John Fong and his partner, Colin Johnstone, lived in the Philadelphia area for many years. John worked as Director of Haverford State Hospital, and Colin worked at the University of Pennsylvania’s Veterinary School. They met through friends out one night in Philadelphia while in residency, and have been together ever since. When John and Colin were retiring, they initially decided to move to Boston, but eventually, the rough winter weather led them to reconsider where they wanted to live long term. They decided to move into Cartmel, one of Kendal-Crossland’s 50+ communities about 7 years ago.
John and Colin live very active lives, taking care of their two schnauzer puppies, and being involved in many committees and activities at Kendal-Crosslands and beyond. While he thought it took some time to adjust to the community, it has been wonderful, and he and Colin both seem very much at home and happy in their art and memory-filled home in Cartmel.
Art in Many Forms
John has always loved art and makes beautiful jewelry, using a weaving technique that you can see in the pictures. John is also an accomplished portrait artist, and you can see that he captures the spirit of many of the people he paints, with an insight he has from his years working as a psychiatrist. When he showed me a portrait he had done of a mutual friend who lives at Crosslands, you could see that he captured some of Bonnie’s essence in the picture, combining not just artistry but a sense of the person in the representation. He even has done a portrait of a Bishop that will soon be part of a memorial to this man in Tanzania.
“I knew when we were looking to move from Boston, I wanted to live independently, but just didn’t want all the headaches of home maintenance any longer. It was too soon to move into Crosslands for us, and we’re both in such good health- Cartmel was a good choice for us.”
Many of the people who live in Cartmel and Coniston, Kendal-Crossland’s 50+ communities, chose to move to Kendal at Longwood or Crosslands after a few years, to take advantage of the Life Plan benefits and health care. By having lived in the 50+ communities, the residents already know many community members and have been part of the various groups and committees, so the transition is often seamless.
John loves to cook, but appreciates the additional housekeeping and maintenance they get at Cartmel. “We’re able to do what we want, but not have the same burden of upkeep we had in our other homes.” John and Colin both agreed that the quality of life here is important, and they were both glad that the restrictions that have been in place for the pandemic are changing and improving.
Staying Engaged and Changing Perceptions
John and Colin are also collectors, and have a wonderful collection of original artwork from pre-1900 by Japanese women- and the rare work is currently part of an exhibition book published by the Denver Museum of Art this past September!
“In pre-1900 Japan few women were encouraged to become professional artists and pursue art seriously. In some situations, male family members who recognized and supported the artistic talent of a female relative could arrange for her to receive further training. …In Tradition and Triumph Andrew L. Maske showcases art created by Japanese women from the 1600s through the 1900s. Ranging from works on silk and paper to ceramics, the art of important women artists is represented along with pieces by male artists who trained and championed them. Assembled by John Fong and Colin Johnstone, who gifted the works to the Denver Art Museum, this collection is believed to be the largest group of works of this type outside of Japan.”
Sharing Passions with Others
It’s clear that John loves the arts, and he loves sharing this passion with others.
“I help run the pottery and metal work studios at Crosslands, twice a week. I love to social aspect of it and the joy of sharing this with others. I love showing someone what they can do and accomplish on their own with a little practice and perseverance.”
For those looking to try new things and explore new areas, Kendal-Crosslands Communities has many of these opportunities- but it’s not like going to a “Color Me Mine” pottery painting experience. Here, residents spend time learning and honing skills, and learn through trial and error. There are many accomplished artists, like John, but also people trying different skills for the first time. With a supportive community, you might just find a new talent you never knew you had.
Thinking About a 50+ Community?
Consider Coniston & Cartmel
John and Colin found exactly what they were looking for in Cartmel- a community of like-minded people, who cherish their independence, but want to give up the hassles of home ownership and maintenance. John & Colin found the perfect balance in Cartmel. If you’d like to learn more, just click below to download our new brochure!