Get to know your Neighbours
We all have amazing stories and our family of residents here at Golden Pond are no different. Get to know some of the wonderful people who call Golden Pond home.
Resident since 2006
April 1st marks an incredible 15th anniversary for Eleanor Lomas’ residency at Golden Pond Retirement Lodge and is the longest residing resident in our history. Golden Pond would like to commemorate her anniversary by highlighting some touchstone moments and fun facts about Eleanor and her life.
Eleanor was born on December 10, 1931 in Collingwood, Ontario. She was the daughter of a travelling minister, which brought her family to Waterford when she was five years old. She is the 10th child of 11 siblings, 4 brothers and 6 sisters, of which 3 siblings are still alive today.
During her childhood, Eleanor was a top student. She learned to play piano from her mother and enjoyed school dances and going to the movies at the local theatre. To this day watching movies is still a favourite pastime of hers. Sadly, Eleanor’s mother passed away when Eleanor was only 14, which led her father to leave Waterford. This life event resulted in Eleanor going to work at the age of 16 to contribute to family support. She began working at Penmans Wool Factory in Waterford, which is the same building the Antique Market occupies today. Here she met and then married her husband, John Lomas. They built their home together in Waterford at 145 Church Street West. Eleanor lived there for 56 years, where she stayed home and raised 9 beautiful children. She is a loving grandmother to 18 grandchildren and 18 great-grandchildren. Eleanor cherishes these relationships.
At age 74 Eleanor recognized that she couldn’t maintain a house anymore and knew it was time for transition. That’s when she joined the Golden Pond family, moving in on April 1, 2006.
When it comes to her experience over the years at Golden Pond, Eleanor and her family are very grateful for all the kindness and continuous care that has been provided here. The family have a long-time joke about GP – That is her husband John would be rolling over in his grave knowing that Eleanor is living at his favourite hangout spot and watering hole – The former Hotel Syracuse.
Presently, she enjoys taking in the views of Lake Erie at her daughter Cecile’s house in Port Dover, enjoying a glass of wine, while watching the birds and boats. Family visits are very cherished by Eleanor.
Through Eleanor’s stories I have learned she is a survivor. Despite her many life challenges, Eleanor might be quiet, but she is strong, stoic, gentle and kind. She is ever inspiring. To conclude I would like to leave you with this quote that Eleanor says is how she best views herself. From the famous author, Virginia Woolf – “Every woman must have money and a room of her own” and Eleanor is just that, a proud, independent woman with a room of her own at Golden Pond.
Mary Berneice Kirkwood
March 8th is International Women’s Day and I thought a one-on-one interview to showcase one of the many wonderful women residing at Golden Pond would be a great way to recognize this day. In February I had the privilege to sit down and learn a little more about our long-time (8 years) resident Mary Berneice “Bee” Kirkwood. Most of you know her by the name “Bee”, which was a nickname her brother Bob gave to her in her teenage years. This name has stuck with her ever since. Bee was born in Rockford a small village east of Waterford. She came from a large family with seven siblings, whom to this day has two surviving sisters and one brother. She was married for 54 years to her husband Wallace and has 4 sons, 4 grandchildren, 3 great-grandchildren and 2 great-great-grandchildren. She remembers one her first jobs was at Reitman’s, a clothing store in Burlington making $1/ hr and that she purchased her first home for $5,000.
The picture above is of Bee standing next to a memory blanket of her late son, Rick who passed away tragically four years ago. This is a cherished gift she received from her daughter-in law, Rick’s wife, Elisabeth. Keeping inline with the theme, I asked Bee a few questions related to women and here is what she had to say. What woman has inspired you? “Ms. Hepburn my childhood public school teacher. It was a one classroom school where she didn’t just teach me my ABC’s, but she took the time to teach us everyday social skills.
“If you could meet any woman, who would it be and why? “Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge. She seems like a loving and devoted mother and I admire her for this.” What is your favourite thing about being a woman? “The love I have for my family. I love them all and they are so good to me.”