NEWINGTON – Throughout her 94 years, Marie Milardo has tried to be positive. Sometimes being upbeat was difficult, especially when her husband, Michael, was serving in the U.S. Army Air Corps, first in World War II and then in the Korean War. She held down the family home in Newington and raised their two sons, David and Mark.
“I had to make a lot of decisions by myself,” said Milardo, a Jefferson House resident.
It was a wonderful neighborhood – children played in everyone’s yards and there were often get-togethers.
“You have to grow the kids before you grow the grass,” she said, laughing. She was a legal stenographer, then after earning her degree, she became a fifth-grade teacher and later a reading consultant in Newington schools.
“I couldn’t wait to get up and go to class. It was the best job in the world,” she said.
Marie and Michael Milardo imparted important values to their sons, including the honor of serving their country.
“Our family served 66 years in total,” she said proudly as she looked at the American flag on display in her room at Jefferson House. The flag was presented to her following her husband’s death in 1999.
She remained independent, even volunteering for six years at John Wallace Middle School in Newington, where her son, David, was principal.
However, as she got older, she knew an independent or assisted living community would be safest. In July 2010, she moved to Cedar Mountain Commons at 3 John H. Stewart Drive. It wasn’t long before she became known as Cedar Mountain Commons’ “cheerleader,” giving tours, telling many friends about her new home and joining in nearly every activity, especially playing games. “I loved it there; the people were wonderful.”
Earlier this year Milardo had health problems and acknowledged that she needed a higher level of care but did not want a personal health aide. Instead she chose to transition on the same campus to Jefferson House at 1 John H. Stewart Drive, where she could receive skilled nursing while maintaining her independence.
Milardo has made her new room her home, surrounding herself with family photos and things she loves. She is getting involved in activities and making new friends. Se’s hoping to resume playing bridge and connecting with experienced players.
“I’m glad I can still get my feet on the floor and have a good time,” she said.
Jefferson House, a department of Hartford Hospital, offers short-term/outpatient rehabilitation, skilled nursing and palliative care. For more information about Jefferson House, click here. Cedar Mountain Commons, a department of Hartford Hospital, is a not-for-profit independent and assisted living community.