Loving life at Maplewood
Paul and Sally Schlein
A 55-year-old marriage continues to bloom at Maplewood
Paul and Sally Schlein met on a blind date.
The year? 1963. The location? The Iron Gate Inn in Washington, DC.
“My dad asked me how my date went,” Sally remembers. “I don’t know,” I answered. “He’s so old!’” Paul was 34 and Sally, 24.
“Our age difference turned out to be a good thing,” she quips. “Older women couldn’t keep up with him.”
A second date was arranged shortly after, this time at the Mayflower Hotel for dancing and dinner. “I’m not sure how I pulled that one off,” Paul says. “I was a resident physician making $160 a month.”
A short year later, the two were married.
Making a move
Paul grew up in Brooklyn, NY, and Sally is a native Washingtonian. Paul received his B.A. and medical degrees from Cornell University. After completing his residency at George Washington University, he served for 35 years as a general internist in a DC private practice. Sally studied Home Ec at Purdue University in Indiana and returned east to teach school. After marriage, the two made Bethesda their hometown.
In September 2017, Paul and Sally sold the house where they’d lived for 44 years. Destination: Maplewood Park Place.
“We wanted the assurance of built-in care, should we need it.”
“Paul was shocked when I presented the idea of selling,” Sally says. “But I had lots of reasons for wanting a change. We just got tired of taking care of a house and garden for so many years. Our children lived far away. We knew people who’d grown old on their own, and they’d struggled. We’d been in good health, but we knew good health wouldn’t last forever. We wanted the assurance of built-in care, should we need it.”
Sally mentioned to a friend her interest in moving to a retirement community. That friend had a friend who lived at Maplewood. “The three of us took a tour. I liked it from the moment we walked in – the look and feel, the people, everything.”
Renovating and redecorating
The Schleins purchased a two-bedroom apartment, with den, and – working with their decorator and Maplewood’s in-house contractor – completely renovated the space. Walls were knocked down, new floors and bathrooms were installed, and the kitchen was opened up and expanded into the den. They also bought all new furniture to help set the stage for their next life chapter.
“One of the great things about Maplewood is the freedom to redo your space,” Sally says. “Unlike entry-fee communities, where you don’t own your home, here – as a resident/owner – you can renovate and redecorate any way you like. And you gain the value of home appreciation and your investment in improvements.”
Beyond their own apartment, Paul and Sally have been equally enthusiastic about recent additions to the community spaces at Maplewood, with vibrant new areas to dine, relax, and socialize. Upgrades include a renovated main dining room with a full-service bar, an onsite market offering fresh food and staples, a new entertainment center in the ballroom, and a refurbished library, billiard room, boardroom, and onsite bank.
“Unlike entry-fee communities, where you don’t own your own home, here. . .
you gain the value of home appreciation and your investment in improvements.”
Engaging and entertaining
“We were active before we moved into Maplewood, and we’re active now,” Sally says. “Both of us still drive and go wherever we like. We’re fortunate to have lots of friends, and we’ve made even more at Maplewood.”
Paul serves on a committee that pilots the resident-managed Holiday Gift Fund, providing Maplewood staff with an extra monetary thank you in the holiday season. He meets up often with his former medical colleagues and also revels in spirited exchanges with fellow residents in Maplewood’s Men’s Discussion Group. “So many interesting and accomplished people live here,” he notes. “The conversation is intriguing.”
Sally serves on the Landscaping Committee, putting her knowledge of plants and years of gardening experience to good use. She also plays duplicate bridge competitively with a group she’s been part of for 15 years – and is so good at the game, she’s earned the master designation.
Together, Paul and Sally enjoy musical performances, along with regular dinners with friends. They gather in Maplewood’s varied dining venues, as well as in their own kitchen, where Sally loves to cook. Summertime, herbs and tomatoes from her onsite garden plot bring extra zest to the fare.
Marveling at the Maplewood staff
Beyond the amenities, activities, and abiding friendships, the best part of living at Maplewood, according to Paul, is the staff. “Whoever does the hiring here has an unusual skill,” he says. “Every employee we’ve met has been – in a word – exceptional. Whatever the residents’ needs, staff listen sincerely and respond rapidly.”
Paul offers the example of noise problems in the dining room. While eating and talking, residents sometimes heard echoes. Maplewood brought in an expert to analyze the sound challenge. The ceiling was redone, significantly improving the room’s acoustics.
Then, there was the night the home DVD player stopped working. “I mentioned it to someone in the parking garage,” Paul says. “Five minutes later, two Maplewood staff members knocked on our front door, eager to make the fix. Soon I was doing exactly what I wanted to do that night – watching my favorite movie, Norma Rae! They can’t do enough for us here.”
“Whatever the residents need, staff listen sincerely and respond rapidly.”
Delighting in the day
The Schleins have three children and two grandchildren. Will, 54, owns a hostel and captains a fishing boat in Homer, AK. Alice, 51, is a graphic designer in Oakland, CA, and the mother of Noah, age 9. Emily, 48, serves as a wound care nurse in Denver, CO, and is mom to Levi, age 10. All keep in regular touch with their folks.
Son Will, though he lives the farthest away, has stayed with the Schleins several times in their Maplewood apartment. Along with hanging out with his parents, he’s struck up a special friendship with resident Claire Machlin, age 94. Whenever Will visits, the two can be spotted in the Maplewood pool, swimming laps – side by side – as another day dawns.