Counting Steps to Count the Days to Norway
Everyone has a story. When you spend time in a senior living community, you encounter the richest stories from residents who come to us from all walks of life. You might not know it immediately from talking to her, but independent living resident Pat Cleveland is case in point.
On any given day at the Village, you might find this charming 82-year-old on one of our campus walking trails. She is fast-talking and fast-walking, spry and enthusiastic about life. When you dig past her rich Tidewater accent, you learn Ms. Cleveland was born in London and came to the United States when she was seven years old.
“My mother married a soldier after World War II, and they came through New York Harbor to Virginia,” she explains. “My father was in the Royal Air Force, and he was killed during a mission in Norway to stop the Germans from building an atomic bomb.”
The mission was part of the Operation Freshman, in which the British RAF sent men in by gliders to destroy the supply of heavy water that the Germans needed to build an atomic bomb. Her father’s glider crashed, and he was taken captive and eventually shot by a firing squad. Next year is the 80th anniversary of this raid, and Ms. Cleveland hopes to travel to Norway to participate in a commemoration on behalf of her father.
“I’m trying to stay in shape for Norway,” she said of her walking habit. “There will be some hiking involved so I want to get ready now.”
In addition to walking on the Village’s quiet paths, she also enjoys group exercises as part of our wellness programming. She usually takes a 30-minute calisthenics class in the mornings, which she says she appreciates for its camaraderie with her friends—as well as the opportunity to be indoors on hot summer days or cold winter mornings.
Ms. Cleveland has been a resident with us at the Village for almost two years, joining us when her husband of 63 years needed memory care. She’d gotten to know the Village through her job, and she says she always knew she would retire here. “I got to know residents here and feel like I got an honest opinion,” she said.
She continued, “I love the small town feeling of Franklin, and I love everything about life in the Village. I walk a mile a day, I take my fitness classes, I spend time with friends. It’s all been wonderful. I feel like I belong here.”