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From Japan to Guam to Emerald Heights

Moving from Kirkland, Washington about four and a half years ago, Maggie Backman and her husband Fred knew it was time to see what Emerald Heights offered. They wanted to plan ahead for their futures to make it easier on their children, and they both knew the timing was right.

Maggie and Fred lived in Japan for two years, during his Navy duty time. It was there that she extended her love of textiles, particularly silk that was prevalent in Japan. Fred’s Navy duty also sent them to Guam where Maggie started a silk embroidery business while simultaneously teaching classes on how to dye and color silk scarves. She continued her import business for 32 years, after they moved back to the United States. Maggie also started a study group that would go to Japan bi-annually to learn about silk production and its importance in Japan.

After many years of living in different places around the globe, the Backman’s decided to continue their passions while living in the comfort of Emerald Heights. Maggie still teaches some of the embroidery classes onsite to residents.

Maggie loves staying involved around the community. “It’s fun to be in a community like Emerald Heights because everyone wants to do something!” she shares. “Some residents are more involved than others, but mostly everyone wants to be involved in some kind of activity.”

“Any kind of community outreach is something we’re striving to do more of at Emerald Heights,” she explains. Maggie was involved in the formation of the Adopt-a-Grandparent program with Albert Einstein Elementary School. Many children at the neighboring school had grandparents that are oversees who they rarely get to see, and they contacted Emerald Heights’ residents about being their “adopted grandparents.” The residents were so touched by this question and decided to start a pen pal program.

The program started just by sending letters, but towards the end of the two-year program, the school held an ice cream social for the residents to meet their pen pal. “It was so heartwarming to see the smiles on the children’s faces,” Maggie smiles. Now, their pen pal program has spurred other communities to start programs with local schools. “It’s wonderful to see the community outreach that everyone is a part of.”

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