Belonging and the Pasadena VillageBy John Tuite
- John Tuite -
I didn’t really “join” the Pasadena village. I was kinda “assumed” into membership.
There’s a story there. You see I’ve been in a Men’s Group, before the Village Men’s Group,
for almost thirty years. About ten years ago a dear friend and mate in this
group discovered and introduced me to a newly popularized Scandanavian form of Elder
“commune, I’ll call it”. Where friends of similar values decided in their senior
years to form a living community for support and intellectual and emotional growth.
Sound familiar? My mate’s name was Jim Goodell. If you’ve been around for awhile
you’d have had the pleasure of knowing Jim before his sad and early death…
and you surely know his talented and charming wife, Nancy, who presently sits on the Village Board.
Well, Jim was an action guy and an organizer, and had deep roots in the Pasadena
community. No surprise to me, he initiated a series of community meetings in the
Goodell living room on Bellmore Way, down the hill behind the Gamble House to see
if this “sorta commune idea” had any interest to his many friends. He was an exciting
chairman, stirred a lot of dreams, and brought a generation of locals to face
up to their retirement years. We even looked at available property with the idea of a
live-in community as the centerpiece of this elder experiment. One dream was the
Evanston Inn property on Marengo, which later was developed by our consulting advisor
into a beautiful, diverse, and thoughtful condominium community.
But it so happened that one of the members of this “brain trust”, Elsie Sadler,
a person of some influence in Pasadena, a Board member of the Episcopal Homes,
and by coincidence, Peggy Buchanan’s mother, was on a business trip to Boston
where she was introduced to a newly formed organization on Beacon Hill called
the Beacon Hill Village, the first of what was to become a national movement.
Well, the rest is history. The brain trust became the founding membership some
two years after the first meeting in the Goodell House, they formed the first Board
of Directors, hired Sue Kajawa as the first Executive Director, welcomed the generous
support of the Episcopal Homes Organization and watched these last eight years as
the idea caught flame and the monthly calendar of activities grew beyond anyone’s
I’m very proud of my friend, Jim Goodell, and I hear him at each Zoom meeting,
as he looks down at me, and says, “See, I told you it would work!” And I say, “Yep!”