"I'd like to move in here," said one of Mrs. Heather Carlson third grade students from Harrison Street School while visiting the home of her school-year pen pal, a resident of GreenFields of Geneva. "Not until I get to," said her mother. "I'd love to live like this and have my cleaning and cooking done for me too."
The banter continued on May 22nd between 23 third grade students and 20 GreenFields residents along with many parents as they gathered to celebrate their friendship created over nine months, three greeting cards and six letters ago. The morning was filled with music, games and tours of their elder pen pal's apartments and the GreenFields community. And, of course, lots of laughing and kidding around.
The program was the brainchild of Ms. Carlson. She brought her mother, Dorothy Maisto, and her fellow GreenFields residents together with her third grade class at the school in which she has taught for 30 years. "This is something that the children will have memories of and will take with them through their lives. I also did it for my mom and the other residents at GreenFields so they had this to look forward to. Of course, I am also happy the children learned to write letters in the process" Carlson said.
Third graders Emily Masters and Ryan Cedergren were paired with Mariam and John O'Connell. Like many of the other pen pal groups, they first met in October when the children came to perform for the residents in a vocal concert. Their friendship blossomed over the months. The children even received gifts from the O'Connells upon their return from Hawaii.
Travel was a favorite topic for these pen pals. John O'Connell is a retired United Airline pilot, and both he and his wife share a passion for travel. The kids loved hearing about their far away adventures. In fact, the O'Connells were even able to tell Emily about her mother's homeland, Slovakia, where they have visited. Emily and her family hope to visit there soon.
Although the O'Connells have four children and six grandchildren of their own, Miriam believes the friendship she has developed with Emily, an ice skater and "very good artist" will continue. She may have to compete with one of her granddaughters who read one of Emily's letters and said, " She seems very nice -- I'd like to have her as my pen pal."
GreenFields is an exceptional LifeCare community offering an ideal location, a retirement lifestyle you'll love, and the most comprehensive plan available for long-term care if ever needed. Sponsored by Friendship Senior Options, GreenFields is a sister community to Friendship Village, the largest retirement community in Illinois and the first to become accredited. GreenFields is located at 0N801 Friendship Way in Geneva. For additional information, visit www.GreenFieldsofGeneva.org.