Seven Decades of Love in Life: A Conversation with Bruce and Dorothy Tapp

It’s hard not to feel inspired sitting across from a couple who’ve spent more than seven decades together and still look at each other with the adoration of new love in their eyes. Sitting in the pub in their new home at The Village of Glendale Crossing, Bruce Tapp describes how he met Dorothy at a dance at the old London arena on Bathurst Street where the big bands used to play and young people would roller skate on Friday and Saturday nights.

Bruce and Dorothy walk into the Village of Glendale Crossing, greeted by team members.This was 1950 when the City of London was still a small town.

Bruce says he stepped on Dorothy’s toes as they danced their first steps in life together, and he later bought her a hot dog and asked if she might like to go for a ride in an airplane the next day.

“Of course, she wondered what I was talking about,” Burce says with a sly grin. She obviously wouldn’t have known that Bruce had trained as a pilot as soon as he came of age, right after the end of the Second World War.

The day after their first dance, they met at the small London airport.

“I got her into the airplane, locked her up, put the safety belt on her and she asked, ‘who's going to drive this airplane?’” Bruce recalls. “‘The pilot's down there,’” I said. “‘He's just coming,’ so I got off the wing and back to the tail to make sure the controls were off, and I came back and I jumped in the front seat.”

Dorothy shakes her head and smiles as he shares the story.

“‘Where's the driver? What are you doing up there?’ she asked, and I said: ‘I'm going to give it a shot,’ so I fired it up for an airplane ride and off we went.”

Little more than a year later, they decided to make it official, as Bruce says, and they were married. They would eventually build a house just south of town on White Oak Road to raise their family, and the city grew up around them. Bruce worked as a police officer for a short time before joining the fire department, while Dorothy worked for Bell Canada before taking time to focus on raising their children.

Bruce and Dorothy sitting on the couchWhen Bruce retired as Deputy Chief from the department, they moved to a smaller home two blocks west of Glendale Crossing, where they sit today. For the past few years, they’d watched the building grow from the ground up, and Dorothy’s mobility was getting more compromised as time went on following a hip replacement. They decided they wanted to be somewhere comfortable where support was available, and Glendale Crossing was the perfect fit. They were the first couple to move into the new retirement Village when it opened in October, and they’re like celebrities when they walk through the Village. They’re greeted by name with friendly faces wherever they go, and the connections they’ve made in the short time they’ve been there please them greatly.

“This place is tremendous, in itself,” Bruce says, “but the staff, they're just really people that know the business and know how to look after you.”

“They’ll bend over backwards for you,” Dorothy says, “and they all greet you with kindness.”

As the weeks go by, new neighbours will fill the Village and the Tapps say they’re looking forward to the new friendships that await. Community has always been important, for them, and they feel they’re part of a beautiful one at Glendale Crossing.

Friendships and family are important, for sure, but the love they share for each other is their core. Bruce gets emotional as he considers his life and all the wonderful memories over his 92 years, and tears well in his eyes as he looks over at his wife.

“She really is the best thing that ever happened to me,” he says, and in those words the beauty of love and life lived well shines through. It’s clear to see why they inspire so many people around them.