Robert & Pamela could be classified as a typical/atypical couple who have been long-term New Jersey residents. Bob and Pam have been together some 47 years now, and they are still talking….in fact they’re thoroughly enjoying life and retirement. Perhaps that is due in no small part to their habit of “taking lemons and making lemonade. ” Bob & Pam’s first big dose of lemons started with a series of automobile accidents in 1984, which left their middle daughter nursing injuries and missing out on the end of junior/beginning of senior years in high school. This inspired her to adapt Ziggy as her role model for her college application essays (yes, the cartoon character, who takes a licking in life and keeps on plugging along). Apparently this went over quite well with college admission officials, along with her great grades, and she wound up off to Caltech with a great financial package. Pam was also injured quite badly in a car accident that year; as part of her lengthy recovery, Pam returned to finish the college degree she had started more than 20 years prior. The whole journey also strengthened the bonds within Bob & Pam’s family, as their three children took on more responsibilities, and Bob found himself being Pam’s number one cheerleader and pitching in more at home.
After graduation, as Bob and Pam’s financial situation improved with Pam’s new career, they decided to diligently save for retirement as well as pay off debts incurred with having three children complete college, and Pam’s education bills. They started to travel a little, mainly flights from NJ to CA to see their daughters and grandchildren on the left coast. One of their daughters is also a financial planner, but they did not think it wise to use a family member as their financial guru. Their daughter recommended Robert Walsh and as they will tell you, it has been a truly enjoyable relationship. Bob & Pam felt that they were normally extremely conservative when it comes to financial matters, but certainly not knowledgeable about making the best investments with their savings. With Robert’s guidance, Bob and Pam built up their retirement fund and also made plans to retire in CA to be near their grandchildren.
In 2004, Bob & Pam retired and moved to CA. They had already purchased their retirement home in CA, before the housing market hit its peak. They decided to drive from NJ, because although they had flown between the coasts, they hadn’t really seen much of the US in between. They took a rather wandering route, over a period of about a week and did some sightseeing along the way. They visited the Natural Bridge in Virginia, the Ryman auditorium, the Country Music Hall of Fame, and Elvis’ estate in Tennessee, Flagstaff and Sedona in Arizona and left US40 in various places to travel the old Route 66. They vowed to see more of the US on future trips.
In 2007, Bob was diagnosed with cancer. After a long year of treatment, and another 6 months to recover his stamina, Bob and Pam went back to making lemonade. Bob started going to the gym during treatment and today he is fit and also has many new friends. Pam had joined Jazzercise before the cancer was diagnosed, and discovered that not only is it a fun way to exercise, but the support they both received from her friends there was phenomenal.
Pam and Bob have made three cross-country drives since then. Each time they vary the route a bit to see something new. They have seen Pella and Amana in Iowa, Mount Rushmore and the Chief Crazy Horse monuments. They took a 20-mile detour from Route 80 in Illinois to see Ronald Reagan’s birthplace, have trekked parts of the Nebraska Badlands and made a loop through Yellowstone to see Old Faithful (and lots of bison). They have seen armadillos walking along the road in Texas, the Buddy Holly Museum in Lubbock, and his original recording studio in Clovis, New Mexico, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, the “new” Grand Ole’ Opry in Tennessee and toured the Corvette museum and the Corvette production plant in Kentucky. (They own an unrestored 1980 Corvette…Bob’s dream car.) Pam and Bob stopped at the national museum and memorial dedicated to the victims of the bombing in Oklahoma City of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. In Little Rock, Arkansas they visited Clinton’s Presidential Library.
Bob and Pam were in PA for the birth of their 4th grandchild, and visited with old neighbors, friends and co-workers from years ago. They have even attended 3 of Lighthouse’s client appreciation outings at Monmouth Raceway. On one return trip, while headed for Bowling Green, Kentucky, rains flooded out much of the 40 in Tennessee, so they changed course and returned home on Route 70. Along the way, they went through Missouri, Kansas and Colorado and stopped in Independence, Missouri at Truman’s Presidential Library.
On their latest cross country drive, a 6 week road-trip, they attended a 4-day shindig for Pam’s 50th high school reunion. They reconnected with people they hadn’t seen for the entire 50 years! They also visited with Bob’s sister in northern NJ, a cousin in Asheville, NC and family in Mountainair, New Mexico, stopped in Las Vegas, spent time in Salt Lake City, and visited family in Columbus, Ohio. On trips back to the east, they enjoy spending time in their old NJ neighborhood and visiting their grandchildren in PA. They are a very busy, great couple!