Hazel Wilson and Ruth Taylor met nearly eight decades ago at an Adelaide high school, both married men named Brian and now, at age 91, find themselves living just streets apart at a South Australian retirement village.
Downsizing.com.au is happy to publish this lovely story provided to us by RetireAustralia about Hazel and Ruth.
With an incredible lifelong connection, Hazel Wilson and Ruth Taylor appreciate having each other close by at RetireAustralia’s Torrens Grove village and love catching up to reminisce about times spent together.
Hazel grew up on the York Peninsula and came to Adelaide for high school, boarding at Cabra Dominican College.
It was there she met Ruth, despite the fact Ruth was a day girl who didn’t fraternise much with the boarding school girls.
The pair knew each other, they had classes together and graduated together.
Little did they know, this would be the start of a lifelong friendship.
After school, Ruth went to nursing college and Ruth followed a year or so later and they both worked as nurses at the Royal Adelaide Hospital.
But the parallels didn’t end there.
Both women married men named Brian, who were great friends.
Ruth, Hazel and the two Brians moved into neighbouring Adelaide suburbs.
Hazel and Brian had six children and Ruth and Brian had nine.
The kids all knew each other – the boys went to St Michael’s College and some of the girls went to Siena College.
The two families grew up together.
Ruth moves into Torrens Grove retirement village
In 2014, it had become apparent to Ruth and Brian that they could no longer maintain their large six-bedroom family home, so they decided to move into an independent living unit at Torrens Grove Retirement Village at Kilkenny.
I didn’t hesitate because I knew we couldn’t stay in the big house and manage it, and I liked the units,” Ruth remembered.
“The units were airy enough and light. They were accessible because they were on the ground floor.”
Among their regular visitors were Hazel and Brian, who would regularly pop over on a Saturday night.
“They used to come over and play cards. A group of us would go from one house to the other,” Ruth said.
While both Brians sadly passed away within a few years of each other, Ruth and Hazel kept in touch.
Knowing Hazel was living alone in the family home, Ruth had planted the idea of moving into Torrens Grove.
Hazel moves into Torrens Grove
Hazel was very familiar with the village and had considered moving but wasn’t quite ready to leave the comfort of her family home which held so many memories.
However, Hazel’s health started to decline as she was having falls at home and was in and out of hospital.
After yet another hospital stay, Hazel and her daughter agreed to try out the care apartments to see if Torrens Grove would be a good fit.
During her two-week stay, Hazel got to know the other residents and the village team, and had many visits from family and friends, including Ruth.
At the end of her stay, Hazel decided she still wanted to go home.
It was only when she moved back home that she realised that she could no longer continue living there alone.
So, in early 2021, she decided to move into a care apartment at Torrens Grove Retirement Village.
Hazel knows that having care and support available is exactly what she needs, while her family knows she will be looked after, especially if she has another fall.
Ruth and Hazel stay close, even if this means by phone
Now they live so close to one another, Ruth and Hazel try to catch up as much as they can – although mobility challenges have become a bit of hurdle.
“I’m a couple of streets away, but I’m getting older and having trouble getting down there,” she said.
“I do get my Gopher (scooter) and go down,” Ruth said.
If that fails, there’s always the phone.
“We have always rung one another, even when she was at home,” Ruth said.
We have that connection; we call one another if we don’t see one another.”
“It’s good to be able to see her and have a good chat,” Hazel said.
Ruth simply said: “It’s nice to know she’s there”.
About Torrens Grove Retirement Village and RetireAustralia
Torrens Grove is owned and operated by RetireAustralia, a leading owner, operator and developer of retirement villages, with 28 retirement villages across New South Wales, Queensland and South Australia.