Moving to Panorama?

Written by Panorama resident, Mary Jo Shaw. December 2021

Although born in San Antonio, Texas, in the 30s, we’ve moved a few times with big changes: Chris in the army and I, 13 years in Our Lady of the Lake Convent in San Antonio. I enjoyed my music teaching assignments in various cities in Texas and Oklahoma. After leaving the convent, modeling, then meeting Chris, we ended up moving to Las Vegas, Nevada, 25 years to the day…until we moved to Panorama. Whew!

Both with walkers at 89 and 82, we could hire someone to fix meals, clean our Quinault building apartment, make grocery lists to have delivered or shop for ourselves, etc., etc. True! But some lean toward enjoying meals with a variety of long loved acquaintances. We came to Panorama so that our own adult offspring could come and dine with us in our Seventeen51 Restaurant, not concerned with preparing or bringing meals to us.

Now, in 2021, Chris hobbles to the kitchen to exchange clean dishes from the dishwasher with dirty ones on the counter waiting their turn. “Oh, Darling, won’t be long. Won’t be long!”

I digress for clarity:

Chris always dreaded packing to move, and was not eager to fly from Vegas to simply look and take a tour. (Our daughter Melody and her husband John made trips to Washington for job interviews, to keep their little girl Hope from schooling in Vegas environment. I asked them to check out retirement places for us). His aunt Terri who housed them for these trips to Lacey said, “Maybe your parents would like to take a look at a very lovely place where I go for luncheons. It’s called Panorama.”

They returned to Vegas. “MOM, DAD, YOU DON’T WANT TO GO ANYWHERE EXCEPT PANORAMA!” Melody handed me a packet of information and a DVD (which Chris watched only once, but I thought I’d wear out with reviewing! No DVD now, since lots more info and photos are available: www.panorama.org )

Chris reluctantly and emphatically agreed, as did I, that we would not sign anything anywhere, just look, as we always did in major purchases such as homes, cars, etc.

Long story short:

We accepted invitations to stay at each retirement place for several nights which added up to the entire two weeks we came to Washington to tour.

After also visiting at Panorama every day, and with three days left of our trip, retirement counselor Rachel explained, “A garden home has just been vacated. It will be completely repainted inside with new carpeting, appliances, light fixtures, etc.” She wasn’t pushing us (knowing our situation with Chris), but she could show us, so we would not have to return to view, if we decided we wanted to move here. We did.    

I was stunned. This place is perfect. Melody and John bit their smiling lips, eyeballing me behind Chris’ back. We kept our cool, not exploding with joy. Chris whispered to me, “Maybe we’d better sign up!”

Panned face with heart pounding, I calmly ask, “You think so?”

He turns away, and my eyes sweep the heavens, Thank You, God!!  

Back to the clean and dirty dishes in our present apartment:

“Oh, Chris, we’ll order from a menu and have breakfast in our room, have time for visiting, reading the paper, helping ourselves from the ice cream machine, and have additional activities. Someone will clean, empty trash for us, and wash our laundry and bed linens every week!  And, Chris, they’ll make our bed every day!  Remember how we pick the brains of our friends who keep saying the food is delicious? And some say they are getting thoughtful and fun things they never expected! I’m really looking forward to lunch and supper in the brand-new restaurant!

You, Reader, still want to know where we are moving: Assisted Living wing in Quinault building at Panorama!

Recall: Panorama is a continuum from one level of life’s health-care to the next. We have access to Panorama Benevolent Fund’s three Social Services Advisors who are available to us for help with all transitioning we do from one level to the next on campus.

All our life’s moves have been good moves, and they are displayed in the grand mosaic of our marriage. We laugh when other residents remark what we have always said, “Panorama has been the best decision in our marriage!” Thank you, Panorama, for those “so -far best years” since 2011. Blessed over and above, again!

P.S. Stay tuned-in, hopefully, to blogs and photos about our new adventure.

Mary Jo Shaw, author.

Crossroads to Convent.

Convent to Catwalk.Family books.

Maryjoshaw3@gmail.com