While making a visit to her travel agent to plan a trip, Lillie Washington picked up a publication that described Oakwood Common. “I was living in northwest Detroit and told my daughter about it,” said Lillie. “When we visited, my daughter immediately fell in love with the place. She liked the craft room, and I fell in love with the shower—which suited my needs.” After Lillie moved in to her apartment six year ago, she has continued her activities with various church organizations and craft clubs around Detroit, and also volunteers for Oakwood Common’s Pastoral Care and assists with delivery of the community’s newsletter Acorn to other residents.
A former elementary school teacher and administrator, John Carver actively pursues retirement. An Oakwood Common resident of less than two years, John moved from a condominium in Westland. His morning starts almost every day with a game of pool. He also works as a volunteer cashier in the gift shop, and teams up with other residents for games of Wii bowling. “I also play tennis at least twice a week at the Livonia YMCA with a group of men I’ve known for more than 30 years,” said John. John is well known as the resident drummer who is readily available to entertain at parties. No one doubts him, when he says “we have fun and there are lots of things to do!”
If you ask Irene Brown the number one thing she likes about Oakwood Common, she quickly says “the people and administration,” followed by “the food.” “I don’t have to cook,” she explained. Before retirement Irene managed the Willow Tree clothing store in Wyandotte for 15 years and said it helped her learn how to accommodate seniors. Irene credits one of her two daughters with helping her discover Oakwood Common. She’ll also tell you that making friends is not difficult, and there’s plenty of activities to “help you stay active and healthy.” Irene lists several of her favorites including exercise classes three times a week, yoga, and line dancing as well as playing euchre, pinochle and bingo. “I have fun every day!”
George Stevens is not a stranger to anyone at Oakwood Common. He’s seen almost every day—indoors and outside—with a camera around his neck. “I became a licensed ham radio operator since I was 16 years old. When I couldn’t build a 50 foot tower and bring all my equipment with me, I needed another hobby,” said George who jokingly added, “The sales director Mary suggested I take up photography, so it’s all her fault!” Since then, George’s wildlife pictures have been framed and hung in many of the community’s social areas. Unafraid of new technology, George also has learned about social media and frequently posts photos and videos of recent events and activities on Oakwood Common’s Facebook page. George estimates that his new hobby has given him “twenty extra years!”
“People here are just so nice,” exclaims Doreen George, who is a member of the Library and Welcoming committees. “Everyone, including the staff, are just so loveable!” In 2004, Doreen and her husband Sidney moved from the Birmingham/Royal Oak area where they had lived all their lives. It was their daughter in Dearborn who helped them discover Oakwood Common. Doreen especially enjoys the well manicured grounds, planting her own garden and sitting outside on their private balcony when the weather’s nice. Both Doreen and her husband still drive so they appreciate the convenience of the underground parking garage and the community’s central location.
Bill Patton, a resident of nearby Taylor, enjoys visiting his dad William Patton almost every day. Nearly four years ago Bill’s dad and mom moved back to Michigan from their retirement home in North Carolina. According to Bill, his mom was beginning to have health problems. They chose Oakwood Common, because it was just the right size. Although Mrs. Patton recently passed away, Bill said, “It’s been a wonderful experience for my dad. He has a beautiful view from his apartment, enjoys making his own breakfast and lunch, and then joining others for dinner. Because Oakwood Common is so close, it’s easy for me to visit.”