“I can be as independent as I choose to be, yet I know, from recent experience, that caring and competent help is always just a telephone call away.” —Laura C.
A Personal Story in Five Acts
Prologue: Fifty-eight years of marriage, international living, three children, home in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.
Act 1: April, 2013. We visit Lathrop, accompanied by a daughter and son-in-law who live nearby. We compare it to Kendal at Oberlin, close to our other daughter.
Act 2: The next day. We pay a deposit on a vacant unit about to be renovated, in an attractive setting on the Northampton campus.
Act 3: July 2013. We pay balance of entry fee and move in.
Act 4: The next year. We begin to learn the neighborhood. Delighted with Forbes Library in Northampton, cultural events at Lathrop and Smith College, Lathrop van to Tanglewood and Jacob’s Pillow, trips to Boston and New York, new church, five supermarkets in easy reach, walking trails, new friends, new barber, and frequent visits with the children, not feasible in the U.P. of Michigan.
Act 5: September 2014. We attend the annual Lathrop picnic. Our picture is taken and we are asked for a story. It’s a work in progress.
— Peter V.
Excerpted from “No Second Chances? Who Says?” Hampshire Life, Friday, August 2, 2013
“…from the first time we drove into the Lathrop Community at Northampton, we felt at home…This time I was a grown-up, and could follow my own heart…Warmth is a characteristic of the Pioneer Valley, especially in Northampton … we’ve found the qualities of eagerness, enthusiasm, openness, idealism and the desire to share, all alive and flourishing here. “Cool” … was what my life till then had been. So the warmth here came as a marvelous surprise. It’s said that you can’t go back to the crossroads, take that other road … diverging, untaken … Well I’m no longer so sure of that. Daily I drive the streets of Northampton, daily I feel like I’m part of the bustle of Smith College. Every day I feel the buoyant sense of a second choice, a second chance. I breathe the air of a place where the importance of the mind is taken for granted. It’s in the air: learning is what people, both young and old, DO – it’s a natural activity. For me, a perpetual student, what bliss! … I am in my natural environment. It may have taken 50 whatever years, but here I am – where I’m supposed to be, at last, and after all….” —Judith B.
Judy lives at Lathrop Northampton, where she is part of a weekly French conversation group, writes two blogs, (check them out at http://touch2touch.wordpress.com and http://berkshireviews.wordpress.com) and is involved with Five College Learning in Retirement classes and activities. You can read her latest article at http://www.gazettenet.com/artsentertainment/hampshirelife/12138168-95/growing-down-moving-from-more-to-less
“As a lesbian couple, we have found our Lathrop neighbors and staff to be welcoming and affirming. Northampton is a very LGBT-friendly city; we hold hands on the street here, without fear. We feel confident that as we age, we will receive care that is respectful.” –Barbara W and Sharon G.