As Bethany Village celebrates its 50th Anniversary this fall, we’d like to introduce Tom and Penny Coganto. We invited Tom to write this reflection on how they came to be the second generation of this family to call Bethany Village home.
John & Margaret Stuckey, Penny’s mother and father, were among the first residents of Bethany’s West Campus when it was built in 2004. This past winter, Tom and Penny moved to a West Cottage of their own. At our request, Tom wrote the following reflection on how they came to be the second generation of this family at Bethany Village.
Penny’s parents made the decision to move to Bethany Village when the West Campus was just an empty field and architectural drawings. Their motivation was similar to many Bethany Village residents: They did not want to pass a burden of their potential future care to their children and they wanted control over where they would rehabilitate in the event of a hospital stay.
Whenever Penny and I visited, our trip always included a ride over to Wesley Drive to see if construction had begun. The day we first saw activity, we were as excited as they were. It’s important to note that Penny’s Dad had lived in their home on Front Street in Wormleysburg for his entire life, more than 80 years. Mom had lived there since they were wed in 1940.
Because they bought pre-construction, it gave them over two years to get there affairs in order – namely figuring out what to do with 80 years of accumulations. During Easter of 2004, Penny and I drove from Connecticut to help them move to their first “new” home. They were thrilled.
We continued to come down several times a year and it was apparent that they were really enjoying the social interaction at Bethany Village. As we continued to visit and see the beauty of the community, we would tell our friends that it was like living in a 5-star hotel. We still feel that way today.
Penny and I initially said we would move to Bethany in our mid-70s and added our names to the waiting list; however, as we entered retirement we quickly realized that we didn’t want to be tied to a house any longer. We spend our winters in Florida and coming home to chores at home wasn’t to our liking. At the end of our second year of retirement we called the marketing office and told them we were ready to move the next year.
We then began the process Penny’s parents had gone through, getting rid of all the excess we had accumulated over the years. We hired a firm to organize an estate sale for us, which got rid of about half of our belongings. The rest we donated to charitable organizations who were happy to receive them.
The winter of 2014 we left for Florida with a list date for our Connecticut home of April 1st, three weeks before we would return. As fate would have it, Bethany Village called us on April 1st with the news that the West Cottage we wanted was available. Our home in Connecticut sold in two weeks and during the time from contract to closing, the marketing and maintenance departments here at Bethany performed miracles. Our new home was complete and ready for us when we arrived on June 26th of this year.
Having visited Bethany Village many times over the years made for an easy transition. Penny has many school friends still living in the area and two of our six children are relatively close by. Since being here, Penny has enjoyed seeing her mom almost every day and being able to bring her along shopping, out to dinner and on visits with our daughter in Carlisle.
We love being here. Our neighbors brought us baked goods and invited us over to visit. We are busy exploring the numerous clubs and programs available to us. We’re busy registering cars, finding new doctors and figuring out the lay of the land in a new state, but everyone at the community goes out of their way to help us.
We look forward to being as involved as we want to be in whatever we want to do. On August 22nd, Penny and I celebrated our 27th wedding anniversary – and we can’t wait to see how our future unfolds at Bethany Village.