Monday, March 25th, 2019

The Crossings at Harbour View Story


Vibrant resident, Mrs. Ercel Jackson,
rallies others to enjoy their new home as much as she does

by Allison T. Williams

Sales Associate Sarah Weidner and Director of Sales and Marketing Christel Hoy

Sales Associate Sarah Weidner and Director of Sales and Marketing Christel Hoy

At 96, Ercel Jackson — a petite lady, with a sunny laugh and a penchant for elaborate holiday decorations — shows no sign of slowing down.

Since moving into The Crossings at Harbour View in Suffolk in December, Ercel says her days are jam-packed with social events and activities.

“I take exercise, go to the movies or do crafts,” Ercel says, who often rallies fellow residents to join her for activities. “There is so much to do to keep me occupied that I don’t even get to read the morning newspaper until late at night.

“I take exercise, go to the movies
or do crafts. There is so much to do
 to keep me occupied
that I don’t even get to read
the morning newspaper
until late at night.
You won’t catch me napping
 or just sitting around
and I haven’t watched television in days.
I don’t have time for that!”

—Ercel Jackson

“You won’t catch me napping or just sitting around, and I haven’t watched television in days,” she adds. “I don’t have time for that!”

Ercel loves her two-bedroom apartment, where 38 embroideries and needlepoints she has made over the years have been artfully hung. She has earned awards from the Tidewater Embroiderers Guild for some of her threaded needlework.

Promoting access to books was one of Ercel’s ambitions, too. She vividly recalls meeting a young girl in church in the late 1990s who had never owned a book. That triggered a passion in Ercel. She began buying or acquiring gratis gently used books from flea markets and thrift stores to distribute to less fortunate children through Portsmouth Public Schools and various nonprofit organizations. Between 2000 and 2016 she donated 81,000 books to children in Portsmouth.

Ercel and her late husband, John Tyler Jackson III, lived for decades in Portsmouth’s Pinehurst community. The couple met when she was in high school and worked part-time as a secretary at Virginia Chemicals, where John started out working as a purchasing agent.

One of the first times she met him, Ercel recalls, John asked the diminutive young lady to stand up; he declared she was, in fact, tall enough to marry him one day. The couple eventually did marry and raised three children:  Dr. Brian Robert Jackson of Virginia Beach, Linda Wells of Burke and Brenda Evans of Kentucky.

It was at her children’s bidding that she finally made the decision to move to The Crossings.

“My kids worried and they wanted me to stop driving,” Ercel laughs. “I moved out here to give them peace of mind, but I love it.”

The Crossings — which has 83 independent-living, 68 assisted-living and 25 memory-care suites — offers many different activities, according to Director of Sales and Marketing Christel Hoy.

Mrs. Ercel Jackson

Mrs. Ercel Jackson

Fitness classes, such as Zumba and chair yoga, take place daily and movies are shown in the onsite theater several evenings a week. The residents love weekly activities like complimentary manicures, craft classes, happy hours, billiards, painting classes, Bible study and worship services led by rotating local churches.

“My kids worried
and they wanted me to stop driving.
 I moved out here
to give them peace of mind,
but I love it.”

—Ercel Jackson

Also found onsite are walking trails, a fitness center, library, computer center, beauty parlor and barber shop, a professionally run dining room, 24-hour concierge service and transportation for residents. Even rehabilitation services, such as physical therapy and occupational therapy, are available onsite.

Outings offsite to attend special events like a performance by the Virginia Symphony, or a visit to the Museum of Contemporary Art in Virginia Beach, or even dining at the famous Smithfield Inn are planned regularly, weather permitting of course.

“The Crossings is a rental community, not a long-term care facility that requires significant upfront payments. This provides flexibility,” Christel explains. Aside from their monthly rent, Crossings’ residents only pay a one-time community fee before moving in. That fee is waived for veterans.

“We understand that making the decision to move from one’s own home into independent or assisted living isn’t easy,” Christel insists. “For some, the daunting task of clearing out their homes can be stressful and overwhelming enough to put off the decision. But it doesn’t have to be that way.”

Some realty companies have senior teams that specialize in helping clients who need assistance with downsizing. Several residents at The Crossings, including Ercel, have used the services of Arange, a Hampton Roads-based professional organizing firm, that has developed a reputation for helping seniors move into assisted living.

Armed with scaled floor plans of the new apartments, Arange co-owners Richard Lecours and Lisa Dailey meet with clients in their homes to discuss what they want and need to take with them.

“Most people have a lot in their homes, but they don’t love all of it,” Richard says. With some talking and measuring, they are able to whittle the list down into one that is viable for the new space.

On moving day, Arange oversees the entire operation and takes care of everything. They hang the artwork and photographs on the walls, restock the medicine cabinet identically to the one that was in the client’s home and even make up the bed.

“None of the stress of moving falls on the client,” Richard adds. “We focus on making this a positive experience for them.”

Ercel is very happy with her decision to move to The Crossings. “Giving up the car was harder than giving up the house,” she says. “The main reason I stayed for so long was the garden. I hated to leave because I always had something in bloom — irises, lilies, jonquils.”

Ercel always loved working in her yard and garden. A staff member is now helping her bring a bit of her garden to her new home by transplanting flower bulbs and some of her garden decorations to her new home.

These days Ercel continues doing what she’s always done so generously - spreading her infectious energy to those around her.

“She is a joy to be around,” Christel says. “People like her brighten my days.”

The Crossings at Harbour View

5871 Harbour View Blvd.
Suffolk, VA 23435