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Sally Recinos


Student, Teacher, Gardener

Energetic, committed, determined and involved all describe Sally Recinos’ life as a student, teacher, gardener as well as wife, mother and grandmother long before she moved to Goodwin House in 2016. Most of them still apply to her busy life today. During the entire time, she has rarely strayed far from her Arlington roots. Early years she lived about a mile from here in the Barcroft Apartments and watched the steam engines of the W O and D railroad fill up from the water tank across the street and the National Guard practice marching in the adjacent field. Her high school years were spent at Wakefield High School and then, venturing to Pittsburgh, at Chatham College. Marriage and the birth of a son brought her back to this area where she graduated from George Washington University with a degree in Psychology. Then it was on to graduate school with the plan of becoming a high school psychologist or guidance counselor. The birth of a second son brought about a change in plans.

Sally with her father 


Sally at Wakefield High School Homecoming


In the mid 1970’s, now with three sons, Sally volunteered as an elementary school art teacher through a program taught by Fairfax County Public Schools to compensate for the lack art teachers. This led to a paid (very little) position as an aide in a new class for students with learning disabilities mandated by the federal government. Convinced by now that teaching was her ‘calling’ she went back to school to become certified in K-7 education. Her first class was a sixth grade at Orange Hunt Elementary. “It was a wonderful place. Active parents, engaged students and an upbeat and involved administration made the next five years a delight.” But the need to try something different called and when FCPS, in need of high school math teachers, started a program designed to certify interested FCPS employees Sally was up for it. Twenty years of teaching twelve different math courses at Fairfax High School and it was time to retire and travel a bit with her husband, Adrian.

Retirement allowed time for aerobics and Pilates at the community center and training as a Fairfax County Master Gardener. There was now time for membership in the oldest local garden club, Ayr Hill, which was the original name of Vienna, her home for 45 years. It also allowed time for caring for first her mother and then her husband as their health declined.

After eight years as a widow Sally decided that labors of love, her house and garden, had become simply labors. She was also keenly aware of the amount of care even healthy people may need at the end of their lives. Determined that she not leave important decisions to her sons, scattered around the country, she began a new life at GHBC. As a member of five resident committees she has ‘transitioned’ many of her past interests to her new venue. The Fitness committee fits in with her determination to stay upright for as long as possible. The Grounds Committee is a natural extension of her master gardener experience. As a member of the Flower Committee, the design skills she picked up with the garden club are used. “This is a much more rewarding way to work with flowers, than doing designs for flower shows. For flower shows, one toils over a design for days to have it displayed for a couple of hours to be critiqued by viewers and awarded one of four ribbons, including an ignominious “honorable mention.” The Green Team was another obvious choice to Sally who became interested in the environment when another Chatham alumna, Rachel Carson, published Silent Spring. Together with A Diet for a Small Planet these books have shaped her concern and actions for all her adult life.

One of Sally's floral arrangements adorns 
a fireplace mantel here at GHBC 


Sally lobbying in Richmond,
shown here with Ann Blacksten,
Delegate Alphonso Lopez, and Carol Lewis

There is no clear link between Sally’s previous life and her membership on the Marketing Committee. When asked about why it interested her she replied, “I am so fortunate to be living at GHBC and think my being here is such a gift to my children that I feel the need to proselytize. I guess it is a type of teaching!” She also has found some new ventures since coming here. Line Dancing is a new favorite and last year’s Spring Fling was a first for performing. Political action is another new undertaking. “Many of my contemporaries were actively marching and protesting in the 60’s and 70’s, but three little boys and an ‘always working’ husband made that impossible for me.” The Silver Panthers has been a great training ground and now Sally has marched, protested, lobbied and written “more postcards than in all the rest of my life.”

There were two things that were especially surprising to Sally after she had lived at GHBC for a while. “I never thought about making new friends when I moved here since I already had many friends in the area. What a joy to find so many interesting and congenial people who didn’t already know my old stories and whose stories I didn’t know.” The other surprise was the exceptional staff here. “These folks are professional and very caring.” This made it an easy decision to agree to work with Claudia Blake on the 2017 Employee Gift Fund.

Many other opportunities at Goodwin House await when present activities subside and Sally clearly looks to the future when she says, “Every day here is an adventure.”


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