Loving Life–Right at Home
By Christy Brudin
She was the love of his life. He was the husband of her dreams. Now, she honors his memory by loving life.
“I married the perfect boy. He was wonderful to me,” Mary Elizabeth “Sweets” Summers said of her late husband, George Maynard Summers. “I really couldn’t have had a better husband.”
At 97, Sweets is still active and involved in the local community. A fiercely independent woman, she is committed to remaining in the home she shared with her husband. “Maynard was my life, and I wanted to stay here with all my memories of him after he passed away—that’s all I
wanted,” said Sweets.
With the help of Right at Home, an in-home care and assistance agency, Sweets is getting her wish. Now providing 24-hour care for Sweets, the agency also cared for Maynard for six years before his death.
Maynard was one of the local Right at Home franchise’s first clients. When he turned 100 in 2006, he also became the company’s first client to reach that milestone birthday.
“As soon as I met the Summers, I knew they would be one of my favorite couples,” recalled Carole Luber, co-owner of Right at Home of Frederick, Howard, Carroll and Washington Counties with her husband, Steve. “They just had this wonderful sense of humor and quite an interesting history.”
That history began in an unlikely place. When asked where she met her husband, Sweets demurred. “I hate to tell you,” she said. With a little encouragement, she admitted that their love affair began in a bar—but it wasn’t love at first sight, at least not for her.
“I didn’t like him at first,” admitted Sweets, who initially gave Maynard a fake name when he approached her. “He ended up finding me anyway, and we fell in love and that was that.”
Only after they began dating did Sweets learn of Maynard’s impressive athleticism. “He was quite the athlete,” she recalled. Maynard was a well-known high school track star. During his heyday, he competed against Jesse Owens, who went on to become an Olympic gold medalist.
After graduating, Maynard got the chance to try out for the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics. While he was eliminated in one of the final trials before the Olympics, Maynard always treasured the time he spent running.
When Maynard returned to his native Frederick, he began a lucrative jukebox business. It was this business that brought him to the infamous bar and into Sweets’ life.
Sweets became his wife in 1941. She also became his business partner, helping to empty and restock the jukeboxes while Maynard was in the service. Through the years, she provided assistance with Maynard’s various businesses, including several successful real estate ventures. “He was the smartest businessman around,” Sweets remembered. “He had his nose in everything.”
When Maynard started to experience some health problems, the couple enlisted the help of Right at Home. With their assistance, Sweets was able to care for him until his passing. After he passed away, she continued to live in their home independently for several years.
Last summer, a severe bladder infection that went undetected for some time sent Sweets to the hospital—and then to a rehabilitation facility. With characteristic spunk, she quickly proved that she was ready to return to her beloved home.
“I had to do all these exercises, and I put a stop to that. The therapist told me to pedal the hand bike for five minutes, and I did it for 20. He said he couldn’t do that himself,” Sweets recalled with a smile.
Even though she was quickly regaining her strength, Sweets knew she would need help to return to her home. Luckily, her close family friend and power of attorney, Judy Remsberg, knew where to turn.
Recalling how they had cared for Maynard, Judy immediately called Right at Home. “Maynard would be so happy to know that Right at Home is now helping Sweets,” Judy said. “He knew that they genuinely cared, and that they would pamper his wife just the way he liked to do.”
With a dual focus on professional care and personal connections, Right at Home has been assisting local seniors and their families for 10 years. Even though their business has grown immensely in the last decade, the company remains committed to putting clients first and to helping every individual achieve their best possible quality of life—all while surrounded by the comforts of home.
“We have such a heart for seniors,” said Carole. “But it is also an honor to care for adults who may be suffering from Parkinson’s, ALS, Cancer, Heart Disease, and Alzheimer’s, or anyone recovering from surgery who may just need help at home with bathing, dressing, light housekeeping, meal preparation, transportation, medicine assistance and/or administration.”
With the help of her Right at Home caregivers, Sweets continues to maintain her active and independent lifestyle. Asked for the secret to her good health and longevity, Sweets said, “Don’t stay sick. Don’t worry about a thing. And eat everything you want—mostly chocolate. Eat ice cream for breakfast if you want.” Words to live by from a woman who is still loving life.