If you’re a well brought up young lady who, at age 17, disobeys her father and takes flying lessons…how do you top that in later life? Try this: celebrate your 75th birthday with your first sky dive over Gardiner! That’s what Maggie MacDowell did. She explains that she watched the sky divers sail over her house for about 10 years, so was excited when her opportunity came and she met her instructor, “a handsome dude who clearly had much to live for so everything was going to be ok.” And it was, even though she forgot to spread her arms while in free fall. But she had a nice soft landing in a tandem jump with her dive master, Geoff.
In 2009, Maggie engaged in another adventure—moving into an apartment at Woodland Pond, the newly-created retirement community located in New Paltz. She says that a major advantage to having a retirement community so nearby is that she hasn’t really left Gardiner. She has only “partially” left. Maggie did not consider any other retirement community.
Very recently she relinquished her real estate broker’s license after 31 years, but continues her intense interest in crafts-weaving, spinning, quilting, felting, etc. She is presently weaving a dog leash! At one time she was shepherdess to 50 ewes and a ram. This was her introduction to shearing and wool. Now she has Gillie, a Bichon Frise who bears an interesting resemblance to a lamb, and is just as skittish but very loving.
When asked how she feels about living with a lot of old folks Maggie laughed and says she “hangs out a lot with youngsters, those kids who are still in their 70s,” that chronological age doesn’t matter as there are so many interesting people from whom to learn and enjoy. She and Gillie have a ground-level apartment facilitating access to the lawn adjacent to her screened porch. Maggie is chairman of the garden committee, keeping her tied to the earth. She describes Woodland Pond as a “small village” and with a “fabulous support system.” She knows most of the residents at least by name. To further “keep out of trouble” she swims every week in the heated pool, sings with the Pondaliers (Woodland Pond’s choral group), attends a weekly Qigong class, attends many of the movies provided for residents, has learned some Euro-dancing, takes advantage of the Woodland Pond Library, is a member of a committee called Decor Design, is in a knitting group, attends lectures, and is newly involved in taking a memoir writing class. A very full life and “no boredom allowed.”
And who wouldn’t mind not having to rake leaves and shovel snow?