To help us celebrate Intergenerational Awareness Month last month, we turned to the experts: Meadowood residents John and Joan Kratz, who may win the award for having the most grandchildren who are the closest to Meadowood. Their three sons, three daughters-in-law and six grandchildren all live within 12 miles of campus.
The couple has made countless memories with their grandchildren in just the five years they’ve lived here. Their six grandchildren range in age from one to 16. And there’s one on the way! “Our kids are still making children,” they joked.
Here are a few things their grandchildren love most about Meadowood:
- Sunday brunch. “That’s the impetus for our family coming and visiting us the first Sunday of every month,” says John. All the family members look forward to this mouthwatering feast, which features roast beef, salmon, vegetables, omelets, a waffle station with sumptuous toppings, a huge dessert table and more. “Since we all go to the same church, we usually have a set of our kids and grandkids back to Meadowood afterward,” he goes on. “There’s a big argument about whose turn it is.” In fact, John frequently expects a text during church. “My son would be sitting one row ahead, texting me, ‘Is it our turn? Are we going?’”
- Two pools. “We have fun in the big pool, and then we go in the exercise pool, have water fights and just float around in floating noodles,” says John.
- Wii Bowling. “My grandson would come and take part with me,” Joan says. “My friends loved it when he would come, and often he would be the high scorer.”
- Cooking lessons. Since their kitchen at Meadowood is spacious and well-equipped, Joan has plenty of room to teach the kids to cook. They have made a number of delicious recipes!
- Birthday parties in the courtyard. The courtyard of Spruce Run, where John and Joan live, provides a social atmosphere for gatherings, with shady umbrellas and fountains. “It’s easy, because everything is outside,” John says.
- After-school drop-off. “A school bus would come every day and leave our middle grandchild,” John says. “We would have him do his homework here until his mom and dad picked him up after work. On Thursdays, which was burger night, he especially didn’t want to go home.”
- Central Schwenkfelder Church. Right by the bocce court, a winding path leads to the church garden adjacent to Meadowood, where scripture verses are written on the rocks. “When the kids are learning how to read, they like to read scripture to us,” says Joan.
- Art appreciation. “When the oldest girls come, they always want to go down to the art room to see what I’m working on,” Joan says. “I show them the progress of my paintings, ceramics and other art projects.”
- The Lego Room. When their grandsons visit, the couple’s sunroom is known as the Lego Room. “They spread Legos all over the carpet and enjoy themselves,” John says. “We also have sleepovers there, on the large, comfortable, pullout couch.”
- The Meadowood playground. “The boys like to go up to the playground and slide down the slides and have pine-cone wars out there,” says John.
“At Meadowood, everything is geared toward the residents and, secondarily, the families of the residents,” says John. “The team members really bend over backward to be hospitable,” he continues. “The community embraces grandchildren with open arms.”