Hamilton Grove Stories

Hamilton Grove's Sweetheart Tea Brings Couples New and Old Together

The most important lesson of all is that caring flows both ways. Folks here are so much more than residents and staff. We’re friends, neighbors, companions. Family. That’s why events that bring us together, like this year’s Sweetheart Tea at Hamilton Grove, are so important to us. As we walked through the various tables of married couples who live with us, we asked about how each couple first met and listened to stories about their lives together. At one particular table, one of our longest married couples, Dave and Vera Litchfield, sat next to one of our newest married couples, Dean and Joan Cooper! They were instant friends.

The group laughed together, over a delicious lunch, about how each of them met. Dave and Vera, married 60 years this May, have lived in the Independent Living villas for 10 years; however, they were attracted to Hamilton Grove long before they even thought about living here.

Dave said, "In the summer of 1949 I was nine years old, and all that was around here was a single big building. My church had a campground, and I came here as a camper-one time they let all of us kids loose in the building. Just a bunch of kids running around saying "hi" to each person at the nursing home who had their door open and wanted to talk. At the end of the day they had us go to the chapel. One of the residents was a totally blind pastor who played the violin beautifully, and he played a concert for us. The only song I can remember from that concert was "Listen to the Mockingbird," and part way through the song, a lady came and took over on the piano, and the resident started making bird calls on his violin! It was beautiful, and I bet you any kid that was on that trip with me remembers that." Dave went on to say that it’s memories like that which fueled his and Vera’s decision to live with us and that he’s glad he gets to spend Valentine’s Day with his wife and other couples who are a part of the Hamilton Grove family. He said, "So many other couples have stories like mine, of knowing Hamilton Grove long before living here, and it’s nice to socialize and hear those stories!"

The other couple at the table, Dean and Joan Cooper, have been married for three years, but shared the same feelings about living at Hamilton Grove. Dean said, "We are definitely the newest couple here! We met when a mutual friend introduced us to each other after we both lost our previous spouses, and we’ve been living at the Independent Living villas ever since we got married."

When asked what he likes about living here, Dean gestured to Joan and said, "She’s here!" Everyone at the table laughed at this exclamation. "She’s here, but there are also so many other couples that we get to socialize with at Hamilton Grove events like this. It’s nice to be able to go out as a couple and experience them together."

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