- Written by Jessica Riel
- Published: 20 October 2017
Regina LoBello: “It’s a wonderful service.”
In the center of the small New England town of Whately, Mass., Regina LoBello lives in a beautiful home built in 1763, just over a decade before the American Independence. Flags flutter outside the house, and in the garden, flowers grow to make nectar for the bees. Behind the house, the grass stretches back to a vista overlooking the Pioneer Valley and the mountains beyond. After many years away, building a life with her husband, family, and several family businesses, Regina returned here to her childhood home. “I do feel very comfortable here,” says Regina. “I hope I can stay as long as possible.”
When Regina was ten years old, she moved with her family to this house, where she spent her childhood years. Soon enough, it was time for high school. “At that time we had a choice of either going to Northampton High School or (it was called) Deerfield High School. Of course, being from the country, Northampton was the city to me, and I wanted to go to the city. So I went to Northampton High School.”
Northampton High was where Regina met her husband, Vincent. “We were high school sweethearts,” she says. After graduation, “he went to college and I went into nurse’s training,” Regina explains, and then they were married.
“Three years after we were married, we opened the first nursing home in Easthampton, Massachusetts.” They ran the business for 15 years. “With two little children, I don’t know how we did it.”
After selling the business, Vincent became a business manager at a local private school. “I opened a ladies dress shop at the Hadley Village Barn Shops,” says Regina, which she ran for several years, until the family decided to sell the store and buy a restaurant in Ogunquit, Maine.
“The name of the restaurant was Vincent’s,” says Regina. “We were known for our prime rib. And then my husband passed away after ten years of business.” Regina’s son had gone to school for hotel and restaurant management, and he, his wife, and Regina continued to run the restaurant. “My two daughters worked there also, while they were in college, waitressing and doing all kinds of odd jobs. So it was a family business, which was wonderful.”
Then, in the early 1990s, Regina moved back to the family home in Whately. “The house really needed a lot of work. My mom and dad, you know, they were very content with things the way they were, and they basically lived downstairs. The upstairs had not had any attention in a long, long time. So I set out to restore the house,” says Regina, “and I opened a bed and breakfast.” Regina says that the process of restoring the home and opening a new business was “really great medicine” after the loss of her husband. “It kept me so busy and so focused and all – it was really grand.”
Regina enjoyed running a B&B. “It was just wonderful. I just met so many people from all over the country. I had clients even that came over from Germany, England, and Scotland.” Many of her guests were visiting Historic Deerfield and other local places of interest or were the family of students at Deerfield Academy, and would return year after year. “They just got to be part of the family. I would think, ‘You know where your room is.’ I enjoyed that an awful lot.”
After about 15 years, says Regina, “it just was time to give it up. It got to be a lot.”
Around 2011, Regina began to lose her vision, “but I could still manage,” she says. A few years later, in the early hours of Christmas morning, Regina had a heart attack. It was then that a woman in her town told her about LifePath. Regina called and was matched with Laurie Dickson, a case manager, who set Regina up with home care services.
“The services are mainly to do my grocery shopping and to make sure that my kitchen and bathroom and everything are clean,” says Regina. “I feel so good once that gal has been here and gone! I know that things are the way they should be and that the spiders haven’t taken over the house. In an old home, that isn’t even a joke. They do love old homes.”
Regina’s daughter who lives in eastern Massachusetts comes a couple times a month to stay for a bit, catching up with her mom and lending a hand. Just recently, she enjoyed getting some fresh air with her son out on her back lawn, hitting golf balls into the horizon. “It’s just wonderful to be outside.”
Regina feels that, if she were to need more assistance, she has options with LifePath.
“I think you’re all just wonderful,” says Regina. “It’s a wonderful service.”