October 24, 2023
When Dee Hostetler moved into The Watermark at Morrison Ranch in 2018, the lifelong dancer etched herself into the retirement community’s history by becoming its very first resident.
Now the community in Gilbert, Arizona, which is about 20 miles southeast of Phoenix, is celebrating its fifth anniversary, so the folks who work there planned a big celebration. A pie-eating contest happened, there was barbecue, and a cotton candy stand even made an appearance. And music, of course, by a local bluegrass band, and line dancing led by the Fred Astaire Dance School.
And Dee Hostetler was there as well. How can you have a fifth anniversary celebration without your first resident? And the folks at The Watermark at Morrison Ranch knew that it wouldn’t be enough to simply have her there. They wanted to honor Dee Hostetler for being first, for having been a good and friendly neighbor for five years, and for her life dedicated to dance, as a performer and a teacher.
So, the folks at The Watermark at Morrison Ranch surprised Hostetler with something uniquely special.
Hostetler has been dancing since she was in kindergarten, and her performances and teaching have earned her a place on stages all over the nation. One of those stages is at the nearby Queen Creek Performing Arts Center. Molly Jacobs is director of the Queen Creek Performing Arts Center and someone who has performed with Hostetler, so the folks at The Watermark at Morrison Ranch surprised Hostetler with a virtual call from Jacobs during the fifth anniversary celebration.
“Dee, your wonderful friends bought you a seat at the theater,” Jacobs told Hostetler and all the partygoers.
To celebrate both Hostetler’s lifelong passion for dance and her standing as the first resident, the community gifted her a seat at the Queen Creek Performing Arts Center, complete with a placard with her name on it. And naturally, Dee Hostetler’s own personal seat is in row “D.” Where else could it be?
“She had tears of joy and was telling everyone what an honor this was to her,” said Rebecca Mitchell, community life director at Morrison Ranch. “She kept saying how blessed she felt, and how much she enjoys the other residents and living at the community.”
Tears of joy is an appropriate response to such a thoughtful gift from the folks at The Watermark at Morrison Ranch: Dee Hostetler’s own seat, in row D to match her name.
Perhaps it’s a good thing her first name isn’t Zee.