The Becketwood welcome breakfast: Especially for men
Doug Heron, Ray Mikkelson and Paul Zoschke, Becketwood Members
Becketwood hosts regular events for our Waiting List Members to provide information and help people feel comfortable and a part of our community. Following are a few excerpts from the presentations that were given in April of this year.
The big decision.
Moving means making decisions, and a lot of them. It is common for women to be more enthusiastic about a move to Becketwood than men. Men often view the move, at least at first, as “giving up” things like a yard of their own, their workshop and other spaces and activities that they’ve enjoyed. Good news: That is not the case.
According to Paul, “My initial impression was that gardening was confined to the relatively small Member gardens and weekly weeding sessions. I soon discovered that the staff appreciated my willingness to remove unwanted buckthorn, elm and mulberry trees from the fence lines. I now have 12+ acres to work on instead of just 0.8! This is fun for me. Not work.”
Ray commented, “When I first visited Becketwood, I thought, where are the men? I learned later that many are working full or part time, or are involved in a variety of interesting activities such as biking, fishing, traveling and volunteer work with places like Meals on Wheels and Habitat for Humanity. I also visited the workshop on the garage level and met some of the men who answered a lot of my questions and made me feel welcome.”
Doug spoke on amenities, conveniences and neighborhood. “Two forces made moving from Pennsylvania particularly hard. We had to find new friends to replace those we left behind and we had to get rid of a lot of stuff. It’s easy to make friends at Becketwood. There is ping pong, pool, movie programs, speakers, happy hour, music, all sorts of other games and excursions. And, one of the best things we did for our three kids was to get rid of many accumulated possessions – while we were still capable of doing it ourselves and making those decisions.”
Sooner, rather than later.
If you are like most of us baby boomers and beyond, you want more than anything to be healthy and independent. “My wife Helen,” said Ray, “knew that the longer we waited it would become more difficult to manage a move. The great support from the marketing and refurbishment staff allowed us to totally redo the kitchen, add some electrical fixtures and install all new flooring before we moved in.” Other Becketwoodians have been known to say, “Move in now, while you’re young enough to enjoy it.” And it’s true – there is much to enjoy.
Paul said, “Friends here at Becketwood are instrumental in bringing in speakers and programs. Seeing the Members’ interest in a wide variety of subjects helped me appreciate the range of life experiences here and Becketwood’s intellectual and cultural vitality.”
Doug’s list of what he likes to do here includes walking to the Riverview Theater and enjoying a large bag of popcorn for $2.50. “Sometimes I walk the five miles along West River Parkway to downtown and then Keitha (his wife) picks me up for lunch. Many of us walk across the Ford Bridge to Highland Park for shopping. Minnehaha Falls is a pleasant walking destination, too. And what could be more convenient than the city bus right on the corner and a quick ride to the light rail station?”
The cooperative and the people.
“People at Becketwood are friendly and inclusive,” Ray said. “We were met with greetings and invitations to dinners by members who wanted to know us. I find that my well-informed, active neighbors have given me new optimism, energy and incentive to continue an active life.” He went on, “A cooperative community needs its members to assume responsibility for its continuing success. Now, “committee” may be a dirty word for some of you and, after 35 years in academia, I certainly have no need for unnecessary committee activity. I am pleased to report that committees here do important work and some don’t even meet unless there are real issues to address.”
According to Paul, “Becketwood provides fertile ground for growing a new life. We are not an “old folks home” of frail people. We are active and alive, both intellectually and culturally. We offer many opportunities to people who make their interests and talents known and available.”
“What is so cool about our cooperative,” said Doug, is our self-reliance. Our members of diverse life experiences bring a wealth of talent to the table, and we draw on that to enrich the Becketwood community.”