31 August 2009

Reader email defending their chosen lifestyle

Mr. Blechman,

You are to be commended for tackling a tough subject in a thorough and responsible manner. Your book was a good read, filled with interesting perspectives.

I might suggest you consider a sequel to Leisureville and visit our community, Sun City Hilton Head. While the last chapter in your book covers all the arguments we've heard against active adult communities, you did not capture what we are experiencing. We have a high percentage of volunteerism inside and outside our gates; a strong security system that affords residents' their privacy and safety; exposure to cultural activities in nearby Savannah, Hilton Head and Bluffton. We are an ethnically mixed community. Most of us recognize our families experience busy lifestyles and we must establish our own in a new setting. Most of us take an active interest in the realities of the outside world. Hundreds of us volunteer in nearby schools, interact with children there, take part in our respective religious institutions outside our gates, go to Chamber of Commerce meetings to hear speakers about local development, and business opportunities. We're actively participating in our nearby community, yet socializing mostly with those with whom we have commonalities. Many of us are active in the community's governance, serving on committees and encouraging volunteerism.

We have deep discussions about the topics you touch upon. Most of us here have never been happier in our whole lives and for the first time since our busy professional days, we have the time and inclination to enjoy nature, appreciate different perspectives, explore new interests and avail ourselves of wonderful educational opportunities at our nearby University. We really love it here.

Just as an aside, our son is a sociologist and harbored your sentiments when he first heard of our plans to move here. We said it's a "gated community." His response: "Oh good grief, you know that's code for ethnic exclusion." He visited and learned he was wrong. Although, like you, he can't fathom a community sans children and calls it "unreal" like a college campus or an enclave outside the real world, he admits now that he is happy to see us in an environment where we are so happy and busy. All our children seem pleased this community offers a support system and genuine neighborly interest.

I wanted to share my thoughts with you and I hope you will explore Leisureville concerns further and particularly in this incredible community we call Paradise..

Ellie (and Bob) Dixon
Sun City Hilton Head, SC

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