LARSON: Classic Car Show shows classy retirement living

Susan Larson

Susan Larson

“Over the river and through the woods, to Grandmother’s house we go. The horse knows the way to carry the sleigh…”

OK, cute song, but is anyone out there really old enough to relate to that? Even for my own kids who were born in the ’70s and ’80s, visiting grandma and grandpa just ain’t what it used to be.

• What: Classic Car Show and free lunch

• Where: Garden Plaza, 230 Collins Industrial Way, Lawrenceville

• When: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sept. 25

• For more information: Call 770-280-2176

Fading away fast are the days when grandma slaves in the kitchen all day for the kids and grandkids — and great grandkids — to show up and enjoy the fruits of her labor. And then help clean up afterwards. This is the 21st century and grandparents are entertaining in a whole different style.

Here, grandma and grandpa live in a community where they don’t have to cook and can spend their time connecting with their family and friends. Guests can come for Sunday brunch and then splash around in the indoor salt water pool. In the game room, kids can challenge grandpa to a Wii game, or they can spend an afternoon in overstuffed chairs outsmarting each other in an old fashioned game of chess.

“In the Internet Café kids come in and help their grandparents set up e-mail accounts,” Bart Walker, campus manager, said.

But Garden Plaza offers much more than opportunities for leisurely family visits. The staff is always coming up with events for the whole community. People still talk about the fashion show sponsored by Dillard’s who provided fashions for the residents who served as models. Their most recent event was a cooperative effort with the Gwinnett Library to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

Guests participated in a panel discussion with authors Paul Guest, Jack Riggs and Mary Kay Andrews. And, just like a visit to grandma’s, these events included a free lunch. Only no one — including any grandmas or grandpas present — has to do any cleaning up.

“We want to educate the community on what we do here and how comfortable and vibrant life is at Garden Plaza. We welcome 55-plus seniors to visit and experience for themselves that retirement living truly does have its rewards,” said Wanda Dukes, sales director.

The next opportunity to see what retirement living is all about will be on Saturday afternoon. Dukes invites everyone to get in on the fun with their Classic Car Show.

“We’ll have a lot of cars ranging from the 1930s to 1970s, from model–Ts to T-Birds,” Dukes said. “It will be a 1950s theme and everyone can dance to ’50s music by the Class Act Band. And you can expect to see a lot of poodle skirts and pony tails.”

And, of course, there will be free lunch. The kitchen staff will prepare a retro repast of burgers, French fries, milkshakes and Coke floats. Just like the kind grandma and grandpa enjoyed, you know, back in the good old days.

Susan Larson is a Lilburn resident. E-mail her at susanlarson4@yahoo.com.