Written by Panorama resident, Mary Jo Shaw. November 2014
After arriving from Austin, Texas, our son Christopher with wife Teresa, 7 year-old Sarah and 5-year-old Emily rang our doorbell for their first visit at Panorama: to celebrate my 75th birthday. “Hi, Granny, can we go swimming? Can we do crafts?”
I laughed, “Yes, yes! But first, let’s get a snack and get some sleep. It’s one-thirty in the morning! Pawpaw has blankets and pillows on our floor, just like old times. Your mommy and daddy have a queen sized air-mattress in my craft room.”
They toured our little garden home. “Mary Jo,” Teresa laughed, “you finally got your small kitchen with lots of cabinets and drawers. Wow, look at those pull-outs under the counter tops. And those big drawers are so handy.”
After a quick night’s sleep, I shook my hubby (Pawpaw), “Chris, wake up, I heard the front door. They must be leaving.” I sprang out of bed and glanced down the hall.
Sarah and Emily came running, “Granny, we just went for a walk in your park and saw the putting green.”
“’n, Granny,” chimed in little Emily. ”Sarah played hide ‘n seek with me in back of those b-i-g trees.”
“Thought we’d sneak in,” apologized Christopher. “We walked on the Chahalis Trail. It’s so close by.”
Teresa unpacked swim gear for the family, and we walked to our Aquatic and Fitness Center. Daughter, Melody, husband, John, and 4-year-old Hope, who live in Lacey, met us. Grandgirls’ showed off swimming skills in two of the large pools with plenty of pool-exercise items and toys, and spa for adults. We appreciated the swimsuit drying-machine, pristine clean state-of-the-art dressing facilities, two family-dressing-shower rooms, built in hair-dryers and lockers.
Hungry tummies stopped growling in our Chambers Restaurant. We heard: “Mommie, can I have the chicken fingers?” “I want the quesadillas.” “I’m getting the hamburger with sweet potato fries.” “Wow, they have prime rib?” “Mexican plate is my order.” “That man over there has the hearty house salad.”
“Mom, Dad, the waiters and residents are so friendly, and we don’t feel we have to rush. We can actually sit and visit,” Christopher said.
Pawpaw agreed. “You see why we enjoyed the gift certificate you sent us for Christmas to eat in here!”
Little later a resident snapped our family picture in the community living room, Pan Hall. Sarah teased, “Free coffee and hot chocolate, magazines and newspapers and a huge fireplace? No wonder Pawpaw likes this place.”
After a couple of hours in the Quinault basement game room with miniature machine-operated bowling lane, we had to pull the gang out to go home for the night. “We’ll have to come back to play table pool and use the game tables,” Granny said. “Chalet has a much bigger game room like this and also has ping pong and exercise machines.”
We mostly delighted in the outdoors in the sunshine that summer. From the Fitness Center we had a great selection to check out: bocce ball, ladder ball, bad-mitten, fabric Frisbee, putt-putt golf, and croquet to play in McGandy Park. Their eyes bulged when they learned we have 88 miles of sidewalks on our campus that are appropriate for walkers and wheel chairs.
The gift shop was a big hit with the hundreds of items for babies to adults–made by residents. Christopher helped himself get roped-in by the guys in the metal, lapidary and, especially, the woodshop—talking shop!
Two weeks was not enough to do all Panorama welcomes families to do. The auditorium with movies, lectures, concerts, travel slides presented by residents and picnics in the park or on tables by the auditorium—those are on our list for another trip.
I had teary eyes with my little family as we attended Catholic Mass on Monday in the on-campus non-denominational chapel. We have many blessings here to share with our little ones. Are they welcomed? You decide!