel video on the backstory of O. Henry’s The Gift of the Magi. The Johnsons own 100 video lectures by Engel, a college professor and Charles Dickens scholar.

“That was the start,” Lyn says. After she showed the video in Maris Grove’s Redwood Commons theater, community members clamored for more. The Literary Lectures series was born.

Resident Services Coordinator Kim Perri helped Lyn develop public relations for the series.

Things kicked off this January with a video about Winston Churchill that proved so popular Lyn scheduled a second showing. Two showings per video are now routine.

This year’s September-through-mid-December schedule features ten lectures about Charles Dickens, including a one-person play by Engel of Dickens writing A Christmas Carol.

A timely move

The Johnsons are happy to have traded homeowner responsibilities for maintenance-free living and a beautiful one-bedroom, open-concept, corner apartment that’s filled with light.

They’ve also changed their primary care doctors to Maris Grove staff physicians who practice in the convenient on-site medical center.

Lyn is thrilled with the ease of using enclosed bridges and interior hallways to get to Maris Grove’s three neighborhoods instead of venturing out in summer heat and rain or winter snow.

The couple has not only made scores of new friends, they’ve also discovered old friends among their Maris Grove neighbors: a long-ago Chadd’s Ford neighbor who was a Girl Scout leader with Lyn now lives at Maris Grove, and a former Traditions at Longwood neighbor lives right across the hall.

With daughters and grandchildren in Wilmington, Del., they remain close to family members.

“We knew we’d sooner or later be making this sort of move,” says Lyn, “so why not now? We don’t cling to the past. We’re always up for trying something new.”

Their new adventures at Maris Grove fit the Johnsons to a T.

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