~Shared by Tammy Compton
It's not every day one gets to celebrate a century.
April Fifth at Woodloch Pines proved to be a very special day indeed for one native New Yorker. Brooklyn-born Ann Robinson, who now hails from Greenwood Village, Colorado, traveled almost 2,000 miles with her family to reach her favorite destination. It took two planes, five hours in the air and another hour by car just to get here. However, daughters Ellen and Chris say Woodloch is a magical place for their mom.
“When my sister asked my mom where would she like to spend her 100th birthday, my mom immediately said 'Woodloch,'" says Chris.
"(That) any of us would rather come here than do a cruise or anything else is a huge testimonial for the place,” Ellen says.
"I think the place just feels like home to all of us,” says granddaughter, Kirsten. “We've all grown up here. We've all been going here since we were little kids. For me, at least, it's my favorite thing because it just feels right.”
"She was here the first year it opened," says Ellen, referring to the year 1958. Introduced to Woodloch by the secretary at their church, the Methodist Church in Baldwin, Long Island, there would be many return visits.
With a twinkle in her eyes and a ready smile, Ann shares a few of her favorite Woodloch memories.
"There are so many," Ann says. "There were six girls, and they used to do a beautiful rendition, dancing. And Uncle Harry (Woodloch's founder) used to be a wonderful entertainer."
The very first time they were here Ann recalls how John Kiesendahl, now CEO, carried their luggage to their room; he was all of about 11. “The whole place was always just wonderful. The food, the hospitality, the area itself is so beautiful," she says.
Ann and her late husband, Elliott Robinson, made many great memories here. Married 60 glorious years, they were blessed with two wonderful daughters and three glorious grandchildren: Susie, Kirsten, and David.
Ann loves the color yellow, can't resist gardenias, and enjoys a good biography on her favorite Hollywood Stars, like Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn. There is a wealth of knowledge behind her kind blue eyes, having lived through two World Wars, the first when she was little more than a toddler. However, she does not dwell upon those memories. She remembers happier times, care-free moments aboard open street cars, summer rides on the trolley, and dancing. She smiles as she talks about herself and her husband and their square-dancing days, how they attended weekly dances, and sometimes traveled to neighboring states for competitions.
The girls describe their mom as selfless, always putting others first. "Growing up, it was always what was most important for us," Ellen says. "She just did everything for us, making sure our needs were met. She made sure we always got together. She was very big on family. One of our favorite stories that my husband tells all the time is when we go there for holidays.”
"She would make a special vegetable for every one of us," says Ellen's husband Ray, completing his wife's sentence.
Ellen loved brussels sprouts. "I don't think Chris liked brussells sprouts; I know I didn't," Ann laughs. It was corn that topped Chris's list.
"I think Chris liked most vegetables," her mom says. Granddaughters Kirsten and Susie are another story. While Kirsten has never met a vegetable she actually liked, Susie tries to change the subject to include cranberries.
All agree Ann was a phenomenal cook who made everything, including her "to die for" peach pie. Her pancakes were also legendary, Susie says.
"My mom always was, is, a perfectionist," says Chris. Mom's favorite saying? "If you're going to do something, do it right."
She's a person who truly cares. "Every card that you get from her, whether it's a birthday card or a Christmas card or whatever, she has underlined special things on the card," Ray says.
Chris goes on to say her mom is very spiritual, always encouraging her children and grandchildren to admire God's pallette and take the time to admire the natural beauty around them. That's what they do at Woodloch, enjoy the serene setting and each other.
Ellen says, "She's like five years younger here. I've watched her demeanor, and she's perkier and doesn't want to take naps and just wants to participate in everything. And I thought, wouldn't it be magical if I could move her here for five years. And let her live here.”
"Woodloch is very energizing. I think it's energizing for all of us, but especially for mom," says Chris. "It's a unique energy here."
“She was meant to be here,” Ellen says.