Community Member Spotlight – Mary Ruth & Ervin

Mary Ruth and Ervin at The Crossing retirement community

At The Crossing, we’re proud to have diverse community members hailing from Nova Scotia, Ontario, Manitoba, Edmonton, Scotland, and beyond. Each resident brings something unique to our community, and we wholeheartedly believe it is the individuals who live here that make The Crossing so special. In the coming months, we will be sharing stories that highlight our community members and how they came to live at The Crossing. To kick things off, we sat down with a couple that has been here since The Crossing opened.

Nine years ago, we welcomed Mary Ruth and Ervin Cochrane to our community. At the time, there were just six homes at The Crossing – and only four of those homes had residents! Since they joined us in 2009, we have added almost 150 homes to our community and are continuing to grow.

Life in Gypsum Mines, Nova Scotia

Mary Ruth and Ervin lived in Gypsum Mines, Nova Scotia for 54 years. In their beautiful home they raised two sons, hosted dinner parties, spent weekends in the garden, completed art projects, and made a lifetime of memories.

Mary Ruth had a successful career as a registered nurse, and later, a teacher. She then used her background in health and education to champion forward-thinking female health initiatives as a dedicated volunteer. In her spare time, she could often be found painting, baking delicious cookies, or spending time with loved ones. Ervin had an impressive 40-year career at the Gypsum Company, working both in the store room and as a tester. He also made weekly deliveries to the Food Bank for many years. Gardening and reading were his favourite leisure activities. Together, Mary Ruth and Ervin enjoyed travelling through North America and leading a Cub Scouts group.

 

The Desire to Right-Size

Mary Ruth and Ervin’s 1.5-story home was the perfect size for raising a family and hosting company; however, as they grew older climbing the staircase became a burden and some rooms were left unused. It was time to consider moving to a more practical, one-story house. They considered moving to Wolfville or Bedford, Nova Scotia, but they couldn’t find a house or community that made them feel at home.

 

Finding a Home at The Crossing

For Mary Ruth and Ervin, The Crossing was placed in an ideal location. The Crossing is near a state-of-the-art hospital and major highway – making day trips to the Annapolis Valley or Halifax easy. They are from the area, and consider Windsor to be their hometown. Moving to The Crossing would allow them to stay connected with their local friends and involved with their church. Another huge draw to The Crossing was one-story living. A single-story home would make all their rooms and belongings easily accessible and would also require less cleaning and maintenance.

 

The Process of Downsizing

Once Mary Ruth and Ervin found their next home, there was only one problem – downsizing. Living in a home for over 50 years resulted in the accumulation of a lot of ‘stuff’. Before moving, they would have to give some away. Many people dread the process of downsizing, worrying that they will throw away valuable memories, or give away items that they will later miss. When asked about the process of downsizing, Mary Ruth and Ervin stated, “things are things”. They laughed and said that they haven’t missed any of the items they didn’t bring to The Crossing, and actually have continued to give many items away since moving to The Crossing. They simply haven’t missed things like they thought they would.

 

Designing the Perfect Home

Mary Ruth and Ervin enjoyed the home selection process at The Crossing, as they were able to select a floor plan and customize it to meet their needs. They added an extra window to their home and had an oak hardwood floor put in. The open concept design of their home allows Mary Ruth to chat with guests sitting in the living room as she puts final touches on food cooking in the kitchen. As nature lovers, Mary Ruth and Ervin enjoyed watching their beautiful yard evolve, as each home at The Crossing is beautifully landscaped.

 

At The Crossing, we understand that the needs and desires of each community member may change over time. After living in our community for a few years, Mary Ruth and Ervin decided they would like to add a sunroom to their home. The sunroom was added – completing their vision and enhancing their living experience. They also decided to change their maintenance plan. When they first joined us, they enjoyed taking care of their property. As time has passed, this has become more challenging and less enjoyable. They have opted to get their lawn mowed and are soon going to add gardening support to their maintenance package.

Joining a Community

For Mary Ruth and Ervin, one of the greatest benefits of living at The Crossing is the community spirit. Upon first arriving at The Crossing, Mary Ruth stated that the grounds crew became ‘part of the family’, and she frequently gave them freshly baked cookies when they were passing by her home.

“The people here help each other”, “last fall when we were getting our tires from our shed and placing them in our car, two different men who lived at The Crossing – who we hadn’t met before – stopped and offered their help”. Mary Ruth and Ervin now consider these individuals to be their friends. This wasn’t the only act of kindness they experienced at The Crossing, as their neighbor kindly offers to snow blow their driveway each winter. For Mary Ruth and Ervin, its enjoyable to be part of a community that helps each other. They speak kindly of the other community members, saying “everyone here seems really friendly”.

Another aspect of the community that they enjoy is the ambiance. “People keep the community looking very good – it makes it nice in here” they commented on the community members’ dedication to maintaining their individual properties. They also mentioned the generosity of The Crossing, as they have happily watched stunning Canada Day firework celebrations, and received a gift at Christmas in the past. They are excited about the new apple trees and high bush blueberries available to residents, and enjoy the great variety of vegetables in the community gardens.

 

Life Since Moving to The Crossing

A lot has changed for Mary Ruth and Ervin since they lived in their home in Gypsum Mines. They now have 8 wonderful grandchildren, and no longer lead a Cub Scouts group! One thing that hasn’t changed is their desire to stay active. Since moving to The Crossing, Mary Ruth has grown to love yoga and tai chi, which she practices just minutes away in the town of Windsor, and Ervin has enjoyed going for his ‘little walks’ in our community. Together, Mary Ruth and Ervin like to take short trips, such as going out for dinner at local restaurants. They are always trying to spread the word about The Crossing – and even admit to slipping some pamphlets in a Nova Scotia tourist bureau for other individuals to find!

The Crossing is certainly much different today than it was nine years ago, and we are so pleased to have had Mary Ruth and Ervin with us for each and every year.

We’ll be highlighting more members of our community on a regular basis – stay tuned!