Verna Thaxter’s memoir of her experiences during the Great Depression has left a mark on residents and staff
When Verna Thaxter moved into Streamway Villa, everyone knew right away that she was someone special, says the Cobourg long-term care home’s life enrichment co-ordinator (LEC) Christina Doughty.
Verna, 102, not only demonstrated she had a sweet disposition and a kind soul, she was also a treasure trove of stories and life experience.
Born Sept. 22, 1916, Verna was one of eight children in her family. She grew up on a 160-acre farm in northern Ontario at the height of the Great Depression. Verna wrote of her and her family’s experiences during the Depression in her 2001 memoir Of Turnips and Teas and Threshing Bees: My Experience of the Depression Years.
Her memoir is a remembrance of the good times, the hardships, the methods of work and the general thinking of a farm family in the early- to mid-20th century.
The Streamway Villa life enrichment department was so taken by Verna’s memoir, it became the centre of a program called Verna’s Reading Circle. During this program, the life enrichment aides gather most of the home’s 59 residents and read chapters from the book.
“During this time, Verna sits back with a smile on her face as she relives her life history and is quick to add any additional details during the reading,” Christina says.
“Verna has 100 years of memories in which she wanted to share and to encourage others to follow her footsteps daily; her philosophy is that ‘when you work hard, the benefits of life follow.’ ”
For her accomplishments, Verna has been named the recipient of Streamway Villa’s 2018 Lifetime Achievement Award. The award was recently presented to her during a ceremony at the home.
Christina adds that Verna has tremendous support from her family, who “absolutely adores her.”
“Verna has become one of our many role models; she set her dreams high and truly lived her life to the fullest with no regrets,” the LEC says. “She is a blessing to Streamway Villa and is one remarkable lady.”
Lifetime Achievement Awards are presented to people living in OMNI Health Care long-term care homes who have demonstrated commitment to other residents, their home and country.
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