Harriet Clifton and Harriet Helsher, residents of Briarwood at St. John’s Meadows, have a lot more in common than their name.
The very first day Harriet Helsher lived at St. John’s, she met Harriet Clifton, a four-year resident, in the Meadows Market and Café. That was a year ago, and since then the women have become great friends. Says Harriet Helsher, “the more we talked together, the more we found out we had an awful lot in common.” Both women are one of three children and they are both great-grandmothers. Harriet Clifton adds, “we can still talk about things until late into the night. Sometimes we don’t even get to bed until midnight!”
Known by staff as The Two Harriets, HarrietSquared, and Harriet 1 and Harriet 2, they can be found taking part in many Meadows activities together. Their common interests include chair exercise class, the Crafty Ladies volunteer group, dominos, shopping outings, and their favorite, Scrabble. They also eat together at the Briarwood Dining Room most evenings. Other friends join them from the neighboring Chestnut Court, creating a network that keeps them on a tight social schedule most days. Says Harriet Helsher, “all these games are great because of the people we play with. They’re very friendly. We all get along.”
Both ladies had been widowed before coming to St. John’s and were finding home ownership and upkeep increasingly a burden. “I cared for my husband for over five years. After he passed on, my whole body seemed to fall down and my daughter was afraid I was living alone and shouldn’t. Her husband had an aunt who had lived here and loved it, so she asked me just take a look,” says Harriet Helsher. Within two months, she was moved in. Harriet Clifton said it took her about the same amount of time to make the move to St. John’s Meadows. “I had been a widow for eight years. I wasn’t unhappy, but I am much happier here.”
Adds Harriet Helsher, “I wasn’t too anxious in the beginning, but once I got here, I knew this is the place I should be. Don’t argue with your kids. Just take it in stride. Now they don’t worry about us at all. They don’t have to.”
Says Harriet Clifton, “It is great to find someone you just hit it off with right away. You’re friendly with a lot of people, but it’s special if you feel close to someone.”