A story of love and laughter at American House Coconut Point.
Spend a few minutes with Geri and John and you’ll think they’ve known each other far longer than just over two years. They finish each other’s sentences, correct the facts, and between inside jokes and lots of laughs, it’s enjoyable being around this charming couple. John had lived at American House Coconut Point for about a year when Geri arrived in 2021. One night at dinner, they bonded over a mutual favorite pastime. Approaching John’s table, Geri said, “Oh you’re Jim, the bridge player.” John remembers playfully correcting the name. “And that’s when I found out Midwestern girls are forward,” he says, wrapping up the story, setting off peals of laughter from Geri. She catches her breath, and with a blush says, “He just makes me laugh, I can’t help it.”
Their joy in being around each other is obvious. How wonderful for 92-year-old Geri, after losing her husband of 70 years, to find a friend and confidante in her community. John, who is 86, jokes, “Her friends call her a cougar!” to which Geri rewards him with giggles. If John’s made it a personal goal to make Geri smile, he’s doing a great job. He too was married for many years and appears elated with his new best friend. “Somehow the world brought us together,” said John. Bridge played a big role. That, and movies; they often sit together at movie night. Though John says he’s teaching her how to play bridge, Geri counters “I’ve been playing bridge since 1951 and he thinks he can still teach me!” Though she smiles every time she sees the note he put under her television with the current bridge conventions.
Geri was drawn to John’s sense of humor. “That is very important to me,” she said. “He’s also a very nice man and is someone my children would approve of. . . and they do!” To which John quickly adds, “Even her grandchildren do!”
The topic of marriage is simply shrugged off; they are happy as they are. When they’re not busy in the community playing Bridge or watching movies, they spend time with their kids. Recently Geri’s daughter and son-in-law organized a cruise with them, and they’re planning another in May. There is also a Valentine’s trip to one of Georgia’s coastal islands on Geri and John’s calendar.
Traveling comes naturally to the couple. Geri, whose husband moved with his job, has been to all 50 states and over 20 countries. John was an avid skier and has hit the slopes in the Alps. Now, they love their life at American House Coconut Point with Zumba classes, shopping trips, casino visits and outings like the Royal Palms dinner theater.
Geri and John talk all the time, about everything. Even their differences make great conversation. A native New Yorker, John’s Yonkers high school had a couple thousand kids in his graduating class. In comparison, Geri’s small Wisconsin high school had a class of 56. “Our stories are very different,” said Geri. “I talk about knowing everyone in town, and half of them are my relatives.” John adds, “It’s very interesting to hear how she lived and how she was raised.”
Asked if they have any advice to offer young couples, Geri says, “Marry your best friend; somebody you know you can spend time with and enjoy.” To this, John adds, “If you’re best friends, then everything else clicks together.”
Its obvious things are clicking with this couple. Happy Valentine’s Day, Geri and John!
We all have a story. A story that taught us something, changed us and helped define who we are. At American House, your next chapter is waiting to be written. We’re here to help you write it. Your way.
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