Melrose In Their Own Words:Interview With Jo Roberts, Melrose Resident
Updated: Mar 2
Instead of us going on and on about how wonderful Melrose is, we decided to sit down with one of our residents to talk about life here (among other things). Jo Roberts has been a Melrose resident since April 2017, and she’s become a bright, shining light in our community. Here’s Jo’s story, in her own words.
Why did you decide to move into a senior community, and what specifically drew you to Melrose Meadows?
My husband and I lived in Johnson County on a farm. We loved the land, but as we grew older, we decided we couldn’t handle another winter – particularly since our lane could only be cleared by a tractor. We would drive by Melrose on our various errands around town, and we always liked the looks of it. After touring, we decided it was the place for us.
What does a typical day look like for you?
It depends on the day. A typical Tuesday might include a fitness class, which is doable but still very active. Then, I might attend a presentation by the University Museum of Art, which is always well-done and informative. Later in the day is Bookworms group, which is dedicated to reading and discussion of books. Discussions are interesting even if one hasn’t read the book! Finally, I attend Melrose Melody Makers choir rehearsal.
On a typical Wednesday, I might go to Writer’s Corner and share something I’ve written or that I simply like, and later head to Pins and Needles group to work on knitting my current project. Right now, I’m working on a baby blanket.
What are some of your favorite things about living at Melrose?
I’m an Independent Living resident, and I love being able to have my own apartment and live as independently as possible. It’s nice to have a community with so much to do, but it’s also nice to have my own place to retreat to.
What was your life like before you moved to Melrose?
Both my husband and I were teachers. I taught kindergarten until I became a mother. My husband was always looking for more challenging jobs and eventually became an administrator in education. We moved often in order for him to pursue new jobs – each one which was better for him and our family. A remarkable move in late summer of 1966 when we moved to Jewel, IA, where he became school superintendent of a reorganized school district made up of four communities. We moved into a 15 room house while I was pregnant with our fourth child. We’ve had a full life filled with many blessings!
What is one of your favorite parts about living at Melrose?
I really love participating in singalongs and in the Melody Makers chorus. We have two very strong leaders, (residents) Jan Stratton and Colleen Henderson, who can play any song in any key and transpose without a struggle. These women are the force and power that keep Melrose Melody Makers going while making it as fun as possible.
Is there anything you would like potential residents to know about Melrose?
Melrose is a pleasant, attractive, home-like place to live. We are well-cared for, and the staff is so attentive to our needs. They’re patient, considerate and almost like our family now. I also love all the activities that take place here. They’re all well-planned, interesting and FUN!
Anything else you'd like to share?
In order to get the most out of your time at a retirement community, I have found it best to be a participant. It is a small democracy, and needs everyone to take part with good humor and kindness to all (even those who fret and complain frequently). Take part in everything you can, or you’ll miss out on a great time!