Contributed by Barb Sinclair
Not only Castlegar, but all of B.C. celebrates with Anne Fomenoff of Castle Wood Village on her being honoured with a major award.
Earlier this summer The B.C. Seniors Living Association (BCSLA) put the word out to all the senior’s retirement communities in B.C. to select someone they thought would be the ideal candidate for such an award.
Heads got together to determine who would be the recipient. Once all the names and reasons were submitted and sent to the judging panel, it was decided that Castlegar’s own Anne Fomenoff would be the perfect example of a life well-lived, a volunteer.
Anne and I got a chance to sit down together and have her give a thumbnail sketch of her life, her trip to Whistler to receive the award, and what lies ahead. There will be a formal event in October where she will deliver the full story she delighted everyone with in Whistler.
She sure didn’t seem tired on Sept. 28 given her travel itinerary, demanding schedule and gala evening at the Fairmont Chateau Whistler. She took along her companion Norm who also enjoyed the festivities.
“The B.C. Seniors Living Association was formed eight years ago by a group of industry leaders who
believed there was not the appropriate representation for the retirement community industry in B.C.,” quotes the website. The industry needed to be organized to reflect the evolving needs and desires of seniors within B.C. – thus the formation of BCSLA. Its aim was to focus on networking opportunities to the betterment of seniors’ own ideas of what their futures should be like.
Back to Anne – this happy senior seems to be in the very beginning of her senior years, what with all her pep and sharp wit. She wasn’t in the least tired, showing all the recycling she takes care of, plus most of the gardening inside and out. Not missing one iota of a sense of humour, she proudly shows me a plaque in the garden called ‘Anne’s grow op’ – it may mean something else today, but she knows full well the play on words.
By the way, Anne has been a senior for many years and still looks forward to more of a full and rewarding life.
She was raised on a farm near a small town outside of Saskatoon, preferring to do the chores outside with her brothers rather than the inside chores normally allotted to the daughters of her day. It’s the same now, as her flowers can prove. But even though the outside was her preference, she still learned all the handiwork her mum taught her plus what it took to keep a house together.
She married early, raised four daughters, and then when a little extra money was needed she opened her doors “to three and four boarders for a period of 15 years in a little house of 900 square feet. I don’t know how we did it but we did. Now, it boggles my mind how we did it.”
When one of the dams was being built she had a steady stream of mouths to feed. When asked how she found time for herself she says “I’d just stand at the stove and stir the pot while I held a book in my other hand – I loved to read.” When both hands had a moment for her, she hoisted up her knitting, maybe only doing a row at one sitting while someone was calling her for something else.
One day, though, when her kids were grown up, her husband Fred was on his way out of town to go to work. “He says, ‘You should get a job so you have something to do all day.’” We both laughed and laughed over that comment.
There’s a lot more to Anne’s life, much of which will be revealed to the big event in October when she will be officially recognized by the City of Castlegar. We all wish her well for many years. Congratulations Anne!