I’m fortunate to be living where I am

I opened my daily paper earlier this month to read all the grief about Edgemere. I knew people years ago who lived there, and were so happy there. But that was MANY years ago, and those people later left not just that community, but their earthly lives as well. I’m not sure that this is quite the right thing to say, but — maybe since they passed away before any of this current revelation of such difficulties, it was a kindness to them…

That couple, husband and wife, were much older than I was then — probably just about the age I am now — but too soon for either Legacy, which hadn’t even been opened yet. I am in wonderment that these two outstanding places, both such fine facilities, were built BY our Jewish community here in the Dallas area, but not just FOR our Jewish community. Both of them house residents who are not Jewish, but who partake heartily of our customs, holidays, ceremonies. And theirs are not neglected, either! We who are Jewish relish taking part in their welcome celebrations as well.

The Legacy Willow Bend and The Legacy Midtown Park stand as tributes to the open minds that years ago conceived this interfaith model of joint cooperation and enjoyment, and set them in motion so we who live in them today can breathe in the relaxed, uplifting spirit that always hangs in the air surrounding us.

Perhaps you read among the Dallas Morning News’ “Letters to the Editor” a recent one from someone who also lives here at The Legacy Midtown Park, where I am fortunate to reside. She, a non-Jew, wrote in public praise of “My Jewish Friends”! Interfaith experiences here have been as warmly welcomed as the chicken soup with matzo balls that are on every Friday evening’s dinner menu.

Not every Jewish resident here requires a certified kosher menu, but those who wish it receive what they must have for personal comfort at every meal, guaranteed by our full-time kashrut supervisor. And no “forbidden” foods are ever on the ever-changing menus; turkey “bacon” seems quite satisfactory. Also: every Friday evening, just before dinner, Shabbat is welcomed with a public candlelighting and recitation of the blessing, followed by sips of sacramental wine — a custom that is always resident-led but open for all to participate in, regardless of religion, or none.

A bit more about that couple who lived so long ago in Edgemere: They invited me in to see their apartment, and I especially admired their beautiful kitchen. But when I commented that “Mrs. Resident” must really be enjoying it, she shrugged and said — with what struck me as more than a tiny bit of embarrassment — “I haven’t cooked one thing since we’ve been here. The food is just so good…” And now, all these years later, I can echo her: A lovely compact kitchen graces one end of my long, large fifth-floor apartment, but I haven’t used it yet — except to rewarm the leftovers I’ve often brought upstairs from a super-satisfying meal in the main dining room on the first floor, or a smaller, more casual one in the friendly pub, where coffee and cookies are readily available all day in addition to scheduled breakfasts, lunches and more informal dinners…

Well — believe it or not — after you’ve read all this: I do assure you I am not on the sales staff or a writer paid to “advertise” our Legacies (both of them) in any way. But I am enthusiastic enough about my new home to advise other seniors who are ready to move from long-time houses (or a condo, as I did) to a fully-equipped apartment that offers weekly housekeeping in addition to so much else. So be sure to check out a Legacy when you’re starting your own search for a retirement home. Knowing who planned it, who runs it, who believes in it, you can be sure it will make you comfortable for the rest of your own lifetime — no matter how long that may be!

Harriet Gross can be reached at

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