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She enjoyed the challenge of finding a new house.

 

This is where it all started in 1959. Barbara’s “first” was the apartment on the second floor to the left of the awning, 1106 Maiden Lane Court Apt. 2 B, Ann Arbor Michigan.

Born and raised in a small town, Barbara lived in the same house until she was married. But this lady was not a “small town” girl. She was up to the task with whatever she faced and was not afraid of change.

For example, in fifty-nine years of marriage, she lived in fifteen different homes. Five of the moves were to a new city and necessary. The other ten moves, all in Indianapolis, were her choice. Twice she arranged for the sale of the family home on her own and only shared the news with her husband when the details had been worked out.

While living in the same city, the average duration for Barbara to live in a house or an apartment was about five and a half years. She enjoyed every house—and liked the next one even more, including the experience of building, remodeling, and decorating.

With each move there were challenges and opportunities, and Barbara loved them all. There were wall colors to choose, carpet or hardwood for the floors, window treatment, a few new pieces of furniture, and reupholstering for some old favorites. The pictures, mementos, and decorative “treasures” always moved and made the new house home.

While these moves occurred, Barbara oversaw the building of two vacation homes in Michigan. Working mostly on the phone, she found 135 feet of frontage on Lake Michigan. She secured mineral rights, had an antiquities survey, and confirmed there were no concerns with endangered species of plants or animals on the land.

With these hurdles cleared, she found an architect and a builder and proceeded to build a house for a family, which now included four grandchildren who were to spend many hours on the beach in the summer and on snowmobiles in the winter.

With the grandchildren grown, she decided to change vacation homes and found one under construction closer to town. There was time to make some key changes in the final stages. With this house, Barbara completed her last building project.

Back in Indianapolis, on a Saturday afternoon in the fall, she attended an open house at a local retirement home. “Let’s have a look at this new apartment building,” she said. She was nearing the end of her eighth decade but had no notion of moving to a place like this.

The newly built substantial 44-unit, four-story apartment building, with underground parking, was connected to the older main buildings by a passageway. There were several models of apartments, ranging from compact one-bedroom to spacious three-bedroom units. All were sparkling new and about half of them were unoccupied, although most of these had names on the doors indicating they had been reserved for people who would be moving in soon.

Barbara’s last, 2018 Marquette

As Barbara was leaving, she decided a unit on the first floor at the corner of the building, with a nice patio overlooking a landscaped courtyard and adjacent to an entrance, would be her choice if she were to select an apartment. In an offhand comment this was relayed to the agent conducting the tours by her husband after he had confirmed the unit had been spoken for.

The next day, the agent called Barbara to say that she had called the family who had reserved the apartment and they told her they had decided not to move for another year and that they were relinquishing their hold on that unit. This was all Barbara needed to hear. After a brief discussion, the decision was made to take it. In three months, on January 11, 2011, Barbara moved into the apartment.

How do I know all this? I am currently living in Barbara’s last home—it was the last one we shared during our fifty-nine-year marriage. And, this nearly 11-year span at Marquette is the longest I have lived in the same home in my life, and it was a fine last home for Barbara.

 

By Savvy Senior

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