For as long as he can remember, Tom Norman has enjoyed hobbies. From crafting clocks to building and flying (“and crashing,” he added) remote-controlled airplanes, he has always liked working with his hands. Tom spent decades as a professional carpenter, just like his father. Ever since he built his late wife a house in 1948, he had his own workshop in the basement to fixed anything and everything around their home.
So, you can see why he thought moving to a senior living community in 2017 would be a big adjustment. Much to his delight, though, Tom found he didn’t have to give up his hobbies when he moved to Westwood Ridge in West St. Paul. In fact, Tom—at 92 years old—has found a new hobby: 3D printing.
It all started when his grandson, Charlie, came to visit Tom at Westwood Ridge. Charlie brought his 3D printer to demonstrate, but Tom was eager to get his own once he learned how to use the machine. Now Charlie visits once a week to work on projects with his grandpa.
“Charlie really helps me. We work well together,” explained Tom. “He helped me learn, and he finds new projects for us to do. He was the one who introduced me to this hobby, so I’m glad we can still do it together.” Tom has made all kinds of things with his printer. Turtles, model houses, piggy banks, clocks… and even airplanes. His next goal is to make a model 1928 Ford, just like his friend drove during their senior year of high school.
“My projects bring back memories,” he said, “and working with my hands keeps me busy. There are all kinds of templates online that I can make. I like finding new designs to create." For Tom, the best part of his new hobby is that he can do it all from the comfort of home. But when he leaves his apartment, he finds a welcoming, friendly community.
“I’d have to look really hard to find something to complain about at Walker Methodist. It’s exceptional. The people and team are great,” he shared. “From life enrichment and activities to housekeeping, everyone is kind and has a smile. I’m so glad I’m here.”