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Friends’ lives intertwine at key junctures

Created date

December 13th, 2018
Lifelong friends Ann Centrella (left) and Margaret Bonanno moved to Brooksby Village within two weeks of each other.

Lifelong friends Ann Centrella (left) and Margaret Bonanno moved to Brooksby Village within two weeks of each other.

Life’s road map has been remarkably similar for Ann Centrella and Margaret Bonanno.

The two friends met during their junior year at Everett High School in Everett, Mass.

“We did everything together,” says Ann. “We went to the movies and to basketball games, we spent the night at each other’s houses, we knew each other’s families.”

After high school graduation, Ann and Margaret worked at the same insurance agency in Boston.

“I married my husband Sam when I was 19,” says Margaret. “He was in the Marines, so I moved around with him until he was sent to Korea. Then I came back to Massachusetts and had our first child.”

Ann married her husband Joe a few years later.

“We were each other’s maid of honor in our weddings and godparents to each other’s children,” says Ann. “Margaret’s been like a sister to me over the years.”

Staying close through life’s seasons

As their families grew—Ann has three sons; Margaret has a son and a daughter—the friends often found themselves on parallel paths.

“Our lives seemed to intersect in one way or another,” says Margaret.

Both families lived in Wakefield, Mass., for a time, and both owned homes on Cape Cod.

“We kept in touch throughout the years, but we never intentionally made any of these moves together,” says Ann. “It was purely coincidental.”

After retirement, Sam and Margaret purchased a home in Florida, planning to split their time between Cape Cod and the Sunshine State. When Sam passed away, Margaret moved to Florida fulltime.

“I was in Florida for two or three years by myself,” says Margaret. “My family was all in the Northeast. That’s when I decided to move back to my beloved New England.”

Reunited at Brooksby Village

Margaret called Ann with the news she was moving home. When Ann asked where Margaret was planning to live, Margaret said she was moving to Brooksby Village, the Erickson Living community in Peabody, Mass.

“I couldn’t believe it,” says Ann. “That’s where I was moving.”

Ann and Joe first visited the Peabody community when it opened in 2000.

“I’ve known about Brooksby all these years,” says Ann. “When Joe passed away in 2013, the house got to be too much for me. I didn’t want to deal with it anymore.”

Ready to give up the chores associated with home maintenance, Ann listed her house in Arlington, Mass., and received 13 offers the first day it hit the market.

“Selling my home was no problem,” says Ann, who moved into a large one-bedroom Dover-style apartment at Brooksby in April 2018. “The real estate market is sky high right now.”

Margaret moved to the Peabody community two weeks after Ann.

“Of all the coincidences, that may be the most notable,” says Ann. “We were born two weeks apart, and we moved to Brooksby two weeks apart.”

‘Meant to be’

Margaret selected her apartment sight unseen, working with Brooksby’s sales team to ensure she landed in the perfect spot—a delightful one-bedroom Ellicott-style apartment. She sold her Florida condo and headed north.

“I love it here,” says Margaret, who enjoys playing bridge, swimming, and walking. “I’m close to my family, the grounds are beautiful, and there are plenty of activities to keep us busy.”

Ann, for her part, says she’s glad she doesn’t have to worry about making sure the grass is cut or the snow gets shoveled. And she’s thankful to be going through this experience with one of her dearest friends.

“Margaret and I have 68 years of shared history,” says Ann. “Now we’re learning all about Brooksby together. Even though we each decided independently to move to Brooksby when we did, it feels like it was meant to be.”