Finding love again at Wind Crest | #seniorliving | #elderly | #seniors
A relationship blooms during a community dance
In June 2007, when Norm Fox and his wife, Sandie, moved into Wind Crest, a senior living community managed by Erickson Living in Douglas County, they were the third residents to settle into their new home on campus. Norm says that one reason they moved to Wind Crest was so that if something happened to Norm, Sandie wouldn’t be alone. What they didn’t expect was that Sandie would unexpectedly pass away four months later.
Norm had been involved in a ton of activities. But after Sandie passed, he kept himself especially busy. He started clubs, worked with the Wind Crest TV station, and three or four times a week took residents on walks along the High Line Canal Trail, which runs through the Wind Crest campus.
“I was still struggling with being a widower,” says Norm. “I hadn’t found myself yet.”
In the meantime, Fran, who had been married for 56 years, lost her husband in 2006. She had a friend who lived at Wind Crest, and when the friend would leave to go visit her sister, Fran would stay in her apartment.
The first time Norm and Fran met was when Fran went to the Marketplace to get coffee, as her friend didn’t drink it and had none in her apartment. Coffee was $1, and Fran had 95 cents. “I went to the front desk to borrow a nickel, and Norm was standing [there]. So he lent me a nickel, and I got the dollar to get the coffee,” says Fran. They kept running into each other in the lobby, and while Fran thought Norm was cute, she found out he was married. So that, she thought, was that.
When Norm was first a widower, a friend sent him a letter with a piece that talked about what to say when people ask a person who’s grieving, “What can I do?” One line in particular resonated with Norm: “I don’t know what you can do, but don’t stop asking.”
Fran had moved to Wind Crest by now, and she belonged to some dance clubs, but had no partner. She asked Norm to come with her, and he would say, “No, but don’t stop asking.”
Because Fran didn’t know about this letter, she had no idea what he was trying to say to her. “That’s what confused the heck out of me,” she says. Luckily for Norm, she kept asking, and he finally accepted her invite to a western dance.
“The caller said ‘All men turn right.’ And he turned left,” recalls Fran. That’s what endeared him to her. “I thought, ‘This is my guy. We can get along just fine because we don’t know which is right and left.”
The next day, Norm put flowers on a lounge chair outside of Fran’s patio apartment. Their courting had officially begun.
In February, Norm and Fran got balloons to release in memory of their late spouses. After they released the balloons and were watching them fly away, Fran turned to Norm and said, “Mr. Fox, I think I’m in love with you.” Norm responded with, “I don’t know what to say.” A month later, Norm was off on a planned trip, traveling by car to visit family and friends across the United States. At special places, he distributed some of Sandie’s ashes. He returned to Wind Crest in May, and after he got back from what he calls his “therapy trip,” he and Fran became serious.
Norm and Fran got married in 2010. They planned their wedding while on a RV trip together traveling throughout the country. Held at the War Memorial Rose Garden in Littleton, the lovebirds wed surrounded by family, friends, and hundreds of roses.
Until 2017, the couple often traveled with their RV, visiting every state except Hawaii several times as well as all the Canadian provinces.
Although they’ve sold their trailer and no longer take long journeys, they still love spending time together.
“I came to [Wind Crest] to have a good time—just having fun during this part of my life, and then Norm happened,” says Fran. “He’s fun. He loves life, and it makes living exciting.”
If you’d like to learn more about making meaningful connections at Wind Crest, call 1-800-710-2374 or request more information today.
About Wind Crest: Wind Crest, one of 20 continuing care retirement communities managed by Erickson Living, is situated on a scenic 84-acre campus in Highlands Ranch, Colorado. The not-for-profit community of more than 1,400 residents and 800 employees is governed by its own board of directors, affiliated with National Senior Campuses, who provide independent financial and operational oversight of the community. Additional information can be found at www.WindCrest.com.
Written by Michele Wojciechowski