Joseph Groner does not forget a pretty face. A resident of Sedgebrook, a retirement community in Lincolnshire, Joe was having coffee in the lounge recently when he noticed a woman he’d seen before. “I knew I knew her,” said the 90-year-old WWII veteran. “It was driving me goofy.” When he finally worked up the nerve to ask her name, he didn’t recognize it. “Then I realized I should have asked her maiden name, so I went back over to her.” The answer she gave took Joe back 72 years, to Chicago’s Tuley High School in 1942. The “stunning beauty” he recognized had been his younger brother’s prom date. She's still a very beautiful lady," said Joe, who plans to show her a photo of her with his late brother at the prom the next time he sees her.
If stumbling upon even one person from so long ago weren’t remarkable enough, Joe has found others in the Sedgebrook community from his youth. “I saw another woman who looked familiar, and when I asked her where she lived as a child, it turns out she grew up a block away from me!” said Joe, who can also rattle off the names of fellow residents who went to his high school. One, a man named Donald Sherman, Joe spotted in the hallway at Sedgebrook. “I have known Don since we were boys.” Another woman had that “Tuley” look, according to Joe. “Sure enough, that’s where she went to school.” Other familiar faces at Sedgebrook are fellow members of the Jewish War Veterans Post. A former medic on a hospital ship during World War II, Joe volunteers at the Veterans Administration Hospital in North Chicago at least once a month with his wife of 57 years, Suzanne.
“The whole picture surprises me,” said the former Northbrook resident who moved with Suzanne to Sedgebrook six months ago. (Incidentally, one of Suzanne’s friends at Sedgebrook is a woman she played cards with 50 years ago.) “How would I remember these people after all these years?” Conceding that he has a good memory for faces, Joe recalls the time he spotted a former Army officer in a local restaurant. “I kept staring and staring at this man. Turns out he was my first sergeant in basic training. When I approached him, he told me that no one had referred to him as ‘sergeant’ in over 60 years.” What may be even more surprising is that Joe was aware of only three people living in the picturesque Sedgebrook community before he and Suzanne moved in. “It’s such a warm, friendly place, it seems everyone is your friend. There’s not a person here who is cold or indifferent,” said Joe. “But it’s nice to have all these faces from the past that I still see every day. It really is a small world, and that makes me feel very good.”
Sedgebrook is a continuing care retirement community (CCRC) offering a diverse lifestyle, maintenance-free living and outstanding amenities. Five-star rated Radford Green Health Care and Rehabilitation is located on the 92-acre Sedgebrook campus in Lincolnshire, Illinois. Sedgebrook is owned by Senior Care Development LLC and managed by Life Care Services LLC. For additional information visit www.WelcomeToSedgebrook.com or call 847-901-3319.