Going back to New York

·3 min read

Aug. 1—Linda Homann was born in Washington, but made most of her adult life in Manhattan. For 50 years she lived in New York and worked in the corporate offices for Hertz Rent-a-Car and ABC Studios. Then a family emergency brought her back to Washington.

"She lived in New York and had returned to Washington to take care of her mother who was sick," said Gail Daniel, life enrichment assistant for the Villages of Oakridge in Washington. "Her plan was to return to New York eventually, but her mother lived to be more than 100. In the meantime, she fell and was hurt and was unable to go back to New York."

While you may be able to take the girl out of New York, you often can't get the New York out of the girl. For Homann, getting back to her old stomping grounds became the dream.

Fortunately, the Villages has a program called "Live a Dream" for its residents.

"When someone comes in we ask them: is there somewhere you would like to go, someone you would like to meet, someplace you would like to go," said Daniels. "Most of the time they say no, but other times we get requests. Linda's was to go see a play. Usually they are smaller things, but this one was bigger. It just kept building and our corporate people just kept saying, yes, go ahead."

For Homann, Broadway was one of the highlights of her life in New York.

"I love Broadway musicals," said Homann. "I went to a lot of them while I lived there, at least back when they were affordable."

Taking an 86-year-old nursing home patient to New York and putting her in touch with old friends and taking her to old haunts took some doing, but the staff pulled it off.

"We got a hotel on Times Square and went to a pub where she used to go and four of her old friends and a great-nephew joined her at the pub," said Daniel. "She was having such a good time. She was laughing. It took 20 years off of her face. You could see the Linda who first moved into the Villages. She was happy and full of life."

It turned out one of biggest challenges was finding a play that appealed to Homann.

"We would recommend a show and she would say, already seen it, and she didn't want to see something she had already seen before," said Daniel.

The eventual show was "The Play that Goes Wrong."

"I enjoyed the trip to New York. We met with some of my work friends from Hertz," said Homann. "You cannot not have a good time when you are in New York."

Residents at the Villages spent some time celebrating Homann's trip back to Manhattan. And Daniel says it is something that sends a positive message to all of the people who live there.

"They are happy for her. What they don't know is that we may be working on something for them," said Daniel. "She has this to hang onto. It reminds them there can still be things to wake up for."