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Chris and Bob

Chris and Bob’s friendship was born in a barn. A round barn, that is, where hobbyists gather on campus. Chris occasionally ‘borrows’ Bob’s 90 year-old eyes to examine his tiny clock parts; Bob relies on Chris to ‘keep him in line.’ Or does Bob keep Chris in line? They enjoy each other’s antics and are happily surprised at their later-in-life friendship.

Mogens "Chris" Christensen did have to “right-size” his antique clock collection, but he certainly didn’t give it up! He collects and repairs antique clocks and sold more than 150 of them before moving to Western Home Communities in 2015. The collection editing process improved the overall quality of his remaining collection and gave him a “pass” to say yes to an exceptional clock he may find for sale in an antique store or auction. 

“I love auctions,” he admits. “I used to buy old clocks because I liked restoring the wood cases.”

It became expensive to have the clock works repaired so he slowly learned that part of the restoration process, too. Pretty soon, he
was an active member of the National Clock Collectors 
Association and a go-to restoration expert for high-value antique clocks. While living in Des Moines, Chris learned a lot from his restoration mentor Ralph Terry, a grandson of Eli Terry who was a famous clock craftsman in the 1800s.

Bob, on the other hand, has had his hands on crafts since he was a child. Wood-working was an early passion but he has tried many different mediums. Leaded glass is one of his current passions. When he is making specific pieces to hang in windows, he has a tendency to notice the slightest variances in the construction. "They tend to be off a quarter to a half an inch," he laughed.  

Bob says his wife likes to call first "dibs" on the things he makes and the second or third edition make it into the hands of friends and family. 

Bob said he recently celebrated his 90th birthday with several different parties. Chris laughed and asked where his invitation was.

The 'Big Kids Bike Klub'

Ken and Carol had no qualms about meeting new friends when they moved to Western Home Communities. After seeing an article in The Journal about the Big Kids Bike Klub with an open invitation they greased their gears and got ready for the ride of their life. 

What Ken didn't realize was that he would be rekindling old friendships along the way. Ken, a former professor in the UNI Drafting Department had worked with Ron, professor in the Department of Technology at UNI. Ron rewrote an entire BASIC language to Fortran language for Ken's drafting program, no easy feat at that time. 

Ken also had a chance to reconnect with former Deere co-worker Mike. They had both been engineers at Deere in new product development. 

Carol on the other hand used the opportunity to make new friendships. One of the first connections she made was with Rita, who she found lived just down the street from her and Ken. 

These past RAGBRAI participants said, "Exercise is very important at this age and biking makes it enjoyable. The freedom of a bicycle will make you feel good and keep you active."

They also mentioned that people of any ability are always welcomed in the Big Kids Bike Klub. "Whether you are a new biker or someone who has rode for 50 years, we encourage everyone to join us."

Rich and Rita

Rita was a bold girl of fifteen years old when she decided to ask Rich out on their first date to the church hayrack ride. More than sixty years later, a move to Western Home Communities helped them rediscover each other and strengthen their bond. 

She didn't know him well, but her mother thought he was cute and funny. So she bit the bullet and asked him out. Rich naturally agreed. They gathered for a hay rack ride on the old Nelson farm and made their way around the freshly harvested field on that fateful October evening. 

Fast forward through raising kids, jobs, keeping house and all the other beautiful details called life to Rich and Rita enjoying their 54th wedding anniversary in their Villa on South Campus. They were reliving their first moments together and reminiscing about that fateful night when suddenly Rita realized- it was right here. The ground their home was built on was part of the old Nelson farm that set the scene for the rest of their lives together. The Nelson's home was still standing on South Campus, now home to atHome with Western Home. And though the corn was long gone, the memories of that first date will remain forever fresh in their mind. 

Those details of life that were once such a blessing (including two sets of twins!) are now blessings that don't taking up all the waking hours of each day. Rita has had a chance to join Rich in his hobby of gardening and they enjoy cooking and just turning the TV off and getting to know each other in a new way. Having the extra time to do so, they are enjoying the rewards of volunteering at the Alliance Club, Tourism Bureau, Historical Society, and church. One of the things they enjoy the most is having the time to volunteer together as Santa and Mrs. Claus and seeing the smile that lights up the children's faces when they are with them. 

The East Side Social Club

When Janet invited Lorraine to an East Side Social Club event, she learned quickly you can forge new friendships here before you even have the keys to your new home. Now she and her husband are completely at ease with their upcoming move.

The East Side Social Club is the fun, friendly group you always wanted to join. What started as villa neighbors spontaneously gathering for evening cocktails quickly gained steam and took on a life of its own. 

Now each gathering draws more than seventy-five people, some of whom happen to be future residents. There is food, friendship and sometimes even a fire for roasting marshmallows, a perfect spot for savoring another beautiful sunset over the new Prairie Wind community and Jorgensen Plaza construction site. 

The members of the East Side Social Club like to keep in touch between gatherings as well. This group really has it all figured out with a regularly published newsletter and their own Facebook group. 

The best thing about the East Side Social Club is you don't have to live on the "east side"  to enjoy the perks. Residents from all over south campus have found their way into the group. If you see a group gathering to the east of Jorgensen Plaza, stop and say hi. You just might find yourself the next member of the East Side Social Club.

Paul the Boxer

Paul Foote of Windgrace is a regular at the Cedar Valley Boxing Club in Waterloo. Twice a week he conquers the long stairway to the second story gym and spend an hour working through fitness, balance and agility stations. He never intend to compete, though his punch is impressive!

The full body exercise is excellent for management of Parkinson’s disease. Every member of the Wednesday - Friday class is on their own Parkinson’s journey, but that does not mean he is on the journey alone.

“Comradery is a very big part of the success of this class,” said Steve Rice, who trains competitive boxers -- ages 8 and up -- five days a week. “It really helps with balance, strength, agility and confidence.” Steve says it’s not long before boxing participants see results. The loop of motivation, hard work and success helps them gain control they thought was lost. The skills of boxing: explosive movement, endurance and aerobic strength are skills that doctors believe can slow the progression of Parkinson’s.

Paul was the second one to join the class two and a half years ago. He agrees that comradery keeps him coming back. “We’re all in the same shaky boat!” Paul’s Parkinson’s diagnosis changed his life in his late 60s. He straps on his boxing gloves – each weighing one pound -- and admits he no longer takes his balance and strength for granted.

Participants at the Parkinson’s boxing class use the same equipment and exercises as the competitive boxers who use at the gym. They move through stations that include the double ended bag, boxing with foam noodles, shadow boxing, cycling, medicine ball, speed bag, kettle weights, floor work, heavy bag, and more.

The Rita's

The mothers of these two Ritas met at summer swimming lessons and got a kick out of the fact they both had a Rita going to jr. high in the fall. They advised the girls to seek each other out and on their second day of junior high they found each other and became best friends. When Rita J. moved away from Cedar Falls more than four decades ago, this inseparable pair thought they'd been separated forever. All these years later, something unexpected occurred and now they're closer than ever.

Rita J. and her husband, Roy had been living in Iowa City since the mid 70s. Roy taught at the University of Iowa and Rita worked in a health clinic at the hospital. Iowa City was truly home for many years. As they reached retirement something was calling them back to Cedar Falls. 

In the meantime, Rita C. and her husband, Rich had made a wonderful life in their hometown of Cedar Falls. Yet, they felt something was missing. 

When Rita and Roy made the decision to move to Western Home Communities, Rita and Rich quickly decided have their best friends close by was going to be a luxury. 

How close could they get? Sometimes fate just has a way of bringing people that are meant to be together to the right place. These two Ritas now live a few doors down from each other and get to share memories, laughter, and even an occasional margarita whenever they choose! 

Write the rest of your story!  Contact us to learn how you can find your fulfilling lifestyle at Western Home Communities.  


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