Leisureville: Adventures in a World Without Children

When his next-door friends in a old fashioned New England city unexpectedly decide up and flow to a gated retired neighborhood in Florida referred to as The Villages, Andrew Blechman is astonished via their tales, so he is going to enquire. higher than ny, with a golfing path for each day of the month, downtowns, its personal newspaper, radio, and television station, The Villages is a urban of approximately a hundred thousand (and transforming into) lacking just one factor: children.
In the significantly acclaimed Leisureville, Blechman delves into lifestyles within the senior utopia, supplying a hilarious firsthand document on every little thing from ersatz nostalgia to the citizens’ unusually energetic intercourse existence. yet this is often greater than only a romp via a retirement paradise; Blechman lines the background of the age-segregated retirement phenomenon, and travels to Arizona to teach what has occurred to the pioneering advancements after a long time of segregation. a desirable mix of great heritage, social observation, and hilarious, attractive reportage, Leisureville is a crucial publication on an incredible, underreported trend.

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Yet in time, fast scientific advances and the commercial balance afforded by means of beneficiant corporation pensions in addition to per thirty days Social safeguard exams ended in the production of an entire new category of people—retirees. What used to be retirement speculated to seem like? What have been those retirees purported to do with the few final years within which they have been seen as too previous to paintings, yet too younger to die? Mass retirement used to be a brand new phenomenon with few guidance to persist with. To many, the be aware “retirement” itself had a unfavourable connotation, implying that seniors have been being taken out of movement, like previous horses that have been now not necessary. because the nuclear family persevered to fall apart and the kingdom grew to become infatuated with a youth-centered tradition, seniors have been left to chart their very own approach. Few knew what to anticipate from those years along with loneliness, declining health and wellbeing, and attainable abandonment in “God’s ready room”—a gloomy nursing domestic. to a couple, retirement may in addition were a dying sentence. Out of this anomie, a brand new proposal started to take shape—the construction of groups the place lively seniors might dwell jointly, loose from the confines of dreary old-age houses. even supposing spiritual and fraternal agencies flirted with the idea that of retirement groups as early because the Nineteen Twenties, the nation’s first age-segregated group used to be no longer equipped until eventually the Nineteen Fifties. It was once known as Youngtown, and it was once little greater than a modest housing improvement with a clubhouse in the midst of the Arizona wasteland. yet its aged population have been thankful for it. in line with Youngtown’s founder, Benjamin “Big Ben” Schleifer, its notion was once an previous Jewish prayer: “Do now not forsake me, God, while i am getting outdated. ” Schleifer says he first heard the prayer as a teen dwelling in a shtetl open air Minsk, the place his father labored as a trees surveyor. In 1914, the Schleifer relations fled czarist repression and Cossack raids, and immigrated to the US. In big apple, the thirteen-year-old Schleifer skipped institution and went to paintings as an errand boy. An avid reader, he says he proficient himself with discarded newspapers that he came upon at the subway. He finally held a succession of jobs: farmhand, cloth mill employee, flour miller, and grain dealer. within the overdue Nineteen Forties, a bout of bronchial asthma compelled him to relocate to Arizona, the place he started to dabble in genuine property, usually unsuccessfully. He shaped immense Ben Realty and labored out of an workplace now not a lot higher than a telephone sales space. Homesick for the east coast, Schleifer lower back a number of instances within the wish that Arizona had cured his bronchial asthma. He had no such success, yet one journey again east proved to be lucky. He visited a chum in a nursing domestic in Rochester, big apple, and used to be struck by means of the man’s frustration with the regimented and limited way of life. Schleifer suggestion he might do greater. He dedicated himself to development a whole neighborhood dedicated to retirees and resolved to name it Youngtown, in order that it “would be linked to adolescence and ambition. ” He sought after “to make aged humans no longer believe outdated.

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