Resident Stories

We are blessed to be caring for and supporting the greatest generation of American pioneers and heroes. Please enjoy the resident stories we have below and then reach out to us to schedule a personal tour of our award-winning community.

Jim & Janet Hammer - Forged in the Navy

Growing up in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Janet Hammer was a typical girl. She went to high school, she did well in her classes, and she took a test with the US Navy to work at the Pentagon.

Wait, what?

Yep, young Janet had bigger designs than most kids her age, and along with a girlfriend took the federal exam. A week later she got a job there and as fate would have it, living in the Virginia/Washington D.C. area also introduced her to her husband Jim, a Navy man himself.

“I went into the Army in 1953 and then joined the Navy in 1954,” Jim remembers. “I met my wife in Washington D.C. and we’ve been married for 61 years.”

Jim spent time as a quartermaster aboard a ship in the Navy. When he wasn’t out on the water, he and Janet started a family, eventually moving back to Redding, Pennsylvania, about half an hour from his hometown of Lebanon.

The pair had five children, and despite her impressive resume at the start of her working days, Janet “retired” to be a stay-at-home mom.

“I didn’t go back to work until our youngest girl was in first grade, and then I just worked 10-3 every day so I could be home with the children,” she says.

But when her youngest graduated from high school, Janet did the complete opposite of what most people would do - she went back to school to start an entirely new career.

“Our youngest graduated high school in 1982, and that July I started nursing school and became an LPN,” she says. “I always wanted to be a nurse and I graduated in 1983.”

The couple had family in Florida and wound up moving there, where Janet started her nursing career. They stayed in Florida for 15 years before moving back to Redding. By 2014, Jim was having some health concerns, trouble with his legs, and when he went to rehab, the staff suggested the pair began looking for an assisted living facility.

“One of the staff members suggested Rittenhouse Village at Muhlenberg, and a lady from there came out to our house. We decided it was the best move for us to make,” Janet says.

Making their decisions together and supporting each other has been the most vital component of Jim and Janet’s marriage. They have not had it easy; three of their five children have passed away as adults, the last in 2014.

“After 61 years together, you better get along well,” Jim jokes. “We don’t complain much. Things are good here, and I’m not just saying it.The thing that we don’t do is be influenced by what other people tell us, and we never will. Some people gripe, but we know that everything can’t be perfect 100% of the time.”

The couple make sure to spend plenty of time outside of their apartment to stay busy and keep living their lives.

“We’re off to Bingo in about 15 minutes, and yesterday we had root beer floats prepared for us,” Jim says. “We don’t stay in our room much, we have tablets and we use the WiFi to play games. There’s lots of entertainment that comes in the dining room when we go down, and we just keep being us, and we just get along.”

Richard Rogers - Red Sox Fan For Life

Richard Rogers was an energetic 13-year-old who scored tickets to a Boston Red Sox game on July 25,1941. He had no idea of knowing it would be the last “real” baseball season for a few years. Pearl Harbor, the sneak attack that would see most current Major Leaguer Baseball players drafted, was still four months away. The Sox were in third place, a few games above .500 but already 15 games behind those damned New York Yankees.

Nevertheless, it was a glorious day to be at Fenway Park. Lefty Grove was on the hill, and although his career was winding down, the future Hall of Famer would end up winning his 300th game that day, as the Sox beat the Cleveland Indians 12-6. Although he didn’t know it at the time, Rogers was seeing one of the greatest collections of talent to ever take the field together: Five of the Red Sox starting nine would wind up in the Hall of Fame, along with Cleveland’s Lou Boudreau.

Rogers’ love affair with the Red Sox runs deep. He lived in Boston for 55 years and worked for 47 years for Woolworth’ , one of the original pioneers of the five-and-dime concept stores.

He started off as an employee and soon became the manager of one in Boston. Since the retail store also started offering a lunch counter, Rogers began getting familiar with legions of Bostonians as they walked their way to work, including the greatest Red Sox player of them all.

“One day the door opens and Ted Williams comes in,” Rogers remembers. “He came a couple of times to my store and would just sit down for lunch or a cup of coffee. He was very nice, had a very charming personality.”

For those unfamiliar with baseball, having Williams at your lunch counter would be a bit like if you loved rock’n’roll and Elvis Presley swiveled his hips into your shop one day. Despite missing close to five complete seasons due to military service in World War II and the Korean War, Williams is generally regarded as the greatest hitter of all-time.

Now 88, Rogers’ love of the Sox has never abated. He still holds season tickets at Fenway.

“I have a season ticket contract with the Red Sox,” Rogers says. “This is my 51st year coming up and I already have the schedule for 2018. There’s only nine people who have had tickets as long as me. I’ve got a set of four in the front row on the third-base side.”

Baseball and business and family defined Rogers’ early years. But eventually he and his wife moved to Pennsylvania to be closer to family. His wife got sick and passed away in 2009 after the couple had spent 60 years together. Their family swelled to two children, then six grandchildren, and a great-grandson is expected to arrive this June.

When his own health started to decline, Rogers and his family decided that an assisted living facility would be the best choice, and about 15 months ago he made the move to Rittenhouse Village at Muhlenberg.

“It’s been great. I just came back from a lunch of chicken breast and California vegetables and mashed potatoes,” Rogers says. “I have a close friend who lives across the hall and I’ve made friends with a lot of the residents.”

He’s done more than that.

Last year, Rogers began considering what happens to residents who aren’t able to write their own holiday cards to loved ones due to their physical conditions. He started gathering names and addresses of his fellow residents’ loved ones. And then he started addressing notes, letters, and Christmas cards to those relatives. He wrote 183 Christmas cards in all, earning a write-up in the local newspaper.

“I just like doing things for those who can’t. I still have the capacity to do so, so that’s what I’m going to do.”