Smartest Decision in Our Retirement? Part 9 – Any Friends at Panorama?

Written by Panorama resident, Mary Jo Shaw. September 2014

I’ve had many great friends in my life.  Many were in groups while teaching at schools or volunteering at my churches.  When we moved to Panorama in July, 2011, we wondered whether we’d make many friends, how long it would take, how close we’d be with them, whether we’d get along…things like that.

We’d met Helen and Wags our first night here and met many welcoming, cheerful friends at the July 4th picnic the next day.

Mary and Bob in our strip of garden homes came the next day to ask what we might need, returning with a card table and two folding chairs.  Our moving van would take 10 days to arrive.  We liked the “camping out” feel, since we wanted to use the no-unpacking-yet time to explore the campus, to walk the 140-acre campus and meet people, and to attend auditorium activities.  We’d come home elated with the many outgoing, gracious, welcoming, kind, and most interesting friends we’d met on any single day!

One thing we’re grateful for: we’re not expected to remember everyone’s name.  We’ve met new people almost every day since we arrived here.  We used to apologize, but, “Don’t worry, we all have the same challenge” was the welcomed response.  Many wear our given, delightful name tag which is very effective.  We found out we can be as active or laid back at any time with the many friends here.  At one time I felt I had learned all 1200 people!

There are many and varied activities from crafts together to movies, lectures, classes to Level 5 hiking trips to meet new people or attend with friends. The 80+ activities each month make it easy to pick and choose. There are neighborhood block parties, get-togethers in homes, outside, in Chambers Restaurant or off campus.  Attend all, some, or none: we respect each other’s choice.

I’ve met most of my best friends when volunteering.  Volunteering is a story in itself for later.


Pan Hall

In Pan Hall there’s coffee, tea and hot chocolate (often goodies)!  There’s a large fire place, tables, chairs, sofas, magazines, and newspapers where we can gather to read, and/or visit with old and new friends.  It’s also the place where we sign up at the activity desk for many special trips and activities.  We like to call it our community living room.  We always feel welcomed there.  I don’t recall anyone yet who wasn’t friendly when I greeted them.

What a surprise to encounter openness, approachability, and respect toward us from management, employees, and staff!

Words get in the way when we try to explain Panorama community.  It is an experience that cannot be explained.

It’s the people that make Panorama.

Mary Jo Bio

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