Good Friends Make GREAT Neighbors

Home to the most revered movers and shakers, not to mention the most beloved Grandmas and Granddads, Garlands members know a thing or two about the value of relationships. Over the last two decades, The Garlands has fostered a world-class retirement lifestyle filled with ample opportunities for good neighbors to make great friends.

The Garlands Greatest Perk!

With so much to see and do and learn about The Garlands, one can easily forget to get to know more about perhaps our greatest asset of all – the neighbors! Garlands members come from far and near and a variety of life backgrounds and stories. Let us introduce you to a few of them here!

Meet The Garlands Members

A Matter of Character

When Garlands Charter member, Len Wicklund, a principal with the Chicago architectural firm O’Donnell Wicklund Pigozzi Peterson, looked at the blueprints for The Garlands, he saw character. Twenty years later he recalls, “I knew from the early phases that it was going to be a pleasant place.” “But the landscaping,” he smiles, “now that was… Continue Reading A Matter of Character

Love at First Sight

Charter Garlands member, Kay Reich, and her late husband, Gil, fell in love at first sight . . . with The Garlands.  “We loved it so much, we signed up the first day,” recalls Kay. “The architecture and interior décor had a warmth and simplicity that we felt was very comfortable to live with.”  Having… Continue Reading Love at First Sight

Limitless Opportunities with NEW Limited Edition Two-Bedroom Homes

Garlands member Darlene Plocinski’s new Limited Edition home features the “best of both worlds” – treasured pieces from prior homes and fresh new selections she chose with her daughter. The Fine Art of Retirement®… The Garlands new Limited Edition, transitional style homes balance up-to-date motifs in a timeless design that offers a seamless backdrop for… Continue Reading Limitless Opportunities with NEW Limited Edition Two-Bedroom Homes

Sisters Out on the Town – Travel Club

Garlands Travel Club members had the opportunity to admire the work of one of their own while cruising Chicago’s famed architecture.  Garlands member, Sally Nutini (pictured above left)and her husband’s construction company, North Products, were behind a significant amount of high-end, custom skylights and doors created and installed in landmark buildings throughout the greater Chicago… Continue Reading Sisters Out on the Town – Travel Club

Laughing and Singing with The Garlands Play Readers

This fall, The Garlands Play Readers, a troupe of ten-plus thespians, all of whom are over the age of 75 and live at the Barrington retirement community, delighted packed audiences at two performances of their original variety show, “Laugh and Sing.”   Filled with songs made famous by the likes of Doris Day, Bing Crosby,… Continue Reading Laughing and Singing with The Garlands Play Readers

Mastering The Fine Art of Retirement® at The Garlands

One of the most spectacular aspects of retirement is having the time and resources to explore one’s passions. Many Garlands members have mastered this aspect of “the fine art of retirement.” Some are literally studying and producing their own fine art . . . and inspiring Garlands staff to do the same. Their collective works… Continue Reading Mastering The Fine Art of Retirement® at The Garlands

My Garlands Home is My Castle!

By Garlands member, Bonnie I must say, even during the pandemic, I’m happy at in my Garlands home, and I never get bored. Up at 6:00AM and in bed at 10:00PM—the days FLY BY here at The Garlands. I’ve been able to carry on with a great number of things I’ve always done daily (or… Continue Reading My Garlands Home is My Castle!

The Garlands Resident Author Publishes Again!

  During both her careers—initially as a technical writing professor and author at Iowa State University, and currently as a five-time published author of young-adult fantasy novels—Dorothy Winsor’s routines and writers’ groups have served as the beacons and buoys by which she steers her life as a writer. Since Dorothy and her husband Rich moved… Continue Reading The Garlands Resident Author Publishes Again!

Knitting a Family Even Closer

At age 14, Garlands Member Anne Courter knitted her best friend Earle a pair of socks. When he went to college ahead of her, she knitted him a sweater. Fast forward several decades later and Anne has been knitting for their children (four), grandchildren (11), and great-grandchildren (18) ever since. Last year, she knitted an… Continue Reading Knitting a Family Even Closer

Getting Through COVID One Stitch at a Time

  Research proves that being kind can regulate and boost your mood. If that’s the case, Garlands member Janet Fear must have moments of euphoria all day long!   Janet, who grew up in Wales, saw a craft and thought, “THAT’s how you give a bottle of wine. How cheery.” A lifelong knitter, she dug… Continue Reading Getting Through COVID One Stitch at a Time

A Glimpse Through the Window of a Beautiful Life

Garlands member, Marlene Peterson, once described as “a swan gliding across still waters,” is calm, thoughtful, kind-hearted and generous. What you see on the surface is a wonderful example of how beautiful a life of caring about others can be. What you don’t see is how fast those feet are paddling!   Always a busy… Continue Reading A Glimpse Through the Window of a Beautiful Life

The Fine Art of Writing (and Painting!)

A pandemic is a fine time to read all the books on our wish lists. Never one to follow the crowd, Garlands member and artist Kathleen L. McCann took advantage of these past several months to write one! The Art of Kathleen L. McCann showcases many of Kathleen’s favorite or most meaningful paintings and the… Continue Reading The Fine Art of Writing (and Painting!)

Embracing the Opportunity to Learn MORE During COVID

When Garlands Member Peggy Clough retired after a 33-year career as an acute-care physical therapist (University of Michigan) and teacher (University of Wisconsin – Madison), she couldn’t wait to chase after all the intellectual topics she’d never had time to fully explore: The U.S. Constitution! Getting to the bottom of the question of women priests… Continue Reading Embracing the Opportunity to Learn MORE During COVID

Moving Made Easy . . . Even in a Pandemic

Garlands members Oliver and Barb Mayes are no strangers to planning, organizing and multi-tasking. Oliver is a musician and former high school band director turned Vietnam Army pilot turned career United Airlines pilot who, together with his wife, Barb, simultaneously owned, operated and eventually sold a successful H & R Block franchise all while successfully raising two, now adult, children. So, in… Continue Reading Moving Made Easy . . . Even in a Pandemic

Art Imitates Life

Veronica Potter is a Marine Veteran and artist who danced her way through life—literally teaching ballroom dancing and performing as a flamenco dancer. So, while most people find it hard to stay put these days, Veronica sees this time as an opportunity to soldier on, go with the flow and create more art. “I’ve made… Continue Reading Art Imitates Life

Seeking Answers to Life’s Little Questions Leads to Big Existence

This Christmas, Garlands member Rem Stokes is mailing his family a collection of original essays that he wrote and had FedEx bind instead of the honey-baked hams he usually sends. Rem jokes that he’s the “real ham,” who likes to be the center of attention, but he rightfully deserves to be in the spotlight! Following an illustrious… Continue Reading Seeking Answers to Life’s Little Questions Leads to Big Existence

COVID Accomplishment: Painting – Betty Schmidt

Garlands member Betty Schmidt, an accomplished artist and the one-time President of Oil Painters of America, accepted an important commission during the COVID-19 quarantine. The project allowed her to focus on the positive and fill her days with something she loves.   In addition, Betty checked off a project she’d skirted her entire life: she… Continue Reading COVID Accomplishment: Painting – Betty Schmidt

COVID Accomplishment: Gone Fishin’ . . . for Love – Ron and Phyllis Goldenstern!

Ron and Phyllis have what he calls “a good run” . . . that is to say, Phyllis kept him running since they met as high school freshmen! After 65 years, she is still the love of his life.   Ron says, “We came to the Garlands three years ago when I knew Phyllis might… Continue Reading COVID Accomplishment: Gone Fishin’ . . . for Love – Ron and Phyllis Goldenstern!

COVID Accomplishment: Choosing Gratitude (and Getting the Job Done) – Joyce Carlson

One of the maxims Garlands Member Joyce Carlson lives by – pandemic or not—is: “Be grateful for small things, big things, and everything in between. Count your blessings, not your problems.”   Upon moving into The Garlands eleven years ago, Joyce thought, “I’m starting a new phase of my life. Now I’ll have time to… Continue Reading COVID Accomplishment: Choosing Gratitude (and Getting the Job Done) – Joyce Carlson

COVID Accomplishment: Choosing a Great Attitude – Harriet Ahr

Garlands Member, Harriet Ahr, chooses to have a wonderful day every day. A key component of her daily attitude adjustment is movement. Harriet walks outdoors and indoors, takes fitness classes, exercises in The Garlands Fitness Center, and works out virtually with The Garlands trainers. She’s at it every day and says that exercise is what… Continue Reading COVID Accomplishment: Choosing a Great Attitude – Harriet Ahr

COVID Accomplishment: Writing Haikus – Barb Seaman

  Garlands member Barbara Seaman, who, under other circumstances performs with her acting troupe, The Garlands Playreaders, took her show off-stage during the COVID 19. Now she writes haikus in measured syllables to remember good times, cope with the pandemic, and exercise her creativity.   Take a peek, count her lined beats, and enjoy her… Continue Reading COVID Accomplishment: Writing Haikus – Barb Seaman

Spilling the Tea on Herbs – Cathy Nardo

Garlands gardener Cathy Nardo holds a lemon verbena, “Herb of Enchantment,” that holds a wonderful lemon scent when dried for use in teas, perfumes and other scented products.   As much as she enjoys growing herbs, Garlands member Cathy Nardo’s passion really blossoms when talking about herbs.   “Every herb has a story!” says Cathy.… Continue Reading Spilling the Tea on Herbs – Cathy Nardo

COVID Accomplishment: Writing – Vivian O’Neill

With pen in hand, Garlands member, Vivian O’Neill, 93, took a leap of faith during COVID-19 and entered a poetry contest sponsored by Barrington’s White House on the topic of “House and Home.” She hadn’t written poetry before but, in the spirit of ever-growing and learning, she thought “Why not?!”   Vivian scored a spot… Continue Reading COVID Accomplishment: Writing – Vivian O’Neill

COVID Accomplishment: Charlie Foos – Carving

Garlands member, Charlie Foos’s grandfather built a workbench to house the magnificent wood-carving tools he curated over a lifetime. Upon his passing, the workbench went to the only family member who showed the slightest interest: high-school student Charlie, whose only qualification was that he had taken a shop class once.   The workbench remained untouched… Continue Reading COVID Accomplishment: Charlie Foos – Carving

Through the Lens of Garlands Member and Professional Photographer Bill Lawton

Photographic Exhibit at The Gallery at The Garlands   Garlands member Bill Lawton got his first camera in junior high, and he hasn’t stopped taking photos since! “There is hardly a day that goes by that I don’t take a photo of something,” says Bill. “If I haven’t taken a picture, it hasn’t been a… Continue Reading Through the Lens of Garlands Member and Professional Photographer Bill Lawton

Engineering Peace of Mind

A guy like Garlands Member, Sam Jeffers, who, for example, designed warheads for the Pershing II and Trident weapon systems, is unlikely to sit around watching movies all day during a global pandemic. As soon as he saw PPE shortages on the horizon, Sam set about engineering effective, comfortable, cool, and good-looking face masks for… Continue Reading Engineering Peace of Mind


Karen Stathakis is moving in a healthy direction at a pace of 4,000 steps a day – as tracked by her Fitbit!     Be FREE After years of caregiving, raising two sons, maintaining a home and juggling a career, Garlands member Karen is free at last to pursue her passions and step into the spotlight: on… Continue Reading Be FREE


“Always my sister, forever my friend.”   Be FAMILY Garlands members and sisters Nancy and Sally grew up side by side on the northwest side of Chicago near the famed Riverview amusement park and Wrigley Field. Nancy, the older by two years, attended Alvernia, an all-girls high school. Sally opted for the co-ed St. Benedicts “because it was more… Continue Reading Be FAMILY


Marlene Peterson is a priceless original.   Be CREATIVE When a Garlands friend asked Marlene if she painted, she replied, “I don’t ‘do’ art.” The friend’s response, “How do you know?” sparked Marlene’s curiosity and creativity. Dozens of masterpieces later, Marlene exhibits her work at The Gallery at The Garlands and around town, but her true gift is… Continue Reading Be CREATIVE


The sky is the limit for Fred and Natalie Sponsler.   Be ADVENTUROUS Garlands members American Airlines pilot Fred and tax accountant Natalie were “fixed up” later in life by their fraternity brother teenage sons. Taking a risk on love again, the adventuresome Fred and Natalie began dating. A trained Air Force pilot and owner of his own Cirrus… Continue Reading Be ADVENTUROUS


Sharing breathtaking views atop a snowy Colorado mountain is a real thrill for Gary and Sue Ellen Griffin.   Be THRILLING Family ski trips that started when their three boys were in grammar school continue today…with the addition of seven grandchildren on the slopes! They’ve been risk-takers and adventurers from the get-go. Sue Ellen took the first… Continue Reading Be THRILLING


His and her offices are the perfect fit for Richard and Dorothy Winsor, two scholars with doctorate degrees in their respective fields.   Be YOURSELF In their Garlands home, each spouse has space – in the home as well as in their relationship – to be him or herself and follow their own individual passions – along… Continue Reading Be YOURSELF

Sixteen Years, WOW!

As they say, “It’s funny how time flies, especially when you are having fun.”

It is hard to believe that I have lived at The Garlands for 16 years now–I have enjoyed every moment! In fact, this might even sound like an ad for The Garlands, however, I thought that maybe some people might like to learn how an “old timer,” who has lived here nearly from the start, feels about being a Garlands member
Continue Reading Sixteen Years, WOW!


The Garlands is home-sweet-home to Dick and Alice Van Egeren.   Be GRACIOUS When these Garlands Members returned to Barrington, where they raised their five children, it was a happy homecoming after 15 golden years in Arizona. Once settled, they welcomed a new four-legged family member, Callie, affectionately known as their “Velcro dog.” Ever perched on a… Continue Reading Be GRACIOUS


The Zilkowski classroom knows no boundaries.       Be SMART For these Garlands members Red is the color of love and Bob Zilkowski’s beloved alma mater, Indiana University. “I bleed crimson,” says Bob, a Hoosier fan through and through. Bob and Janet met on a blind date at IU, fell in love and married on the beautiful… Continue Reading Be SMART


Bonnie Gekler is organized, Chris Kotarba is a wee bit loosey-goosey.   Be FRIENDS These Garlands members and lifelong friends are like two distinct peas in the same pod. Whale watching, hiking, retirement parties, a wedding and divorce, a few medical challenges, birthday celebrations―the two pals cruise through life’s ups and downs together. Workmates at First National Bank,… Continue Reading Be FRIENDS


Be THE LIGHT Garlands member Bonnie Smith Smiley’s friendliness, outgoing personality, and yes, smile, consistently exceed even the highest of those expectations. Bonnie’s life journey began in California and led her and her husband, Don, to serve in Guam and then return to California, Washington, New York, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin and Florida. With their son’s encouragement, they eventually moved… Continue Reading Be THE LIGHT


Be VALUED Joyce Carlson comes from a long line of do-it-yourselfers. An assistant in a third-generation, family-owned paint contracting business, Joyce was a “working mother” long before the term was coined. When the business line rang in her family’s Chicago three-flat, she would whip into multi-tasking mode, corral the three kids and book the next… Continue Reading Be VALUED

From the Desk of
Dorothy Winsor

Dorothy Winsor holding a book she wrote.

A longtime English Professor who taught technical writing at Iowa State University, Garlands member Dorothy Winsor, 72, pursued her desire to write fiction in retirement. “Although I read plenty of fiction, I never thought of myself as being creative enough to write it,” Winsor said. “Turns out I was wrong!” Winsor’s fifth young adult fantasy novel is currently with her publisher, and she’s eyeing a sixth.

Her advice to others who are considering pursuing their dreams in retirement: “Don’t doubt yourself! Be brave enough to try new things no matter what your age.”

Dorothy is a guest blogger for The Garlands. We are delighted to share her thoughts on writing . . . and just about anything else that crosses her creative mind!

On the Need for a Project

On the Need for a Project I am working on the theory that having a project makes people happier. By “project,” I mean something that requires a person to make plans and carry them out. The plans are for something they do freely rather than being assigned or forced to do.   I first thought… Continue Reading On the Need for a Project

A reading from The Wysman by Dorothy Winsor

A Sneak Peek Garlands of Barrington Author, Dorothy Winsor, shared a reading of the first chapter of her soon-to-be-released fourth young adult novel, The Wysman, virtually via Zoom with her friends and peers at The Garlands. The book is about a street kid turned advisor of a king who is determined to hunt down the person… Continue Reading A reading from The Wysman by Dorothy Winsor

Dorothy Winsor Publishes Her 4th Novel – The Wysman

Garlands of Barrington Author, Dorothy Winsor, Publishes Fourth Young Adult Novel   Barrington, IL . . . At age 72, Dorothy Winsor moved to The Garlands and took up a second career as an author writing young adult fiction. She has published three books and is releasing a new young adult novel, The Wysman, this… Continue Reading Dorothy Winsor Publishes Her 4th Novel – The Wysman


Dorothy A. Winsor Sometimes writing is easy. You’re in the zone. The words pour out. Good words! But sometimes, writing is so difficult it feels impossible. You have the dreaded writer’s block. There can be different reasons for writer’s block, and overcoming it depends on why you have it. Fear, boredom, and unarticulated problems with… Continue Reading OVERCOMING WRITER’S BLOCK


Dorothy A. Winsor In February, I went to a Chicagoland SFF conference called Capricon. Among the engaging panels, I attended was one called “Book Reviews vs. Literary Criticism: But is it good?” Panelists included a publicist, a couple of writers, and a book reviewer for a newspaper. The topic they started with was the difference… Continue Reading SHOULD I REVIEW THIS BOOK?


THE BEST ADVICE I EVER GOT Dorothy A. Winsor Back when I was writing academic books and articles, I conducted a five-year ethnographic project at an engineering center. My area is professional communication, so I hung around the center watching engineers try to communicate in their natural habitat. It was a lot of fun, and… Continue Reading Be BRAVE


You want to know what I’ve learned about writing during a pandemic? It’s hard. And for me at least, maybe impossible in any sustained way. That’s what I’ve learned. For the first couple of weeks, I felt guilty because I had all this extra time while I was locked down at home, and yet I… Continue Reading WRITING DURING A PANDEMIC