On beautiful, sunshine-filled days, Jim and Jennie Sauer enjoy taking their 1965 Sunbeam Tiger for leisurely drives. The Tiger, which they bought new in 1966, was their only mode of transportation when they purchased it. Today, 50 years later, the car connects them to others across the mid-Atlantic region who are enthusiasts of cars made by Rootes Motors Limited, a British automobile manufacturing company founded by Lord William Edward Rootes. Attending the annual Sunbeam BASH—an event facilitated by Tigers East/Alpines East, an organization for fans of Rootes cars—which is usually held somewhere in central Pennsylvania, offers an opportunity for them to connect with other Sunbeam owners and enjoy community.
The Sauers also appreciate the connection to community they experience at Garden Spot Village. Jennie says the friendliness of the staff and residents during their initial visits as well as the Woodshop and other clubs, the amenities and the affordable monthly rates all influenced their decision to move to Garden Spot Village.
“Once we made the decision,” she says, “we wanted to be here.” Choosing a single family home with a two-car garage at Sycamore Springs allowed them to bypass the typical wait time and move into their new home in March 2018. Jennie says of the transition, “It’s been so easy. Everyone has been so accommodating.”
A mix of community, adventure and service defines the Sauers’ lifestyle. In the mid-1980s they were both working high-stress jobs, Jim for the telephone company and Jennie as a settlement officer for a title insurance company. They always wanted to retire early and travel, but at the rate they were going they were afraid they wouldn’t make it to retirement. So, they outfitted their 28-foot sailboat, took a year off from work and traveled up and down the east coast, going as far north as Southwest Harbor Maine and as far south as Marathon, in the Florida Keys.
Jim says, “At the end of the year, I was ready to go back to work. I returned a much better employee.”
Jim took early retirement from Bell Telephone Company and began contract work with Northern Telecom, a Canadian contractor. This new role gave him flexibility in his schedule and the opportunity to live around the world. The Sauers spent five months in Japan and three months in England. Jim also had contracting jobs in Dallas, Texas; Tyson’s Corner, Virginia; and other locations around the country.
Between consulting contracts Jim built “Sauer Dough,” a 40-foot sailboat. The couple purchased the steel hull, and, over the course of several years, Jim finished the entire inside and the rigging on the outside.
In 2011 the Sauers sold their home in Knauertown, Pennsylvania and followed the call of the water to Cape May Court House, New Jersey. Jim renovated their 1860s post–Civil War era home while they connected with the local community. They attended and served at First United Methodist Church, where Jennie started Women for God, a women’s group that serves the church and local community by raising funds for charitable organizations that help those in need. She also enjoyed volunteering at the church’s thrift shop. Jennie and Jim both volunteered at the Performing Arts Center at Middle Township High School, as well as at the local hospital.
Their pursuit of service and adventure will serve the Sauers well at Garden Spot Village. Even before moving in, Jim joined the Woodshop and the Garden Spot Metal Crafters. Jennie looks forward to exploring new volunteer opportunities in the coming months. In addition, they have joined the Lunch Bunch, a group from Garden Spot Village that enjoys dining at unique local restaurants, watched movies at the Village Square Theater and enjoyed recent performances by Servant Stage Company.
The Sauers appreciate the convenience of life at Garden Spot Village. They only need to write one check each month and they don’t need to worry about home maintenance.
Jennie says, “We are just thrilled we made the decision to move while we were healthy enough to do so. Our new home is just the right size. We found a little slice of heaven here at Garden Spot Village.”