From The Red Carpet to Willow Valley Communities

The Fall 2022 issue of Willow is right around the corner! This #WillowWednesday we wanted to share one of our favorite past articles, From The Red Carpet to Willow Valley Communities. Starring actress Emma Stone who made a visit to Willow Valley Communities to visit her grandmother! Read the full article below.

As Willow Valley residents and guests filled their plates with Southern- style barbecue and took their seats at tables decorated with canning jars full of colorful zinnias and seasonal flowers, they looked to the stage, anticipating a unique guest. The folksy sounds of banjos, guitars, and mandolins quieted, and Willow Valley resident Jean Morgan stood to introduce a visitor very near and dear to her heart: her 23-year-old granddaughter, Emma Stone.

In the close-knit community of Willow Valley, each visiting child and grandchild is cherished. Yet, as Jean spoke, it became clear that this particular guest was very special to a much larger audience and spent her days on a stage much larger than any at Willow Valley. “At the age of 15, Emma convinced her family to allow her to move to Hollywood,” Jean said. “At 17, she landed her first role in a movie.” Since then, Emma has gone on to star in 16 movies and host Saturday Night Live twice. Her image has graced the cover of countless magazines. She is the face of Revlon. She has been featured on Good Morning America, The Today Show, and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, among others. “Many of you may remember her as Skeeter from the movie The Help, the critically acclaimed film about civil rights in 1960’s Jackson, Mississippi,” Jean said. “And while the public sees Emma walking the red carpet and presenting Oscar awards, I know her as a loving and thoughtful granddaughter who is even more beautiful on the inside than she is on the outside.” Then Emma took the stage and spoke of her affection for Willow Valley and Lancaster County. “This is such an incredible place to get away from the hustle and bustle of New York City—I love Lancaster so much!” she said, before rejoining her family’s table for dinner and graciously mingling with and charming the other guests.

Coffee with Neanie

It’s clear that one of Emma Stone’s most cherished roles is being Jean Morgan’s granddaughter. Over morning coffee in her grandparents’ well–appointed living room, Emma spoke about the family gatherings she’s enjoyed at Willow Valley. As three generations—grandmother, mother, and granddaughter—laughed, talked and shared memories, Emma recalled, “The first time I came here, I was just blown away. Everything is so nice. The size and the quality of everything are just outstanding. And what we can talk about together and what we share here is completely different than anything else I experience.” Jean—whom Emma calls “Neanie”— added, “We don’t talk about her career when we get together. We talk about all of the other things that matter so much more. Sometimes, we just pull out old baby pictures and talk about when Emily Jean was little.”

Emma Stone spoke with great affection for the entire Lancaster area, an easy 3-hour drive from her home in New York City, and especially for the vibrant local art scene, music and restaurants.

Some of their favorite memories include the tea parties Jean used to throw for her grandchild. “Oh, Neanie put on a good tea party,” said Emma. This fun and vivacious grandmother would pull out all the stops, serving tea and goodies on her beautiful china. The pair would dress up and lose themselves in imaginary play. In addition to creating their own fantastical worlds, Emma and her mother would also occasionally travel to New York with Neanie and take in Broadway plays like Les Miserables and Annie, two of Emma’s childhood favorites. Her first ever New York play was The Fantasticks. These days, Jean and Emma still enjoy the theater together, but with significantly less anonymity as flashbulbs tend to follow wherever Emma goes. And sometimes, Jean gets to join Emma on the red carpet, like at the Hollywood premiere of The Amazing Spider-Man, in which Emma played the role of Peter Parker’s love. Emma reprises that role in “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” and has several other film projects underway. “I’m just so proud of her,” said Jean. “I’m bursting with pride.” Not surprisingly, Emma credits much of who she is today to the love and guidance she receives from her Neanie “Whenever we’re talking about life, Neanie, I just learn so much from you,” Emma said. “You do?” Jean asked. Nodding emphatically, her eyes filled with love, Emma said, “Yes, I really do.” In the warmth of her grandparents’ living room, nestled in the beautiful Lancaster countryside, Emma Stone, star of the silver screen, is clearly content to simply be Emily Jean, beloved grandchild to Willow Valley resident Jean Morgan.

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