I can’t quite believe that it’s been fifty years since we graduated, that we’re all senior citizens by now, and that many of us are even grandparents. While I don’t feel that I’ve become all that much older, store clerks keep offering me the Seniors’ Discount, so it must be true. But that’s just a paper designation. Inside I don’t feel all that far away from the person I was when I put on my grey uniform each morning and caught the bus to go to MEI on Edison Avenue.
So much has happened to all of us since then, and I look forward to catching up on everyone’s life stories. Here’s a brief overview of my last fifty years. After graduation I attended United College, now the University of Winnipeg, and then taught high school English for a few years. Bill and I were married in 1968 and our daughter Jennifer was born in Winnipeg in 1970. The following year we moved to Kingston, Ontario where Bill started teaching at Queen’s University. Our son Brendan was born in Kingston in 1972 and I entered Graduate School at Queen’s to begin work on a Master’s degree in Education. Eventually we moved back to Winnipeg to be closer to family, Bill began teaching at the University of Manitoba, and I went back to school again to complete a PhD. Then I also started teaching at the University of Manitoba and both of us were professors in the Faculty of Education until we retired in 2007.
I particularly enjoyed the research, writing and publication component of my academic career. I did research in the area of teacher education, with a focus on comparative teacher education, and this gave me the opportunity to teach and/or do research in Germany, England, Hungary, Zimbabwe and Thailand.
Bill and I really enjoy travelling, so both of us always welcomed work related trips. A particularly memorable time for our family was the year we spent in Germany when Bill was on sabbatical. Now that we’re retired we continue to travel as much as we can, although we like to stay in Manitoba during the summer. We have a cottage at Brereton Lake in the Whiteshell and we love to spend time there, as do our children and grandchildren. Jennifer has two boys, aged 6 and 8. They live about five minutes away from us, which is wonderful because we get to see them a lot. Brendan lives in Toronto but comes home frequently, and always in the summer, in order to spend time at the cottage. Both children have chosen university careers so we always have lots to talk about around the dinner table. Jennifer is a law professor at the University of Manitoba and Brendan is an Assistant Vice- Provost at York University.
Although it took me a while to get used to retirement, I now thoroughly enjoy starting each day by lingering over the newspaper with a cup of coffee. And I’ve found lots of rewarding activities to fill the time. Family needs and events, of course, take up a big part of each week. Bill and I do some volunteer work for different organizations, we go to the gym together several times a week, we are regular theatre goers, we belong to a mixed book club, and we play bridge together. Additionally, I’m also part of a women’s book club and bridge group, and I’m enjoying studying French and working on a family history.
I’m very grateful for all the opportunities I’ve been given, especially during the last fifty years, and wonder now what the next chapter in my life will bring.