It’s been several years in the making, but Helen and Herb Cook are finally settled into their home at Masonic Village at Elizabethtown. As the couple glances out their sunroom window at the view from their cottage, they agree it was worth the wait.
For more than seven years, the Allentown natives knew they wanted to move to Masonic Village, just not yet.
They added their names to the Priority List eight years ago, which allowed them to prepare for the move at their own speed, as well as wait for the cottage they really wanted. They received multiple calls from the Sales and Marketing team with available options before choosing the one with an idyllic vantage point from the backyard.
“That’s the secret,” Helen said. “If I had to share one piece of advice with people, getting your name on this list is the secret. Just give an estimate when you’re ready to go.”
Helen’s other advice includes developing a good relationship and staying in contact with Sales and Marketing staff throughout the process. Anytime Helen or Herb had a question, Kelly Eakin, director of sales and marketing, was available to answer it, even after they moved to Masonic Village.
Not that their move was without challenges. They found getting rid of things to be a tremendous effort but were pleased to toss their landscaping equipment and snow blower. As soon as the Cooks knew they had their cottage, they started packing easy things and hired a moving company, Specialty Moves by Design, to assist. This made the process manageable and was well worth the expense.
Helen and Herb have been active with the Masonic fraternity for many years. Herb is a Mason (Jordan-Martin Lodge No. 6733/Lehigh Valley Day Lodge No. 813, The Valley of Allentown, Rajah Shrine and High 12, as well as other Masonic bodies), and Helen is a member of the Order of the Eastern Star (New Temple Chapter No. 298) and was secretary for C. DeForrest “Chuck” Trexler, a former Masonic Villages’ board member and current resident of Masonic Village at Elizabethtown. It wasn’t just that Masonic Village was founded by Masons, and they have friends from the fraternity here — it was the continuing care retirement community’s reputation which really sold them on a move.
“We always knew it was a first class care facility,” Herb said. “We wanted to limit any burden on our family, friends or fraternal brothers. We can stay here if our life deteriorates and don’t have to move again. If one of us needs additional care in the health care center, we can easily visit each other. It makes a lot of sense.
“After we joined the Priority List, I brought a woman here to look at the memory support unit for her husband. I was so impressed. My mother had Alzheimer’s, and her care facility was terrible in comparison. It was a good sign we were making the right decision.”
The Cooks moved to Masonic Village in June 2021. Other selling points for them included the woodshop and the pet-friendly policy. Herb still has his woodworking tools from high school and has made all their furniture, and membership in the Masonic Village Rooster’s Woodshop is definitely in his future. They also wanted to bring their two dogs, one of which has since passed away. While COVID-19 has made some socializing a challenge, the couple is slowly meeting their neighbors and hoping to meet more people throughout the campus.
“There’s a good support system here,” Helen said. “We feel like we have a sense a family. We take our dog for a walk to meet other people. In fact, we meet so many people, we can’t always remember names.”
Herb serves as Worshipful Master of his Masonic lodge (his fourth term), and Helen works part-time as an au pair coordinator for foreign exchange students. Thus far, they have joined the Masonic Village Dog Club and are looking forward to the Rhine River Cruise in October sponsored by the Travel Club and whatever else their future in their new neighborhood holds.
“I want to have a purpose that contributes to society locally or beyond,” Helen said. “And we don’t mind having fun.”
The Cooks have found more than just a home, and that’s no secret.