‘It’s a Home, It’s a Family’: Resident Susan Little Shares Why She Loves Life at The Village
Not many people retire in reverse. But Susan Little did. She left sunny Florida in July 2022 and moved 700 miles north to The Village at Woods Edge in Franklin, Va. The pull to return to where she spent the first part of her life was too hard to resist, and it’s a decision she hasn’t questioned since.
‘Home’ becomes home again
Susan comes from a long line of generations born and raised in Franklin, where she met her husband, got married, and worked in data processing at the paper mill until they had their two children. Tragedy struck in 1985 when her 35-year-old husband passed away, and her mother moved in to help support the grieving family. Susan’s children graduated from high school in Franklin, but eventually moved away to pursue education, careers and raising their own families. In 1994, Susan began working at a local florist, which continued for 13 years.
In 2007, Susan moved to Oviedo, Florida, to live with her daughter, husband and their two children. Susan’s son was serving overseas in the military at the time, but is currently back in Virginia with his family. While in Florida for 15 years, Susan made regular trips to Virginia to visit her best friend since preschool, former classmates and relatives. She often attended her high school reunions, most recently the 55th!
“I wanted to come back to Franklin, though,” Susan said. “We’re not getting any younger. We lost several of our classmates since our last reunion in 2018. So I decided that I wanted to come back here, and my grandchildren were old enough that they didn’t need me to look after them.”
Susan’s daughter and son-in-law helped her look into options. They were familiar with The Village and even knew some people who worked there. Ultimately, they decided on a one-bedroom apartment at The Village and got busy moving Susan back to her roots.
‘People here are like a family’
Franklin is a friendly small-town community environment where everyone is known to look after each other. Susan said that this spirit is also evident at The Village. “People here are like a family,” she said. “Someone gets sick; everyone asks about them. If we didn’t see you one day, we want to know how you are. I would encourage anyone to move here.”
From the different housing options, beautiful grounds, ability to have pets and all the security features, The Village offers something for everyone. The Village’s staff is friendly and caring, and Susan marvels that they know everybody’s name!
“I’m grateful I am in good health and can enjoy apartment living, but I don’t stay here all day. I want to visit my neighbors and be around people — have a good time, laugh, gossip about current events and get involved in all the activities.”
Always on the go
The Village has no shortage of activities and trips to keep residents engaged, active and connected. On the grounds, residents enjoy opportunities including the wellness center, church services, guest speakers, leisure and sport activities, and, of course, socializing at the Back Porch & Grille.
Susan also said she likes going on day trips to area restaurants, shopping and Williamsburg. Most recently, she said she, along with almost three dozen others, went to the local Southampton High School to hear the Virginia Symphony.
Holidays offer special occasions to get involved and spend time with each other and the Franklin community. Local day care centers will visit The Village for Easter egg hunts or Dr. Seuss’s birthday for book readings. Church choirs will come to share special Christmas concerts. The Village decorates for Christmas, and residents can help in making the place festive.
“I thoroughly enjoy all of it; it keeps me very busy, and lots to look forward to,” Susan said.
The Village also offers themed meal-time activities and discussions, resident breakfasts, buffets and special dinners.
“A friend told me, ‘Susan, you sound happier than I’ve heard you in a long time.’ I enjoyed being with my daughter’s family in Florida, the weather, and being near the ocean and the gulf, but I didn’t get to know too many people. But here, I stay active, have friends and there is plenty to do.”