We Are The World Blogfest: Would You Buy Q-tips From Your Local Thrift Store?

Q-tips

Would you buy an opened box of Q-tips from your local thrift store? If you did, what would you do if you then found eight gold rings embedded with small diamonds and other precious stones, plus a string of pearls hidden inside?

That is the position that Loretta Sims found herself in this past January. While browsing a thrift store in Duncan, BC, Loretta picked up a couple of items, including a box of Q-tips that she planned to use to clean her windows. When at home, she opened the box and found the jewelry carefully secured inside (estimated value: $1800 Cdn).

Believing that someone had put the jewels there for safe keeping, and had accidentally placed the box in a pile of donation items, Loretta promptly returned the Q-tips box, with all the jewelry, back to the thrift store.

The Q-tips box had been part of a larger donation from the estate of a woman who had recently passed away. A relative had come from out-of-the-country to help with the estate, donated the items and had reportedly already left the area. No name or contact details had been given.

As the thrift store is run by a Hospital Auxiliary, Loretta then donated the jewelry to the store. Her belief is that she was meant to find the jewelry, but not to keep it. The Managing Director of The Auxiliary has confirmed that the jewelry will be sold to raise money for much needed medical equipment for patient care.

It is inspiring that every day there are people like Loretta quietly making noble choices. I would have liked to have read that the jewelry had been reunited with the family of the original owner, and appreciate the media coverage that this story received just in case. I am also inspired by the vital community work and fundraising done by local charities, like this Hospital Auxiliary.

This simple incident teaches many important lessons.

1) Be careful where you store items that are dear to you.

2) If you do hide your valuables in an obscure place, let someone you trust know how to find them.

3) If donating items for an estate, or even donating multiple items of your own, leave your contact details. (Some donation stores offer tax receipts).

4) Most importantly, with so many temptations surrounding the decisions that we make each day, ask yourself what legacy you would like to leave. Would you like to be the lucky person who found $1800 worth of jewelry? Or would you like to be the person who found that jewelry, sought to find the owner, and then donated the jewelry so that it could benefit the larger community?

Your thoughts?

You can check out the media coverage of this story here, here, here, here and here.

We Are The World This post has been written for We Are The World Blogfest (#WATWB, #WATWBF). We Are the World Blogfest’ seeks to “promote positive news stories that show compassion and the resilience of the human spirit.” The intention is to increase our awareness of daily kindnesses that receive little recognition and are so often strangled by negative news stories around us.

Sunday Guest Post: Retirement Hours

retirement hours

I’m thrilled to contribute a second guest post for one of my favorite blogs, bloggers, and friends. Thank you, Donna, for asking me to participate. You have such a loyal following and I always enjoy the lively discussions that posts on your site generate.

During our trip up to Northern California over the Christmas holidays, I spotted this sign hanging on a locked fence in front of a shop:

retirement hours
 
At first I thought it was merely amusing, but then I realized that I could wear a similar sign around my neck now that I’m retired. Since I no longer keep ‘business hours,’ my retirement schedule is almost as… ummm… flexible.

Retirement Hours

Most mornings start at about 7:00 or 7:30, occasionally as early as 6:30. But sometimes I am able to sleep in and find myself getting up as late as 8:00.
Not being a slave to my alarm is a luxury. Although I would love to be one of those lucky people who sleeps through the night and wakes up early refreshed and raring to go, I’m not. I had hoped that when I retired, I would no longer lay awake up in the middle of the night. Unfortunately, my monkey mind has switched from dwelling on work-related issues to thinking about things like blog posts.
 
By 4:30 or 5:00 in the afternoon, I like to slow down and relax. But sometimes something fun will keep me out and about until 9:00 or 10:00 in the evening.
Even if I’ve relaxed most of the day I still need to switch gears for evening relaxation (yes, there is a difference). If I go out, I try to avoid rush hour – on the road or at the grocery store – so I like to be home by 4:00 or so. But, give me a good reason to venture out in the evening (happy hour with friends or book club come to mind) and I will brave the traffic.
 
Some days or afternoons I’m not around at all (or maybe I just decide not to answer my phone).
This will be our little secret… voicemail is my best friend. I really dislike talking on the phone under most circumstances, but if I’m busy – doing just about anything – fuhgeddaboudit. Leave me a message (or, better yet, text!) and I will call back when I’m ready… or not. It’s not you, it’s me… really.
 
If I’m somewhere else, I’m probably traveling.
This is my favorite place to be. Whether we are out exploring local areas of interest, taking a long road trip, or flying off to visit other states or countries, we love having an adventure. Retirement has given us the ability to change our plans at a moment’s notice and stay away as long as we wish. I love coming home but, before too long, I’ve already started to plan our next trip.

Retirement is not all fun and games, we actually have some projects to complete, schedules to adhere to and, on occasion, we even have to make and keep appointments. But, overall, we relish the flexibility we have at this time of our lives. Living in retirement is satisfying and fulfilling… and you can’t beat the hours.

Janis
Retirementally Challenged

retirement hours
 

From Retirement Reflections: I have been a long time fan of Retirementally Challenged and am grateful that Janis has agreed to Guest Host here again. Her posts are always insightful, inspiring and highly relatable. If you haven’t yet checked out her site, I highly encourage you to drop everything that you are doing (yes, even reading this blog) and check it out now! Up next week, we welcome back Dee from Grammy’s Grid. Dee is another inspirational blogger who you won’t want to miss. I look forward to seeing you then.

An Experiment

experiment

For the past seven days, I have been missing from the Blogosphere. I haven’t done any blog-related reading, writing, posting or commenting. I haven’t published my regular Sunday Guest Post. I wasn’t traveling. I wasn’t too busy. I didn’t suddenly tire of blogging. And, thankfully, I didn’t spend another week in Technology Hell.

Why the absence?  It was an experiment.

I am passionate about writing. I love reading.  And I am deeply inspired by connecting with like-minded thinkers.

Still, I was curious.

Like so many deep passions, blogging is a time commitment. A significant one. What would I be doing if I wasn’t blogging? Since I began blogging only six months into my retirement (and those first six months were consumed with returning home from overseas, setting up our new house and reconnecting with friends and family), I really didn’t know. Perhaps one week was not long enough to find out – but I was willing to give it a try.

From February 2 – 8, I went about my regular routine. The only difference was that I logged my time for everything that I did each day. Absolutely everything! At the end of the week, I charted the data that I had recorded. The summarized results looked like this.

Week One: 42.49 hours of combined screen time? Ouch!!

Then from February 9 to February 15, I went cold turkey. I engaged in no blog-related activities. Zero! I allowed myself a maximum of thirty minutes per day on my computer/devices. I tried to use this time very wisely. Once again, I logged my hours and charted how my time was spent. Here is that data.

Week Two: A Redistribution of Hours.

What did I discover?  Anyone could argue that a single week could be a one-off. It could also be argued that wanting to see a difference, I participated in activities with that goal in mind (…which I did actually do). Still, this exercise helped me to gain valuable insight. I was surprised not only by the differences between the two weeks, but also by what remained the same.

I had expected an increase in sleep. However, there was little variation between the time logged in this category for each week. (This is significantly more sleep than I believe that I normally get…was that a fluke or did the more conscious use of my time contribute to that perceived difference?) As I did not add new categories, the remaining sections each absorbed the extra time. (Social/Community increased by approximately 8 hours, Household Tasks by 7, Self-Care by 5, Exercise by 5, Errands by 4 and Eating by 1!)

Reading held the most significant time gain (an increase of over 9 hours in one week). But here, things also stayed remarkably the same. I thought that instead of grabbing my computer/device in the mornings, I would grab my yoga mat, or engage in some other new and exciting activity. But…on many days I grabbed my book and curled up in my comfy chair, just like I usually did with my devices. Ditto for my after dinner routine!

I had set three goals for my week of blogging hooky. 1) Do something that scares me. 2) Rekindle an old love. 3) Do something that I have always wanted to do but hadn’t yet tried. In the fear category, I planned to give hot yoga a try. Not only did I not do that, I only went to yoga once in the second week (two times less than usual). I did, however, go to the golf driving range with Richard…a definite fear that I (and our marriage) survived! In the rekindling category, I visited both a local museum and art gallery – something that I would like to continue on a more frequent basis. I also went five-pin bowling with friends — which was a blast! Regarding my third goal, I have always wanted to read about meditation and give it a conscious try…separate from yoga class. Somehow, I have kept procrastinating on this. Early in the week, I picked up a simple introductory guide to meditation and gave it a try. The results were much more noticeable than I had anticipated. I plan to continue to explore this further. As a bonus, Richard and I hit several spots along the ’39 stop Nanaimo Bar Trail‘ in Nanaimo, BC.  Hey, no judging!   I also tried my hand at making Indian food for the very first time…and Richard helped with the naan bread. Yum!!

Do I have any current plans to abandon blogging? No. The enjoyment that blogging brings me cannot be denied. Since my December dip in Blogging Hell, I have consciously been trying to better manage my screen time. This simple experiment has given further testament to my need for balance…and my need to remain vigilant in maintaining this balance.

What would a log of your current hours reveal?

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Highlights Shown Above: Day 1: A quick trip to Vancouver. Day 3:  Making Chicken Tikka Masala and Naan Bread. Day 4: Bowling with Friends.  Multiple Days: New restaurants to try and new routines to explore. Days 0 & 7: The makings of a brand new Thursday Walking Group.

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Day 6: Scenes from the ‘Nanaimo Bar Trail.’

For the Love of Salmon

salmon

I was delighted to meet Esmé (The Recipe Hunter) through mutual blogs that we follow. We are practically next door neighbors (she’s in Vancouver and I’m on Vancouver Island). I admire how Esmé generously shares tested, tasted and well-loved recipes from around the world and warmly invites others to send in their contributions. I was honored to be asked to write a post for her.

We had company over for dinner recently and I prepared one of my favorite no-fuss-no muss meals — roasted salmon and veggies! As this is one of my go-to recipes, I thought it would be a perfect one for sharing on Esme’s Site.

I’d love for you to drop by The Recipe Hunter and check out my post there. If you could leave a comment on Esme’s site, we would both greatly appreciate it.

‘Hope to see you there!

Sunday at Six Guest Post: Linda from ‘Boots, Shoes and Fashion’

fashion

From Retirement Reflections: Remember back in November when I fell off my chair from a request to co-write a ‘Christmas Fashion Post’ for Sizzling Toward Sixty and Beyond? By stepping out of my comfort zone and accepting that challenge, I met some very interesting people. Linda from ‘Boots and Shoes’ is one of them. I am delighted that she has agreed to Guest Host on my site today. She even supplied her own interview questions. How cool is that?

Hi! My name is Linda, and I’m a blogger. By day I’m a cosmetic/retail merchandiser. I’m fifty-two, am happily married to Adam and I have five children aged from ten to twenty-seven. My first three children have all left the nest. My eldest is a professional chef. I have one daughter who is the second eldest at twenty-three. She is currently a hotel restaurant supervisor. My second son is in university studying animation.

I was honoured to be asked by Donna to guest post on her wonderful blog and was given free rein. I thought that the best way to introduce my blog would be to interview myself, which you can read below.

What was the inspiration for starting your blog?

My blog, Boots Shoes & Fashion, was begun in July 2012. It started off being a ‘traditional’ shoe and fashion blog, i.e., talking about styles, what’s in the shops and online, etc. By January 2013 I began to include interviews with fashion designers and my friends who just happen to be in that industry. I found that I enjoyed interviewing people and that the feedback was positive. Today my blog is an  ‘interview style/lifestyle/fashion blog’ where I profile many inspirational people from around the world, as well as doing the odd review and fashion feature too.

Career History?

I’ve never had a career involving shoes funnily enough – fashion, hosiery, and makeup yes, but not shoes! I’ve worked as a hairdressing salon junior; in sales and marketing for a fashion company and a makeup company. I’ve run my own children’s clothing company selling via market stalls. I’ve made and sold earrings and modeled hosiery. My current career is retail merchandiser based in the top UK supermarkets specialising primarily in hosiery and cosmetics.

You have interviewed many different people over the last few years. Do you have any particular favourites?

I don’t have any particular favourites – they have all been fantastic guests. I’m a bit of a bookworm, so I have enjoyed chatting with my author guests from Carol E. Wyer to thriller writer, Simon J. Stephens. The artists Jane McAdam Freud and Niyaz Najafov were also fascinating. I love the zany personalities of model Debi Jones, Rosemary Conley, CBE, photographers Nina Junger and Tom Cairns. The television personalities Celia Sawyer and Alex Proud as well as the Miss World 2014 contestants were also interesting. The fashionistas that blew me away included shoemaker Kevin Garlick, Tiannia Barnes, Bizi Buenos Aires, Milly J Shoes, Goldgenie and Designer Linda Blissett. It was also a great honour to interview Mo Endfield (wife of “Zulu” director Cy Endfield) and Tony Porter (founder of London Fashion Week)…not forgetting my fellow blogging friends too..

Being a blogger, you need to have regular interaction on social media. What social media outlet is your personal favourite? What social media tends to attract more readers to your blog? What is your least favourite and why?

My favourite social media is Twitter. I’m not sure why but I just enjoy tweeting! The most popular social media outlets when it comes to attracting readers to my blog is a toss-up between Facebook and StumbleUpon. My least favourite is Instagram. I don’t like using hashtags. My fellow bloggers think I’m missing a trick by not being on Instagram. I protested about using Pinterest a few years ago and labeled it ‘boring.’  I was then dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century by a blogger friend, and now Pinterest is in my blood! I do use Flipboard and Google+ so for the time being, at least, Instagram is on hold.

What do you like most about blogging?

I enjoy writing, reading and socialising. Through blogging, I have been able to utilise my love of the English language. There is such a fabulous range of different blog genres that I now read blogs instead of magazines. I ‘ve made  many ‘blogging friends’ around the world which I have found fascinating.

Let’s talk food… what is your favourite meal? What food genre is your favourite when eating out?

I love cooking curries and casseroles! I love to visit Indian, Thai or Italian restaurants.I also love visiting British gastropubs. I like to pick dishes that I don’t normally cook at home – could be fish or pasta dishes. I’m not a dessert person.

If you could visit any place in the world and money was no object, where would you go and why?

The top of my bucket list was Cape Verde Islands. I was lucky enough to visit there last summer. I would go back to the island of Boa Vista tomorrow if I could. Costa Rica and Sicily are high on my bucket list. The Cloud Forests of Costa Rica sound fascinating, but the wet weather is not finding favour with my husband so that place is not likely to be visited by us any time soon.  I’m attracted by Sicily — Mount Etna, the historical towns, weather, the food, and limoncello! To be honest, I’m such a geography geek that no country would be crossed off my list!

A lot of bloggers I know are also bookworms… are you one? What genre of book do you like reading? What book(s) are you currently reading?

Yes, I’m a bookworm. I read quite a wide variety of books. I prefer thrillers, mysteries or historical/classics, e.g., Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier, etc. I have just finished reading Dan Brown’s latest book, Origin.

What decade of fashion are you drawn towards? Which popular styles of any decade didn’t/don’t float your boat?

I like dresses from the 1950s; tunic dresses of the 1960s; the hippy styles of the 1970s; the colours of the 1980s… I wasn’t keen on the shell suit fashions of the 1980/1990s although I did own a fetching bright green outfit! I can’t stand onesies.

What fashion item is next on your wish list?

Top of my list is a pair of knee-high laced up boots from Joe Browns. I have bookmarked the item for my husband’s attention!

Boots Or Shoes?

Boots – ankle or knee high, with a heel or flats … I love them all. In summer, I love to wear ballerina style flat shoes, espadrilles or slip-on sneakers.
Boots, Shoes and Fashion

Thank you for letting me share a bit about myself and my blog. I would love to connect further! You can find me at:

Blog: http://bootsshoesandfashion.com
Facebook Page: http://facebook.com/bootsshoesandfashion
Facebook Shoe Group: f.bootsshoesandfashion.com
Twitter: t.bootsshoesandfashion.com
Google+ : http://plus.google.com/+LindaHobden
StumbleUpon: https://www.stumbleupon.com/stumbler/linda2269
Pinterest: https://pinterest.com/LindaHobden/
Flipboard: http://flipboard.com/@LindaHobden

Returning Home

returning home

For fourteen years my husband and I lived and worked in Beijing, China. It was an incredible experience that enriched our lives in ways too numerous to mention. Being part of a large international school (me) and a global law firm (Richard), we were able to meet and form deep friendships with remarkable people from around the world. While many of these people have remained in Beijing, many have since returned to their original homes or have taken on other international postings. A significant number have relocated to other parts of Asia.

When leaving Beijing, Richard and I joked that these friends would quickly begin to say “Donna and Richard who?” For me, it wasn’t a joke. It was a fear.

Richard and I are currently planning a trip to Singapore to visit our youngest son who lives and works there. We have added a small side trip to Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. Although our time will be too short to stop in Beijing, this trip is remarkably feeling like ‘returning home’.

A large cluster of our Beijing friends now live in Singapore. A couple more live in Phnom Penh. The warmth and generosity that Richard and I have received when these friends learned that we would soon be visiting has been overwhelming. One friend, who currently lives in Vietnam, has arranged to fly to Singapore for the weekend so that we can spend time together.

Words can never express the relief and gratitude when your deepest fears are proven wrong.

While this planned trip does not take place quite yet, I will definitely keep you posted (pun intended). And yes, I will include many photos!

returning home

Keeping the Cookie Jar Full During Early Retirement

Early Retirement
Early Retirement
Source:www.giftbasketdropshipping.com/members/Gourmet_Cookies.html

As we’ve been taught to do, I mostly ignored the money I was setting aside for retirement while I was working. In theory, I claimed to understand the mechanics of what was happening with it every two weeks. But in reality, it made about as much sense to me as supply-side economics. And just like I am now with the new tax plan here in the U.S., I was surely unsure how it would all eventually trickle down to me. I understood that it was my money, but I literally had no idea how or when I would get my grimy hands on it.

Which is why a recent Sunday Guest Post here on Donna’s blog caught my attention. Written by Lynn from Encore Voyage, she tells her story of retiring from a long career in teaching, followed by an unplanned termination of her husband’s job. It sounds like it was a scary situation for them, at least in the short term. Everyone wants to make sure they’ve dotted all their I’s and crossed all those T’s prior to taking the retirement plunge. To paraphrase Art Linkletter, retirement planning isn’t for the faint of heart.

One passage in Lynn’s post  spoke to me directly (emphasis mine):

“We were not old enough to officially ‘retire,’ and we hadn’t been taking specific steps to do so. While we had spent a lifetime saving for retirement, and we knew we would be okay financially, we were unprepared for about a zillion changes that happen when you suddenly become retired.”

I can relate to that completely because my own ‘retirement’ was surprisingly quick and somewhat haphazard. In hindsight, I now characterize that period as controlled confusion.

I took early retirement four months shy of my 56th birthday. I had just been through a rather quick medical odyssey, the results of which were both inconclusive but thankfully positive. At the same time, my employer dangled an early retirement and buyout offer to eligible staff. Although I had been eligible for similar offers in prior years, this time around the timing seemed right to take it. There were other horizons to explore.

I had done very little in the way of retirement planning. But like Lynn and her husband, I too had been diligently saving. My goal each year was to sock away a higher percentage of my salary into my 401(k) plan than the previous year. A divorce four years earlier forced me to partition a percentage of it for my ex-wife. My response to that was to increase contributions to make-up for the loss. By the time I made the early retirement decision, I had managed to recover and even add to what the court-ordered decree had removed. In fairness, a post-recession bull market helped my efforts tremendously.

A little over three years later, this retirement experiment has blossomed into a very satisfying next phase for us. Thanks to my wife Gorgeous’ full-time business, my part-time job, and a small pension that I receive from my former employer, we settled into a Florida condo which we purchased earlier this year.

My money in the 401(k) plan continues to sit on autopilot. I log in every week to check on its performance. Once a year, during the month of January, I review and re-balance everything so that all funds are back to their pre-determined allocations. Distributions from it are still a few years away from starting.

Gorgeous had no savings prior to our getting married, and she’s now on a mission late in life to build her own retirement fund. It’s really never too late to start.

The most important part for us is that we have figured out a way forward without dipping into the cookie jar.

My thanks to Donna for this opportunity to appear on her blog again.

Marty
Snakes in the Grass

early retirement
Marty and Gorgeous

From Retirement Reflections: Have you noticed that there are numerous ‘essentials’ of retirement that I never seem to write about on this blog? That is one reason that I am so grateful to all Guests Hosts for generously sharing their experience, passions and expertise. Thank you to Marty for being the first on this blog to directly tackle the fundamental subject of retirement savings. To read more of Marty’s thoughts on pensions, social security, 401(k)s, alimony, politics, current events, music, and…life’s comical ironies head over to his blog at Snakes in the Grass. Adding her expertise to another area that I typically neglect in my writing is Linda from Boots, Shoes and Fashion. Please join us next week when Linda, who is usually acting as ‘interviewer’ on her website, switches seats and shares a bit of her own story with us. I hope that you will join us then!

A Local Hero in Our Midst

'Flying Phil'

Earlier this week, I published a Guest Post by Anabel Marsh on ‘Hidden Histories.’ Her thoughtful, provocative post led to much reflection, including “Who does your town/city honour?’ It’s a great question.

Vancouver Island, where I currently live, is home to influential and well-known actors, artists, athletes, journalists, musicians, philanthropists, politicians, Prime Ministers, scientists, Nobel Laureates, writers and more. Many are honoured on our island in a variety of ways.

One small section of this island is home to a local hero who does not neatly fit into one category. Phil St. Luke (aka ‘Flying Phil’) may not be well-known outside of his surrounding area…but within his community he is much loved and celebrated. Phil is frequently featured in local news stories, has a Facebook Fan Club Page and YouTube video. He leads his town’s annual Canada Day Parade, and his birthday, March 7, is known to locals as ‘Flying Phil Day.’

I first heard of Flying Phil from a previous island resident who had grown up with Phil being a huge part of his community. This man had made a return visit to the island so that his young son could also meet Flying Phil.

What’s so unique about Phil? A former Special Olympian originally from Vancouver, Phil has lived in the Oceanside area since the 1970’s. Unquestionably he has become the community’s unofficial ambassador. He is well known by generations of Oceanside residents for his daily rounds through the town’s streets, coffee shops and businesses where he warmly greets everyone whom he meets. His big smile, his exuberance, his desire to do good and his volunteer work with multiple community programs have been an inspiration to many.

Phil’s relentlessly optimistic outlook is contagious. Common quotes about Phil include “He brings sunshine wherever he goes”, “His presence fills every room he enters” and “Phil is somebody who mingles with everybody.” Gordon Johns (Courtenay-Alberni Member of Parliament) recently posted this about Phil, “He brightens our days and enriches our lives.”

Phil has affectionately been called “a walking landmark.”  Numerous community members have advocated for a life-sized bronze statue of Phil to be commissioned and erected in Oceanside. To date, official plans have not been confirmed for the making of this statue. Phil’s playful response, “People want a statue of me, and I’m not even dead!”

I’m proud to live in an area that deeply honours such a unique and inspirational ambassador. It is my belief that erecting a statue dedicated to this local hero would be a well-deserved tribute to this man and would say much about the community that surrounds him.

You can read and watch ‘good news’ stories about Phil here:

and here:

Parksville preparing for Canada Day 150 celebrations

and here, here, , here, here, here, and here!

We Are The WorldThis post has been written as part of ‘We Are the World Blogfest’. WATWBF seeks to “promote positive news stories that show compassion and the resilience of the human spirit“. The intention is to increase our awareness of daily kindnesses that receive little recognition and are so often strangled by negative news stories around us. I believe that Phil St. Luke is an excellent example of such kindness and resilience.#WATWB #WATWBF

Sunday Guest Post Series: Hidden Histories

hidden histories
Hidden Histories
Victoria, Dolores and Isabella

One of the joys of retirement is finding new interests – and having the time to rekindle old ones. It will be 40 years this summer since I completed my undergraduate degree in history and, although occasionally useful for enquiries in my career as a librarian, history was never again a big part of my life until I finished work. I quickly became a volunteer History Detective with Glasgow Women’s Library, and a couple of years later I took on a similar role with Maryhill Burgh Halls near my home. I enjoy researching women’s history, and presenting it in tours and talks: it’s been life-enhancing.

So how visible is women’s history in Glasgow? Twelve statues stand in George Square in the city centre. Only one is of a woman – Queen Victoria. I imagine most British cities have a statue of her, though at least ours is a youngish, lively Victoria, sitting side-saddle on her horse, and not the unamused, elderly widow more commonly seen.

There are just two other statues to named women in Glasgow: Spanish Civil War heroine La Pasionaria (Dolores Ibárruri), who raises her arms by the Clyde with the motto “Better to die on your feet than live forever on your knees”, and philanthropist Isabella Elder (1828-1905), the only native Glaswegian of the three, in Elder Park. Among the things Isabella funded were a library and the first college in Scotland to offer higher education to women – she’s my favourite! Look her up in Wikipedia and you’ll be reading an article written by me, and I’ve also played her in a pageant to celebrate International Women’s Day a few years ago.

hidden histories
Anabel as Tour Guide

A fourth statue – to Mary Barbour who organised rent strikes in World War One – is due to be unveiled in March. (Rapacious landlords thought they could charge anything they liked when the men were away fighting: Mary’s campaign resulted in a law being passed fixing rents at pre-war levels.) But there are ways, other than statues, to remember history. For example, the whole area of Maryhill is called after the woman who owned the land in the 18th century before the government purchased it for the construction of the Forth and Clyde Canal. We have a Suffrage Oak, planted in 1918 when the first women in Britain got the vote. The names of 29 women who were killed when the façade of Templeton’s Carpet Factory collapsed in 1889 are carved nearby. Friends tell me that they have walked past these memorials without noticing them, hence my title: Hidden Histories.
Sometimes we just need to open our eyes a bit more. As readers of The Glasgow Gallivanter will know, I’m happy when I come across any aspect of women’s history on my travels. So what would I find if I came to your town? And if you don’t know – I challenge you to find out!

From Retirement Reflections: hidden historiesAccepting Anabel’s challenge, I’m happy to go first! One celebration of women’s history that you might find if coming to Vancouver Island is a bronze statue of renowned Canadian artist, Emily Carr. The monument was erected along the Harbourfront in Victoria, B.C., Emily’s hometown. It was unveiled during Women’s History Month, on October 13, 2010. If ever visiting Victoria, stop by and have a look! Echoing Anabel’s question, who does your (home)town honour? Please join us again next Sunday when we welcome back Marty (Snakes in the Grass). Marty will be sharing “How to Keep the Cookie Jar Full During Early Retirement.” I look forward to seeing you then!