Being 20

In early February, 2015, I will be turning 70.

I’ve been thinking a great deal about this milestone. I’m pretty sure 70 is not considered young or even middle-aged by anyone under, well, 70!

I’ve been living the senior, retired life for a few years now and it’s been pretty good. Free bus Wednesdays, discounts once a month at local drugstores (and you’ve got to believe we frequent pharmacies a lot these days), special status on VIA rail, and senior coffees at various cafes and bistros.

But my mind has been turning back to my childhood, my youth, and my middle years.

1965

I turned 20. I was finally out of my teen-aged years but not quite, according to the law of the land in those days, an adult.

  • I was in my fourth year at university, studying arts and education.
  • I still lived at home with most of my brothers and sisters, and I used to run up the hill every day in my effort to get to class on time. Successful most of the time.
  • On weekends and in the summer, I had to be home by 10:30, and I was!
  • In May, I graduated with an education degree.
  • I was hired, by letter, to teach elementary school in Edmonton, Alberta, about 3,000 km (2,000 m) from my home in Nova Scotia.
  • I travelled by plane for the first time. Halifax – Edmonton.
  • I started teaching Grade 1.
  • I met my husband-to-be on September 19.
  • At Christmas time we drove from Edmonton to Fort Smith, NWT, to spend Christmas with John’s family.
  • On Boxing Day (the day after Christmas) John and I decided to get married and go to Zambia, in Africa, to work as volunteers. (Our next anniversary will be our 49th.)

There were many changes in my life the year I was 20. I left home, travelled, and fell in love.

What could be more exciting than that?

Thanks for reading. Enjoy your day.

– Maureen

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10 Things I Love About Canada

I have lived in Canada for all of my life except for two years in Zambia as a newlywed and two years in the Chicago area in my mid forties.  People who criticize their country are all around us but I think it is time for a little praise.

  1. Nova Scotia.  Nova Scotia is my home and will always be in my heart.  Life is slower there and people take time to get to know you.  There is nowhere in Nova Scotia that is more than 50 miles from the ocean.  This is where I swam when I was a child.  Not very busy, is it? 
    Grandpa”s Beach near Antigonish, Nova Scotia.
  2. Quebec.  I love that we have a province where French is the main language.  My Dad was French Canadian but he never taught us to speak French.  All four of our daughters speak French and are very much at home in Quebec.  Our grandchildren are learning it as well and seem very comfortable giving a presentation in French at school.
  3. My daughter Carla took this photo last spring while walking in the Bois Franc in Montreal.

     3.  Manitoba.  We lived in Winnipeg for six years and we loved our time there.  It is “big sky country” and is so beautiful.  There are a lot of wheat farms in Manitoba and it is a treat to see huge fields of it waving in the wind.  We discovered one of the most beautiful beaches on Lake Winnipeg while we lived  there and we visited often.  Now my nephew and his family live in Manitoba.  This photo came from him.

    Grand Beach, Lake Winnipeg. Around 10:30 p.m.

  4.  Alberta.  I met my husband in Edmonton, the capital of Alberta.  Many of his brothers and sisters still live in the province.  There are flat, fertile farms and high, majestic mountains. The Rocky Mountains are beautiful and the two national parks, Jasper and Banff are known around the world for the wildlife and the scenery.
  5. British Columbia.  Vancouver held the recent Winter Olympics and is an amazing city with mountains on one side and the ocean on the other.  It also has my grandson, Emil, who lives on Burnaby Mountain.  I have three brothers and a sister who live in BC.  as well. Vancouver Island is full of natural beauty, lakes, mountains, and wildlife.  Watch for bears!
  6. The North.  My hubby is from the Northwest Territories, which lies north of  the 60th parallel.  When I first visited there, it was -50F and the sun rose around 10:00 a.m. and set around 2:30 p.m.  In the summer it is the opposite.  It never really gets dark at all for a few weeks. The Wood Buffalo Park is there and I even saw a couple of those huge animals when I was visiting there. 

    Spectacular scenery in the Northwest Territories. Courtesy our niece, Sue.

     

  7.  I love our health care system.  My grandson, who is hearing impaired, has had eight surgeries.  His family had to pay nothing for any of them.  He has two cochlear implants.  Each surgery costs between $45,000 and $125,000.  Cost to the family – zero!  There are sometimes waiting periods but it is really nothing.  My friend’s husband recently had a heart attack.  Within hours he had an MRI,Cat Scan, Echo Cardiogram and any test he needed.  Cost to the family – nothing.  The peace of mind it brings is priceless.
  8. I love our winter sports and activities (and the summer ones as well).  There is nowhere that is far from the countryside and all towns have a hockey or ice skating rink.  There is skiing, downhill and cross-country.  Skating on the Rideau Canal in Ottawa.

    My granddaughter, Brynn, skiing last winter, in Ottawa.

  9. Ontario.  Niagara Falls.  Canada’s Wonderland.  Ontario Place.  Rideau Canal.  Algonquin Park.  Sandbanks.  Houses of Parliament.  Queen’s Park.  The Blue Jays.  The Senators.  The Maple Leafs.  The Tiger Cats.  The Argonauts.  Lake Ontario.  Lake Huron.  Lake Superior.  Lake of the Woods.  I could go on and on.
  10. We are a country that is welcoming and supportive of people in need.  Refugees have always been able to find a home here.  We are quick to offer assistance to the victims of floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, storms, earthquakes, and other natural and man-made disasters.  We are tolerant and allow others to be themselves and teach our children acceptance. 

Canada is a great place to live.  I am sure those of my readers who live in other countries could write about their particular homeland.  I’d like to hear from you about what you love about your country.  Maybe I’ll visit your part of the world one day.