Pat and Ted’s Love Story Continues at White Oaks at Williamsburg
Every family has its lore, or point of origin — usually some story of how the parents met. My parents met at University of Kentucky in 1955, and it was love at first sight. They were married in June 1956, and a few months later, they were driving across the country in my Dad’s Studebaker on their way to Los Angeles where he had accepted a job with the Howard Hughes Corporation.
There was just one problem. My mother, Pat, who had only ever been out of Lexington, KY once in her life, on a family vacation to Florida, cried the entire time. Finally, as St. Louis’ Gateway Arch loomed on the horizon, my Dad, Ted, told her she had two choices.
“We’re at the halfway point. I can put you on a bus back to Lexington, or you can go with me to California. But if you decide to come with me, you’ve got to stop crying,” he told her firmly.
“I want to go with you!” my Mom told him.
She cried even harder. But then spent the rest of the trip biting her tongue and batting back the tears.
This act of courage on both their parts launched a wonderful marriage that continues to this day. In a way they are polar opposites: Mom is reserved with a sly, sarcastic wit, at times innocent and childlike while Dad is gregarious, and never met a person he didn’t like. I believe the secret to their marriage is deep respect and years of cultivating mutual interests like traveling, fine dining and adventures with friends.
After nearly a decade in Los Angeles, where my brother and I were born, the family moved to Severna Park, Maryland. Dad worked as an aeronautical engineer, and Mom founded and directed a preschool. They retired to Williamsburg in 1993 and took full advantage of local amenities. For Dad, it was the golf course at Ford’s Colony, and for Mom, it was the Williamsburg Library. For many years they could be seen every Thursday volunteering at Sentara Regional Hospital where Mom created “gift bags” for children. She started with her own money, buying up toys and games at The Dollar Store and putting together bags for children visiting the hospital.
Now that Mom lives at White Oaks, Dad is a daily fixture there usually arriving on time to sit with her during lunch. He is a big fan of the chef’s cooking and makes sure there are no leftovers on Mom’s lunch plate! I usually visit Mom in the evenings and get her ready for bed. The day ends in a ritual: I call Dad on my cell phone and hand it over to Mom, so they can sing “their” song, Irving Berlin’s Always.
I have no doubt my parents are soul mates. They are connected in unseen realms and find ways to be together, in this life and beyond. I am grateful to White Oaks and the kind, supportive staff, for welcoming and caring for both of them, as there is no Pat without Ted.
– Submitted by their daughter, Lisa
Barb’s Story: A Carefree Lifestyle That Allows Her to Do What She Loves
If you see Barb out around town and ask her how she likes living at our community, she will tell you, “I would recommend it to anyone and everyone!”
Barb came to us after arthritis got the best of her, she says. Barb lived in a three-story condo for 18 years until she decided to sell her home.
She wanted to make her life easier. She lived on her own. Her husband passed away in 1992 – just 20 days after he received a cancer diagnosis. Eleven years later, her son passed away.
Being on her own was too much for her to handle, and going up and down the stairs became more difficult as her arthritis progressed.
“I’m no spring chicken anymore,” she said. “I’m in my late 70’s”.
Her daughters came to tour our community. They were impressed, so they brought Barb in, and she fell in love.
After living on her own, she craved having a connection with people again. Barb found that here.
Another thing that was important to Barb was having space to work on cards, bookmarks, sewing and her other craft projects. She shares her talents with others and often gives cards to residents and employees at our community.
An active resident at our community, Barb was recently elected president of the Resident Council. She wants to help new residents settle into their new home. Barb’s laugh is contagious, and she made our community a great place to live!