“I’ve never really stopped being a journalist,” says Marie Gleason of The Village at St. Clair. She’s standing before her small booth in the hall at Bingeman’s Park in Kitchener where she’s joined more than 120 other residents from across Schlegel Villages. As part of the Pursuit of Passions event, which showcases and celebrates the wisdom and creativity that each resident contributes to their community, Marie has brought several samples of her work.
She tells a fellow journalist standing before her, who is nearly 60 years her junior, that she’s spent a lifetime consistently reinventing herself and her skill as a writer was always at the core of her being.
Her husband’s work took them all over the world and in each new location she’d find a way to get her thoughts into print. She came of age at a time when women had few options for work, “and I didn’t want to be a teacher and I didn’t want to be a nurse,” she says. She was always clever, however, and had a way with words so when she landed in a new place with her husband, she’d discover a new aspect of her persona. From that angle she’d share her insights through the written word.
She’s written plays, short stories and countless articles for newspapers across the globe and at 92, she began writing again. These are “fragments,” she says, snapshots of life based on her experiences through nine decades wandering the planet.
“It just evolved,” Marie says of her work on the short stories. “As old as I am, you can imagine the experiences I’ve had. Within my family there is really a great historical significance and when I was still working as a journalist full-time I wrote these plays, all of which relate to my family history.”
Now she says something must be looking over her shoulder, for all of these ideas have begun to flow again into these short fragments, and she’s hoping to find a place for them to be published.
“We had an interesting life,” Marie says, “and when I look back on it, how can you criticize fate?” Her husband had restless feet and their travels helped build a wealth of memories from which she can draw inspiration.
Though he passed away ten years ago, he’s still restless, Marie says. A dream she’ll have at times places her in a straw-like home with a stiff breeze blowing through a door she can’t close. “That wind blew and blew and you know what that wind was,” she asks rhetorically? “It was my husband.”
He still compels her to write and she can only conclude there’s more work for her do yet before she’s called to join him. Her words still flow in a continued pursuit of a passion that has guided her through all of life.
It’s a passion well worth celebrating.
Learn more about the Wisdom of the Elder Signature Program