Yes, that long winter visit in Portland, Oregon, even with its unseasonable snow, confirmed our decision. We'd gone with the idea of re-locating. Call it Second Stage Retirement. In the first one we were in our early sixties, had two unmarried children.
Fifteen years and one quadruple by-pass later, we're ready for a place slower than New York. The subway steps are more of a challenge these days. Both children are married, have their own kids. The idea of being with the three in Portland as they grow is very appealing. It is, we believe, our last move until the very final exit or Third Stage.
With the unstable real estate market we wondered, as we left in mid-December, whether we'd look to buy or rent an apartment as a temporary measure? Few days before we left, I Googled "retirement communities" in Portland. I'm still not sure how it escaped my eye before. It's been around for 50 years! Unlike most retirement places, this one is right in town--we could walk to the center city, take a bus to our family's neighborhood. Maybe a possibility?
January 10, was our first visit to Terwilliger Plaza. A non-profit CCRC (continuing care retirement community), it is designed for "healthy people looking for security. When I stepped toward the reception desk to sign in, the pleasant resident volunteer (I'd say she was a bit older than I, maybe early eighties), looked at my Obama button, smiled, said "Isn't it wonderful?"
That first surprise was followed by the second: it was much more affordable than Kendal on Hudson, another non-profit CCRC, that interested us earlier. Plus the apartments were attractively designed, most with a view of Mt. Hood. Most important was that Ron was very enthusiastic too. The postings on the bulletin boards on each floor indicated that we would be comfortable with the social environment. Of course we'll be a bit "different." Always a bit outside the line, I was amused when Ronni Bennett once described me as one of New York's "typical upper west siders." Yes and no.
Speaking of Ronni and selling our apartment, I called her last week to talk about the upcoming sale of our apartment. She left the City three years ago after an extended effort to sell her much-beloved place in Greenwich Village. Just like our visit with her in Maine two years ago, our free-flowing conversation surveyed everything from blogging to bagels. Great to hear her laughter again and get her input about financial stuff we'd face.
Leaving Roxie, our local granddaughter, is the sad part of this move (seen here with a pickle, one of her favorite foods). We rationalize by saying that our daughter and her spouse are permanently (or as much as anyone can be these days). Our son, Roxie's dad has the potential for more mobility as a young academic.
Many readers had much to add on my December post, "Housing Ourselves in Late Life." The dialogue continues today and in the months and weeks to come. In my effort to include a PDF file for the first time on A Little Red Hen, this is how the link offers itself-- Download Co-op flyer NEW color. If you know anyone who would be interested in our two-bedroom co-op in Morningside Gardens, that will give you the photo above plus two others and details. Our very special community with its six buildings around a beautifully landscaped central garden has a history of being unknown in New York. Thanks to Wikipedia we get our due in their description of the many sides of the upper westside neighborhood, Morningside Heights.
[Visit Marlys Styne's Never Too Late! for another Elderblogger experience on a recent move to a highrise CCRC in Chicago.]