By Kristian Partington
When Bill Young’s friend, Marg, moved into the Village of Tansley Woods in Burlington about a year ago, Bill couldn’t resist a visit to see if it might be a suitable home for him as well, for his connection to the name Tansley goes back a long, long way.
His great, great, great grandfather, Samuel Young, was born in 1745 in the tiny village of Tansley, England, about 20 km northwest of Robin Hood’s Nottingham. That’s the earliest record of a Young in the Village, but many more followed. His father, Herbert, was born there in the 1890s, but in his late teens the firing industrial revolution called the family to the midlands, and Herbert left the little farming village behind. The name Tansley, however, would follow – Bill’s dad made sure of that.
When Bill was just a boy, the family moved into a new house and, as Bill says, “because it was a nice new house and all the houses in England that are any house at all have a name to it, so my father said, ‘I’m going to call it Tansley after the village where I lived.’ ”
Bill says his father missed the simple life of the village, and this was his tribute. In later years, one of Bill’s nephews would eventually named his new house after the village as well. In the life of this family, Tansley is a name that gives a sense of belonging, it seems, and as Bill sits comfortably in his new retirement suite sharing the story of the path that led him here, that sense of belonging is clear. He’s been in this village not even a week, but you’d never know it.
“He fit in right away,” says marketing coordinator Ashleigh Wilson. “It’s like he’s been here forever.”
She recalls the day Bill moved in. As is the case with any new resident, a volunteer went to see him in the early afternoon to make sure everything was going well. Before she left for the day, Ashleigh thought she’d do the same and when she arrived at his suite, there he was with the volunteer, sharing stories over a glass of wine.
It’s early still, but he says he feels right at home at Tansley Woods already. Though he’s in his 90s, he prefers to do his own cooking and he likes that he’s got his own kitchen to work in. Downstairs, the piano that he bought for his second wife sits in the community centre, a gift to his neighbours that will surely see much use. Perhaps he’ll take up the violin again, he says, and maybe there are neighbours there who’ll join him in their music.
Life in Tansley Woods just seems to fit, for Bill, and the future is wide open.