We just celebrated our 17th anniversary of living in Sun City West, Arizona, and we still can’t figure out how we were lucky enough to find this place. We’re called Sun City West because just a few miles to the east of us is the original Sun City, the first such retirement community envisioned and designed by Del Webb, the founder of all the Sun Cities that have since mushroomed around this country. And ours is the best of all of them. Webb must have decided he would go whole hog when he built SCW, making it the epitome of retirement havens. It’s a design that would never again be duplicated because of the cost of such an endeavor. We have more amenities here than anywhere else—seven prime golf courses, four recreation centers, three outdoor swimming pools, two indoor pools, a 24-lane bowling facility, multiple lighted and fenced tennis and pickle ball courts, a racquetball court, the best softball field to be found anywhere, ten churches, a large hospital, three weight and workout facilities, a billiard parlor, bocce ball courts, two putt putt courses, a lighted timed walking course, countless clubs for hobbyists in silver, copper, wood, metal, jewelry, embroidery, even a railroad club with extensive trains and train tracks. I’m sure I’ve forgotten some of the clubs, but you get the idea. When we got ready to move to Arizona, I was certain that we wouldn’t be able to afford anything but a mobile home court with some tiny par-3 golf course for me to spend the rest of my days playing. And then we found Sun City West. And discovered that even on only a teacher’s pension we could afford to buy a house and live in this retirement paradise. And we haven’t regretted a day of it since.
Seventeen years. That’s the second longest time we’ve ever lived anywhere. We lived in our hometown, Mobridge, South Dakota, for seventeen years before we were both able to make our escape, like nearly all young people in South Dakota who flee from their hometowns and their state to find a better life elsewhere. And we lived in Lakewood, New York, where I taught for twenty-three years. We fled from there just as we had from South Dakota, never having felt we were a part of that community. Now, we feel we’re home and a part of this community of young/old people living out our lives in healthy, useful activities other than sitting in a rocking chair on a front porch waiting to die. No thanks.