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Thankful for Our Residents

Like Americans everywhere, we’re thankful this holiday season to have food on our table, a roof over our heads, and clothes (especially the down-filled, fleece-lined kind) on our backs. But at Quarry Hill, we have another, special blessing to count. It’s the privilege of knowing and serving some of the most interesting people you could ever hope to meet—our residents.

Take Sallie Leighton, for example. Driven by a rambunctious intellect—her “monkey mind,” she calls it—Sallie worked as an airline stewardess and a  master gardener. In time, she became a scientist at the New England Institute for Medical Research, where she played a role in isolating co-enzyme Q, an anti-cancer compound now commonly used in skin-care products. These days, books, music, and liberal doses of Senior College keep her multitrack mind humming.

Consider Deane and Ginny Hutchins. For several years beginning in 1966, the couple and their four young daughters lived in Nigeria, where Deane, an epidemiologist for the Centers for Disease Control, helped spearhead a multinational campaign dedicated to  vaccinating people against smallpox. By 1968, Dr. Hutchins’ team had vaccinated a remarkable 14.5 million people—an accomplishment that soon led to the elimination of the dread disease, not just in Africa but worldwide.  

And then there’s Lydia “The Unstoppable” Lyman. At least that’s how we think of this no-nonsense dynamo who began her adult life as an Isadora Duncan–inspired dancer. One thing led to another (as has tended to happen in Lydia’s freeform existence), and she became field director for the Massachusetts Protestant Guild for the Blind. Eventually, she wound up on Mount Desert Island, of the coast of Maine, where she took possession of her family’s huge, 10-bedroom summer “cottage” and filled it with friends and relatives. (Oh, and she also launched a small grocery store and built four rental properties.)

Chaotic? “Lord love seven ducks, yes!” admits Lydia. “But it was fun.”

And how fun and inspirational it is for us to hear such stories and to know such people.

For that above all things, we give thanks.

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