Moving Closer To The Kids

It was a tough move.

In 2016 Linda Gramatky Smith and her husband Ken sold their Roseville Road house. They’d lived there since 1993. And — from 1946 until she headed off to college — Linda grew up there.

It’s not just any house. Warm and comfortable, it’s got artistic bones. Her father, Hardie Gramatky, wrote and illustrated Little Toot, the beloved children’s classic, there. Andrew Wyeth called him one of America’s 20 greatest watercolorists.

The Smiths headed — a bit reluctantly — to New Jersey. They wanted to be closer to their widowed daughter, and her kids.

Two years later, all is well.

A story set for publication in Sunday’s New York Times real estate section — “The New Retirement: Near the Kids” — features Linda, Ken, and their new lives at the Cedar Crest Retirement Community in Pompton Plains.

Linda and Ken Smith, in their New Jersey home. (Photo/Stefano Ukmar for the New York Times)

 The article says:

In an uncannily prescient move, Mr. Smith, now 85, had put down a refundable deposit at Cedar Crest more than a decade ago, just in case they ever wanted to move there.

Living in one of these communities, of course, is not cheap. The Smiths paid an entrance fee of about $500,000, and their monthly rent is $4,500, which is not unusual, according to the AARP. The organization estimates that entrance fees typically range from $100,000 to $1 million, and monthly rents can be anywhere from $3,000 to $5,000.

For the Smiths, however, it was worth it. Ms. Smith, 75, was resistant at first about giving up their home, but did a “total 180,” she said, soon after moving in, not just because they were closer to their daughter and grandchildren, but because it had improved their quality of life.

She has returned to painting watercolors and is on the resident advisory council, and her husband sings in the chorale.

Linda and Ken’s many Westport friends will be heartened by the Times piece.

And, of course, New Jersey is not New Zealand. The Smiths return here often, for events and to see those friends.

One of their biggest concerns when they moved was that their house would be sold to someone who did not appreciate its history and livability.

It looks as good as ever.

60 Roseville Road — Ken and Linda Gramatky Smith’s beloved home.

3 responses to “Moving Closer To The Kids

  1. Linda D. Parker

    What a splendid post, Linda and Ken. So glad to hear you’re happy and well.

  2. Oh, Dan, Ken and I always read 06880 from our new home in NJ, so what a surprise to see your piece about the New York Times article last weekend in the Real Estate section. The reporter’s grandmother had moved closer to her daughter, so she pitched a story to her NYT article and somehow found we were an example of her premise. We’d just been out in Westport the day before (haircut at Effi’s, meeting with Kathie Bennewitz about my dad’s photograph collection at the Library, and seeing two former neighbors). So we still feel part of wonderful Westport.

    Only misinformation in the NYT article was that they called it an “entrance fee”. It’s really buying an apartment and we (or our heirs) will get 90% back when we leave.

    Thanks for not forgetting about us, wonderful Dan!