“We were looking at a number of different communities,” said David. “We picked Emerald Heights because we liked the people. The costs are reasonable, it’s located in a suburban setting and has a nice nature trail.” He and his wife, Marilyn, are both from small towns and did not want to move to a big city.
The biggest part of their life at Emerald Heights would have to be David’s ukulele group. David played the ukulele in high school, and hung one on his wall as a decoration. David was not the only musician in high school. Marilyn also enjoyed playing the ukulele as well as the violin.
Fast-forward 60 years, he took it off the wall and began playing again. He had so much fun enjoying the ukulele again; he decided to see if anyone else wanted to join him.
He put an ad out, and after a few people began to show up, he and his wife began recruiting more people. “We just want to be good enough to play music,” he said.
As it turns out, quite a few people showed interest. Currently, there are 23 people in the “Ukulele Chorus.” “Half are very good by now, but our goal is just to have a lot of fun,” he joked. He and his wife have made a songbook of 100 songs that the group plays. The songbook consists of these rules: The song has to be familiar to people and it has to be simple enough to play.
Marilyn is very active in the ukulele group, but she is not the only wife to play a part. Out of the 23 members, there are four husband and wife pairs.
“It’s part of what we do,” said David. “We just find a song on the internet and add to it. It is so much fun.” The team meets weekly to have a “jam session” and the group recently performed in the Emerald Heights talent show. The group also puts on a quarterly one-hour sing-along for residents. The residents are given “word-only” versions of the song book and the most recent sing-along had 94 residents singing along.
Aside from playing an active role in the ukulele group, Marilyn is involved in Emerald Heights knitting group, the KnitWits. Once a month, the group gets together to “just knit and have a good time.” The group also knits and donates newborn caps, scarves and mittens to Hopelink. Hopelink is a community action agency that serves homeless and low-income families.
In her free time, Marilyn enjoys knitting afghans for all of their children and grandchildren. Upon major milestones in life, such as marriage and graduation, Marilyn gives the afghans as a gift.
The Pratts used to travel frequently, but have settled down as of late. They have a house in Anacortes, Wash., that they visit often. “It’s nice to get away every once in a while, especially when returning to a wonderful place to call home like Emerald Heights,” said David.