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Westminster At Lake Ridge Blog

WLR Blog
Posted: Monday, February 23, 2015

Retirement gives couple time to build a new life

blog-VanceMaryjpgIf you’re going to bring 30 clocks into your retirement home, you’d better choose a place that can accommodate them.

The ability to add to their cottage a space for a clock repair hobby was a major factor in Vance and Mary decision to move to Westminster at Lake Ridge.

“I love to do clock repairs,” Vance says. “I promised myself that when I retired I would go learn what I’ve been doing all these years.” So Vance took a 13-week course at the school of horology (the art of making clocks and watches) to find out what makes clocks tick.

While they lived in their Reston, Va. home, Vance did a lot of his clock work in their laundry room, but now he works in an addition to their cottage at Westminster at Lake Ridge.

Vance, an Episcopal clergyman, and Mary, who ran a management consulting business, met at Drexel University, where each received an MBA degree. Mary was teaching at Drexel, and Vance was her student. They got married in 1975 and moved into a Reston townhouse from which they ran their business and enjoyed their children.

“When we got ready to retire, we looked at all the continuing care retirement communities in this area,” Vance says. Mary’s parents had set a good example for the couple when they moved into a CCRC in Pennsylvania.

“For my parents, it was a very smooth transition from independent living to the nursing center at the end of their lives,” Mary says. “You hope you never have to move, but if it’s necessary, we thought we’d like to do the same planning for our kids.”

“We wanted to be healthy enough to enjoy the new place, make the move, make the choices about our future ourselves and not force the kids to have to make them,” Vance says. “We knew from my own parents how difficult that could be.”

Westminster at Lake Ridge appealed to the couple for a lot of reasons. Located on 65 acres along the Occoquan River, the campus appealed to Vance and Mary’s love of the outdoors.

“We like the size of it and the fact that it’s really open and has nearby walking trails,” Mary says. “We love the feel of the community. People are so friendly. It feels like being in a good college.”

Once they decided to move to Westminster at Lake Ridge, Vance and Mary moved quickly to pare down the possessions that filled their large townhouse.

“Downsizing was mostly a lot of physical work,” Mary says. “We had friends come in and gave a lot of stuff away. Downsizing our books was the hardest part.” Their long-time handyman helped find a new home for a lot of their furniture. There were two categories of items, however, that they were going to bring with them—their piano and Vance’s clocks.

Vance and Mary wanted to move into a two-bedroom cottage, but none was available. So they took a one-bedroom cottage with a den and added a sunroom for the piano and space for Vance’s clocks.

It was a big relief to get out of their townhouse, which was getting expensive to keep up, Vance says. Not having those responsibilities freed up a lot of time for them to do what they want to do. They remain very active in their church in Reston, where Vance assists at three services each Sunday. They are members of the Westminstrals singing group. Vance is involved in the Investment Club, and Mary works in the gift shop and joins in outreach activities. And whenever he’s not involved in some other pursuit, Vance works on his clocks.

“In many ways, we’re continuing our life as it was, and also having a new life here,” Mary says.


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