Real Life Stories: Cedar Springs PARC, Mary Jean

in Life at PARC

Written by PARC Retirement Living

Resident profile

Resident: Mary Jean
Years at Cedar Springs: 1
Previous occupation: Elementary school teacher
Claim to fame: Singing
Studied in: Italy
On adjusting to life at Cedar Springs PARC: “I just plunked myself into the pond and started swimming.”
Still believes in: The art of letter writing
Words to live by: “Pay it forward.”

Mary Jean has only been a Cedar Springs PARC resident for one year, but she’s already experiencing the many benefits of living in a vibrant community of like-minded people.

“It’s far more social here. I used to live in a condo, and a lot of people were away during the day. But here, you can come down and have a cup of coffee any time and there’s always somebody around,” she says.

These days, Mary Jean is more than happy to leave the cooking to the culinary team in the Cedar Springs PARC dining room. She’ll often invite friends and family over for meals, happy to not worry about cooking and cleaning up. When she’s not enjoying the delicious meals created by Chef Josef, you’ll likely find Mary Jean penning a good, old-fashioned letter or singing in the music room on the amenities floor.

Music is something that Mary Jean has been passionate about since she was a child, even going to Italy and studying music in her teens. As a recitalist, Mary Jean has sang in choirs and has performed solos and in oratorios. Since moving to Cedar Springs PARC, Mary Jean has already put on a musical performance for fellow residents, with another performance planned for later this year. Her passion for music has always been supported and encouraged by her parents: “My mother had a beautiful contralto voice. My dad couldn’t carry a tune but he could whistle beautifully.”

Read on to catch a glimpse of Mary Jean’s day at Cedar Springs PARC.

A day in the life of Mary Jean

Cedar Springs PARC resident Mary Jean writing a letter

“I have an honorary granddaughter who lives in Hong Kong. She and I write all the time. She’s very close to me. I think my friends and family would like me to be able to text, but I have a flip phone and I only use it to get a taxi or call my friends.”

Cedar Springs PARC Resident Mary-Jean and her cat Diva

“My cat Diva is my company. She has been totally different here than when we lived in the condo where there was a lot of noise and traffic. She would run and hide. When we moved here, it was like a light bulb went on. She goes from window to window, and has a place to stand at every window. She loves the birds and the trees. She’s a much happier cat.”

Cedar Springs PARC resident Mary Jean and her pianist Lorraine

“I’m not somebody that steals the limelight, but I feel confident when I sing and perform. I enjoy the experience, and I enjoy working with my pianist and friend, Lorraine.”

Cedar Springs PARC resident Mary Jean singing

“My mother had a beautiful contralto voice. Our love for music was encouraged and supported.”

On the songs she likes to sing: “I have some old favourites like ‘Brown Bird Singing.’ Then I have my classical things which I balance with very old hymns that aren’t even in the old hymn books anymore, but are things that people here remember.”

Seeing is believing

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