Doris Keevil Woolley broke the news to her children shortly after a hurricane on the East Coast cut power to their town this year.
“We were sitting in the dark with candles, just talking,” she said.
That’s when the 92-year-old woman, a longtime resident of Eatontown, N.J., told two sons she was moving across the continent to begin a new life in Oregon.
Keevil Woolley had visited the state several times to see her other sons, Bill Keevil of Crescent City and Tom Keevil of Ashland. But now, with the hurricane and an earlier earthquake fresh in her memory, she made the decision.
Last year’s East Coast snowfall also was a motivator. “It gave me that push,” Keevil Woolley said.
She’s been a resident of Sea View Senior Living Community in Harbor for three weeks and couldn’t be happier.
Jan Ramelli, community relations director for Sea View, said she often gets phone calls from people telling her they plan on moving to Brookings from other states. Many times she shrugs it off, figuring it won’t happen.
“But she was serious,” Ramelli said.
Keevil Woolley, a former legal secretary, lives in a 604-square-foot apartment with a balcony. She exercises regularly with a group at Sea View and also knits and crochets with friends she’s made there.
“Everybody is so friendly,” Keevil Woolley said. “They make you feel at home.”
She enjoys lots of social activities, including happy hour with live music at Sea View, trips downtown for shopping and banking, and church services.
The new Brookings resident is not only mentally acute, but has no physical ailments.
Keevil Woolley is an avid reader of both fiction and non-fiction. Not to be left out of the digital age, she used to read books on her iPad but now prefers getting them from the Chetco Community Public Library.
She also has a Facebook page.
“My son said, ‘If you want to hear from us you need to get on the computer,” she said with a laugh.
Her son, Tom, and his wife accompanied Keevil Woolley on the flight from New Jersey to Oregon. Her belongings arrived a couple of weeks later via moving van.
Now, with a new home and her old furnishings, she feels like putting down roots at Sea View, which offers independent living, assisted living and memory care.
“That’s what attracted me to the place,” Keevil Woolley said. “They have progressive care if I need it. You never know what’s ahead for you.”