Jan began a new tradition after moving here with her husband, Steve, in 2013. Each year since then, on the afternoon of New Year’s Eve, she sits down at her computer and writes a letter to Jamie Wilcox, our builder.
These letters are part thank-you notes, part accounts of her year, and part personal reflections. The letters are personal, yet not private. She shares them with others and has given me permission to quote from them here. I like the way she expresses thoughts and experiences that many of us homeowners share.
So I asked Jan why she started the tradition by writing the first letter—though at the time she didn’t realize it would become a tradition. “It just seemed like the right thing to do,” she said. “There is too much negativity in the world, and this was something positive I could do. And people need to get feedback.”
Read consecutively, the letters show a progression as Jan and Steve have settled in to their new home and community. In her first email in 2013, she expressed gratitude at finally being here. This year she is still grateful to be here, but now she also understands why they are here.
excerpts from New Year’s Eve 2013:
Mr. Jamie Wilcox,
It was late October 2011 when we first came to Maples at the Sonatas and met Carol Lyons. We were ‘looking’, but at that time didn’t know just ‘what’ we were looking for. We traveled north, west, and northwest of our home in Mt. Prospect. Steve made spread sheets of the various homes we saw, and we took lots of pictures. We compared size, price, location, and options. We went back and forth.
It was September 6, 2012 when we finally sat down with Carol and signed a contract. Then the stress took over: get our home ready to put on the market; how soon would it sell; how soon would our new home be ready for us; so many decisions to make regarding carpeting, tile, cabinets, counter top color, and what options were right for us. It was with Carol’s help that we had a place to live after we closed on our home in Mt. Prospect before our home was ready for us here.
Renting a home within a half block from where our home was being built was a blessing! We began receiving emails of events that were happening at the Maples, and we felt the hospitality of the folks who live here.
When we closed on our home August 23, 2013, we were so excited! We are so happy we chose Maples at the Sonatas! It has been an interesting journey for us, and we’re grateful everything worked out for us to come here. We’d like to take this time to say ‘thank you.’
excerpts from New Year’s Eve 2014:
Mr. Jamie Wilcox,
It was so nice meeting you this year when you were out to our community. We’ve been in our home here for a little over a year, and words cannot express how happy we are living at Maples at the Sonatas. Living in a smaller community setting has given us the opportunity to be as active as we’d like, the ability to know our neighbors, and a feeling of belonging.
Our choice of the Promenade is just right for us. The options we chose: the walk-in shower, the enclosed covered porch, and the insulated garage with storage above, all were good choices for us. In fact, just having an attached garage is wonderful. Neither of us have ever lived in a home with an attached garage before.
Thank you and your whole company for taking a chance! For taking the risk to come to an Epcon Community that was struggling and bring your vision to life. I’m so glad that we also took the risk to choose to live here! I hope that you will always feel like our community here is part of your extended family.
the full letter from New Year’s Eve 2015:
Mr. Jamie Wilcox,
Well, it’s that time when one reflects on the past year. We’ve been in our home here for two and a half years now. I wish I could go back to when we were packing up our former home and tell myself “don’t pack that, you’ll never use it!” And of course on the other hand, I’d also tell that same self “don’t give that away, you’ll finally be able to put that to use!” As they say “hindsight it great.”
One of the things that both Steve and I are so amazed at, we know more of our neighbors here than we did when we lived in our former home. Even though we had been in our former home for over 41 years, because of the normal turnover of residents during the years and the changing circumstances of our own life, we really only knew the folks who lived on either side of us and the folks across the street.
Living in a community with a clubhouse to gather neighbors together has been amazing! It’s up to everyone to decide just how involved they want to be. We have been able to find out what activities fit into our life. We could be as active as we wanted. Because of our small community and knowing that if everyone does something it lessens the burnout factor, I offered to help with the monthly Coffee and Conversation and then joined the Social Committee. Steve was excited when the men started talking about meeting monthly for their time to share. (Since it’s only men, I’m not sure just what they talk about. I only know it’s good for the men who attend).
Living in a community like ours means we reach out when someone needs help, without intruding. You might say we have our own support system living right in our neighborhood. For those of us who have no family members living in the area, we fill that void for one another.
We are grateful for so many reasons: We are grateful for the friends we have made. We are so grateful for our landscapers who keep our grounds cleaned during all the various seasons, especially when winter storms come. We are grateful for our home being on one level. We are ever so grateful that we chose this community to call home.
We’d like to wish you and your family a safe, healthy, and wonderful 2016. We’d also like to wish the Wilcox Company a Happy New Year.
Jan and Steve