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A Lost Letter Just One of Many Memories, Stories at Vista del Monte

Two residents share a laugh over 'special delivery' of World War II correspondence

Don Stillman, a resident at Vista del Monte Retirement Community, was shot down over Hungary on Aug. 22, 1944. The aviator in the Air Force’s 96th Bomb Group flying out of Snetterton, England, was detained in a World War II POW camp. His parents received the news: Missing in Action. He was their only child.

Charlotte Ellen had been writing newsworthy letters to her longtime friend when one day she received her returned letter — Missing in Action. She tucked the letter away.

Stillman and Ellen lived in the same neighborhood when they were in kindergarten. Stillman would hide while throwing dirt clods at Ellen, sending her home dirty and making her parents incensed at some naughty child’s actions. Little did he realize that same girl’s daddy would one day be the principal and later his boss at Santa Barbara High School after returning home from the war. He says he never brought up the incident over his childish misbehavior.

In recent months, Ellen found her new home at Vista del Monte Retirement Community, 3775 Modoc Road. As she was going through moving boxes, she discovered the memorable letter. As the story unfolds, she chose a morning when Stillman was eating breakfast in Vista del Monte’s dining room, and walked over to his table, handed him the letter saying, “Special Delivery.” Stillman stared at the letter — Missing In Action. He turned it over and quipped, “Slow mail — 66 years to get here!”

Many more stories like this one add to the flavor of Vista del Monte’s vibrant residents living at our not-for-profit community. We are the only continuing care retirement community in Santa Barbara not requiring that enormous up-front entrance fee. Our 9½-acre beautifully landscaped campus is located in Hidden Valley, a residential area not more than five minutes to downtown Santa Barbara and one mile to the beach.

Four levels of care — independent living, assisted, living and memory care — and a five-star nursing center are within short walks across our greenbelt. Our parent company, Burbank-based Front Porch, owns and operates several other retirement communities in California, Florida and Louisiana. The organization supports its communities with a stable financial base, a wide range of management services, and governance through a volunteer board of directors of diverse professionals.

Vista del Monte currently has one- and two-bedroom vacancies. Call marketing director Jana Smith for a tour and lunch at 805.687.0793 and experience the fun of living life your way.

Click here for more information on Vista del Monte Retirement Center, or call 800.736.1333.

— Jana Smith is marketing director at Vista del Monte Retirement Community.

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