Great Neighbors

By Guest Contributor December 15, 2008 12:19

By Cynthia Stratton

What makes a great neighborhood?  Great neighbors, of course.  Chuck and Camilla Peterson of Sonora Hills know they have both.  The active couple, both in their early 80s and married for 58 years, has lived in this close-knit retirement community since 1993.  They consider themselves fortunate to have made “many wonderful, wonderful friends” throughout the years here.  The Petersons, together with many of their neighbors, are involved in numerous social activities and volunteer projects and they believe this contributes in large part to making it “a great neighborhood to live in.”

Chuck, a retired newspaper editor and public relations man, edits a monthly community magazine.  Camilla co-manages The Book Nook, the Friends of the Library’s used book store in the lobby of the main county library in Sonora.  Chuck and his friend Dow Watkins manage a recycling program that benefits the Sonora Hills Social Club, while Camilla sings in and is music librarian for a choral group.  An avid reader, she belongs to three book clubs.

Many in their neighborhood volunteer at Sonora Regional Medical Center, which is just across Greenley Road from Sonora Hills.  Concern for health matters is also reflected in the Homeowners Association decision to purchase an automatic defibrillator for the community clubhouse, for use in a cardiac emergency.

“Someone recognized a potential need, we studied the matter and then voted to go ahead,” explains Camilla, who was secretary of the Homeowners Board when the decision was made.  “Joining in and being involved enables neighbors to get to know one another, and it gets results.”

A few years ago, Camilla and a retired nurse who lives across the street, helped care for a neighbor and dear friend who fell terminally ill not long after her husband died of a heart attack.  “It’s a fact that living in this retirement community, people are going to get ill and people are going to lose their spouses.  We have to look out for each other.”

Many widows and a few widowers live in the neighborhood.  It can be a difficult and lonely adjustment after long years of marriage.  Camilla believes that neighborhood friendliness and camaraderie often helps ease the transition.  New friendships may evolve into long-term relationships – sometimes even marriage.   “Everyone is happy to see that,” Camilla says.

© 2008, Friends and Neighbors Magazine

By Guest Contributor December 15, 2008 12:19
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