Gigi and Chip met on the board of Habitat for Humanity in Lancaster County. Gigi, a retired music teacher from Lancaster, was the secretary, and Chip, an Air Force veteran from Florence, was the treasurer. They came as a delightful surprise to one another as both were widowed and did not think they would find that type of love again. After a year of friendship and discovering that they were both single, Gigi asked Chip to dance at the organization’s gala. Gigi smiled and said, “I had no idea where it would lead, but it’s turned out quite well.” Chip nodded, took Gigi’s hand, and replied, “And it was the best thing that could have happened to me. I feel so blessed.”
The two love birds have been together for ten years, married for seven years, and members of The Lakes at Litchfield for a little over three years. When it came time for them to find a continued care community, they visited several in South Carolina, but were not fond of any of those types of “facilities.” Both Gigi and Chip grew up vacationing on the Carolina coast and said that when they came to visit The Lakes at Litchfield, the decision to join the community was a “no brainer.” They live in a beautiful, spacious house and feel completely independent. Their favorite thing about living in the community is the deep and valued friendships they have made. One of their friends told them they moved into the community because they knew that if they were absent from dinner, someone would miss them, and Chip confirmed that it really is like that. He said, “We all look out for each other. We all feel like we are in the same boat and that’s something that really makes it worthwhile to get up every morning.”
Gigi and Chip are busy bees and very active. Gigi laughed, “Oh, if Chip learns of an activity that The Lakes is offering, he thinks, oh yeah, we are signing up for that.” They both begin their days with devotional and mindful meditation. They exercise regularly by taking walks in the community or at the beach. Chip even taught Gigi how to kayak. Gigi and a few other members started a book club and they have a decent size group that meets monthly. Instead of a dining room, the couple has a music room where Gigi plays the piano and Chip plays the guitar. They both enjoy being involved with The Lakes community as well as Georgetown County’s community. They are members at Belin Church and Brookgreen Gardens, and they love attending the Pawleys Island Festival of Music and Art. Within the last year, they have donated to 34 charities, but the philanthropies they feel most strongly about and contribute to the most are American Red Cross, Samaritan’s Purse, and All4Paws.
This sweet couple is beyond excited for this summer. Before their marriage, Chip only had one child and one grandchild. Thanks to Gigi, he now has four children, nine grandchildren, two great-grandchildren, and some more on the way. Gigi’s side of the family has always had an annual beach trip, but due to the pandemic, they have not all seen each other in “way too long.” For this past Christmas, Chip gifted Gigi a week-long rental of a beautiful beach house in North Litchfield that sleeps 22. Their entire blended family is coming in from all over, California, Texas, and even England. For Christmas, their family usually does a big gift exchange where they all bring a present and draw names. So this year, they are having Christmas in July to make up for last year.
A big part of the vacation that the family treasures is cooking together. They do not go out to eat and instead, take turns being head chef and make meals that are full of love and yummy goodness. Gigi has kindly shared her favorite summertime pie which you can read below. It is traditionally made with peaches, but Gigi clarified that the dessert is also delicious with strawberries. It is not only tasty, but it is also a visually pleasing dish that her family “ooh’s and aah’s” over. We could all learn a thing or two from Chip and Gigi, but most importantly, they show us that it is never too late to live in your dream home or community and that it is certainly never too late to find true love.
Holman House Peach Pie
1 cup flour
½ cup margarine
½ cup chopped pecans
10 oz 7Up soda
1 cup sugar
4 tbsp cornstarch
2 tbsp peach Jell-O (or strawberry)
8oz cream cheese (softened)
1 cup powdered sugar
8oz cool whip
3-4 sliced peaches (or several strawberries)
Mix flour, margarine, and pecans together and press crust in a pie pan
Bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees, let crust cool
Mix 7UP, sugar, cornstarch, and Jell-O together, cook 5 minutes or until thick, let glaze cool
Mix cream cheese, powdered sugar, and cool whip, put on top of the crust in the pie pan
Mix peaches with glaze, put on top of the cheese mixture
Refrigerate until ready to serve