Since I last wrote I transitioned officially into the category defined by societal parameters to become a senior. The traditional birthday celebration included family and friends over a period of a week; some surprises which left me speechless, some planned. Social media provided many people the opportunity to extend birthday wishes, which certainly brightened my day and warmed my heart. The Royal Mail carriers delivered cards. My sister, Terry and her husband, Dale travelled to spend the weekend. Dinner with friends reminded me what the years truly can reap. My work family provided the humourous prompt that age is only a number. Embraced by hugs wherever I went to remind me of the genuine connection to others in my life. Can you see any reason for me to be melancholy or concerned about moving from one stage of life defined by societal labels to another? Could I be more blessed?
Yet, last weekend among the joy, the love, the kindness, the laughter, the messages, the tears I had moments in time hesitant about the next stage. Where had all the time gone? Have the past 65 years created a life that mattered? What about the childhood dreams that were derailed for one reason or another? Were there regrets or any do-overs required? Every time the heart felt a heaviness or a sadness, someone appeared to snap me out of my quandary. Goodness gracious me, I am healthy, living with an amazing child, working, surrounded by remarkable people, supported by people who I love dearly, live in a country filled with opportunities to explore, to grow, to contribute.
How do I balance what defines me through the societal categorization and the lessons learned from those who shaped me? As my 65th birthday approached changes to my benefit package at work occurred, the name on my bank account changed to Seniors Rebate, my pension amount was adjusted, the government informed me of how drug coverage works for seniors, and seniors’ discounts across the board are now available. In fact, yesterday Leila and I went to the movies. I was so excited to remember I was a senior, only to learn everybody pays the same rate at a matinee. LOL – at least I remembered I was a senior.
“I want to awaken the passion and creativity of youth, combine it with the wisdom, experience and insight of elders, and transform our world.”
Let’s take a look at some historical moments that impacted my journey up until the time Leila arrived:
- Centenarians were the second fastest growing demographic group in Canada – I plan to be one
- Peanut butter – straight out of Montreal in 1884. A staple growing up and still eating it.
- Insulin is the breakthrough work of Canadians Frederick Banting and Charles Best, which assists in the treatment of diabetes. My dad had diabetes.
- The Hard-Cup Jockstrap – yes, a Canadian creation. Leila plays hockey – a ‘Jill’ protects her.
- Women at the Voting Booths. In 1917, Canada became the 10th country to grant women voting rights. The year I turned 18, October 21st was voting day. Been to the polls ever since. Leila has come with me each time since she arrived.
- 1950s to 60s Women’s basketball rules were very different. When I began playing the rules changed to be more similar to the game invented by Dr. James Naismith in 1891. My mother played basketball and she rocked. I played basketball to be more like her. Loved this game – played and coached for years.
- 1955 – TV Remote Control – really? Didn’t make it to Sault Ste. Marie for a long while. As if memory serves me correctly, we were the remote control for many years.
- 1957 – Three-Point Seatbelt arrives. I am alive because of seatbelts. Not once, but twice.
- 1962 – Video Games MIT programmers write Spacewar, 43 years later 89 percent of school-age kids own video games. Is there any young person not playing Fortnite?
- June,1962 Lydia Brunetta Barsanti passes.
- 1962 – Cuban Missile Crisis – We were told to hide under our desks in school if we heard the sirens. A fat lot good that would have done.
- November 1963 President John F. Kennedy is assassinated
- 1967 – Toronto Maple Leaves win the Stanley Cup. Hockey Night in Canada. Saturday nights with Nono Guido and Nona Eda started when I was a very little girl. Still remember being tucked in.
- July 20th, 1969 Apollo 11 Neil Armstrong, Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin and Michael Collins. Landed on the moon. I watched it on TV.
- 1970s – Cellphone were around. 1983 Motorola introduced the first widely available handheld cell phone. The DynaTAC 8000x weighed 2 pounds and cost $3,995
- 1972 – email was introduced to the public.
- 1978 – GPS and it wasn’t until 2008 when I owned my first one. Yet, I still manage to get lost.
- 1980 Terry Fox ran for 143 days and 5,373 kilometers in order to raise awareness and research funds for Cancer. My mother and her sister passed from breast cancer. My sister, Terry is a survivor. Countless others in my life have been and continue to be impacted by this disease.
- 1981 moved to Sudbury
- January 1986 Space Shuttle disaster. Teacher Christa McAuliffe. I remember going into the staff room to watch the coverage. My heart hurt.
- Women in Space – In 1992, Roberta Bondar was sent as the first neurologist and more importantly, the first Canadian in Space. We attended the same high school at different times. She would come to Barsanti’s Small Frye with her mom.
- 1992 & 1993 Blue Jays win the World Series. My mother played first base and she rocked. I played first base to be close to her. Love of baseball remains.
- February 2000 Howard Barsanti passes
- 9-11 – Need I say more?
- December 2007 – retired from teaching
- January 18, 2008 – Leila Barsanti-May was born
- January 2009 – began working with Greater Sudbury Police Service
- December 2009 – Leila comes to live with TiTi And my life has been forever changed.