I sometimes wonder:
What if I hadn’t flown Air Canada back in 1971 and taken EPA instead. Would I have met my husband on another flight another time? What if I hadn’t gone to that particular New Years Eve Dance in 1999 ? Would I have gone to South Korea anyway? And if my sister and her husband hadn’t gone to visit a niece in Cupids in 2002, would I have moved there to live?
Is there such a thing as destiny? Or do I have alternate lives occurring simultaneously playing out the choices I rejected? I know my mind creates many scenarios particularly in dreams. And, it is a matter of routine for me to consider alternatives while making the decisions that have brought me to this moment and this time. Perhaps there is a whole otherness that opted for all the discarded choices. But she is playing out the script on another reel or reels that are not of this place where I am currently writing.
The “what if “ moments I mention above were among the most momentous ones in determining what my life has become though they may not be the most emotional . It would take a book to cover the emotional peaks and valleys of my life and I will pass on that. Some things need to be filed “private” till they become items of analysis and self discovery minus the contaminating negativity. And I am concentrating on the positive aspects of my aging life.
I moved to Cupids as a result of a chance remark made by my brother in law when he visited his niece who lived in that community. It was the domino affect from there on in and I was one little domino in the chain of events.
I ended up buying a house in Cupids and the only other person I knew there was my mother , another domino ,who stayed in what would become my brother in law’s and my sister’s eventual retirement home . There was one other person I knew in the community but he had moved away at that time.
My plan when I moved there was to be near my mother who was aging and to become a part of the community and start a social life that would make us both happy to be there.
The first place I headed for was the skating arena in Bay Roberts. I couldn’t have chosen a better place. There I met five other ladies around my own age who lived in the area though none were from Cupids. We decided to do some learning together. Our first activity was computers which I had some knowledge about. Using the facilities of the local library, I set up a program and taught them the basics of using a computer. We had a marvellous time. It was so much fun that we didn’t want to give up our weekly meetings . So though I continued teaching other people computer skills , this first little group and I continued our rendezvous . We got together in each others’ homes.
We decided to learn crochet. I must confess that I was not an eager beginner. My mother in law had suggested teaching me many times over the years but it held no appeal for me. However I thought I’d give it a try.
Phyllis was the teacher . She was a perfectionist in her craft and had the patience that matched Job’s. To my surprise I loved it and eventually we had learned as much of that as we needed to know. She had given us the tool and we could continue on if we chose. From that point on I was hooked ( excuse the pun) and I went on to crocheting doilies , table cloths and baby clothes.
Still we were reluctant to disband so we had to decide what our next undertaking would be. We knew we could always continue with our “high tea”. That was the hour and a half or two hours that followed out instruction. What goodies we enjoyed! The food could be a light fare of sandwiches and cookies or a full meal , casseroles and trifle. Anything was a feast. And conversation ranged from the serious to the raunchy. But we were first of all a “learning group” so we had to find a project. And it was Dorothy who came up with the idea that was to continue for several years.
She knew something about guitars. Only one other lady knew how to play at all. That was Doris. She agreed she had lots to learn too. So Dorothy donned the hat of headmistress. She and Doris already had instruments . But the rest of us didn’t . Off we went to purchase guitars, stands and tuners. Within a couple of months we had acquired rudimentary skills and with the mastery of about ten basic chords we had the audacity to perform at several jam sessions in Bay Roberts. Oh how nervous we were the first couple of times! Each of us had microphones that augmented the obvious absence of expertise. And I am sure there were many performers in the audience who wondered what the heck we were doing singing and playing on stage. But we loved it.
If we were to become performers we needed a stage name so we brainstormed. Our suggestions were outrageous but after a number of laughs we discarded Mother Pluckers and settled for Partridgeberry Jammers which conjured up a more domestic image.
We delighted in performing anywhere we were invited. One of our most pleasurable venues was the Senior’s Home in Bay Roberts, Collingwood Downs. We would devote one Wednesday afternoon a month to sing with the tenants in the home. It was delightful to see their faces and hear them join in. One lady would get up and sing a solo from time to time , a song that expressed her delight in being a Newfoundlander. Another lady whose name was Linda enjoyed the song “Linda on my Mind. And the ladies who worked there being an energetic crew roused a few others to do a little dance. We felt good being able to brighten the days of these lovely people.And this memory is a special one for me.
Being a member of this musical group was one of the highlights of my life in Cupids. And to think all of us were over 55 at the time!
I don’t live in Cupids any more. Circumstances brought me back to St. John’s. But I have so many pleasant memories of the people and events that have fashioned the life that I enjoy now in the city. Had it not been for my brother in law and an impromptu visit he made to Cupids, I wonder if I would be crocheting for my grand children today. Would I be going to my guitar group of 40 plus retirees twice a week? Would I have the wonderful memories of people who live with such enthusiasm ?
No matter what your age there are opportunities to laugh , love and learn. If they don’t come to you, create them.