Gertrude Skehan is a jigsaw puzzle enthusiast. She says she’s looking for a “larger table to build a larger puzzle.”
Her enjoyment for completing challenges such as puzzles perhaps stems from her days as a seawoman in the Navy.
“I just wanted to make a change in my life,” said Skehan, a resident at The Chelsea at Manalapan, a leading Assisted Living community in Monmouth County. “I was dissatisfied. I didn’t have much choice, so I decided to go into the Navy.”
Originally from Woonsocket, Rhode Island, Skehan was trying to find more meaning in her life and thought enlisting in the Navy was the best thing for her.
She was stationed in Corpus Christi, TX, where she was responsible for sending and receiving hourly observations about the weather patterns. It was 1950 during the Korean War and women were not allowed to go into battle or even on ships.
Despite that, she’s still grateful for her time in the Navy.
“I was very shy and I think it helped me overcome that,” she said.
It’s also the place where she met her husband. They married while in the Navy and she was also due with their first child. After 2 ½ years, she was forced to leave.
When her husband finished his time in the service, they both worked part time at the original Pepperidge Farm in Pennsylvania while he went back to college on the G.I. Bill.
Eventually they moved to Freehold, NJ, where they raised their two daughters.
After living in the house alone for some time, Skehan and her daughters decided it was time for her to downsize and get the help she needed.
She has been at The Chelsea at Manalapan for eight years and thoroughly enjoys it.
“The aides have all been very thoughtful and helpful,” she said. “And people work hard to entertain us. I think the past eight years have been good for me.”