“I like to do things. I’m a searcher. When I came here I could hear the laughter. This place is alive.” – Garrison Green resident Wendy Martin.
Wendy made the move to United’s Garrison Green community in 2015 after living in Phoenix, Arizona since 1988. Her husband passed away in 2012 leaving her alone in her home and realizing that she would need her family close by as she got older.
“It’s true. Home is where the heart is. And while I had many friends in Phoenix, I didn’t have my family. I came to Calgary to be with two of my children. I have a daughter in England.”
Wendy and her husband moved a lot over the years. She was born in Harrow on the Hill in England, where Winston Churchill went to school. They moved first to Montreal from Solihull in Warwickshire, England in 1957, then to Toronto, New York, Denver, Chicago, White Rock B.C. and finally to Phoenix where they retired.
“Wherever my husband’s job took him, that became our home. If you’re willing to accept a new place, that’s where home is,” said Wendy.
Why did she choose a United Active Living community?
“My daughter-in-law had heard of United and suggested we take a look. I knew this was the right place for me right away. It really is ‘active living’,” she said.
Wendy’s passion is quilting. Since coming to Garrison Green she has created four quilts, has joined the Fibre Arts group and is sharing her expertise with other residents.
“If you have a talent, you should share it.”
She is working on a cat-themed quilt and has a few others on the go. “I call them my UFOs. Unfinished Objects”. Recently she created a quilt based on a musical piece by Mussorgsky, Pictures at an Exhibition, which was played over a four-week period at Garrison Green by Rolf Bertsch, the conductor of the Calgary Civic Symphony.
“I was so moved by the music. I could see in the music the theme I wanted to create in the quilt, but then I went to the art studio and made a collage, and then I also wrote a poem about the music. I really like the fact that each person is encouraged to do their own thing here. The art studio is just bursting with ideas that you can use,” said Wendy.
Wendy has never been one to sit still for any length of time. She volunteered for many years in Girl Guides, and in palliative care. She is a people person and is drawn to United’s open seating philosophy during meals. “Here you don’t have to sit with the same people all the time. You can eat what you want, when you want and with whom you want. That gives me the opportunity to get to know more people and hear their stories.”
Wendy has also developed her writing with the help of English students from Mount Royal University. “That generation is so interested and curious about how we grew up. The war, the depression. I think we all discovered that there is no difference between us. Young or old, we all have curiosity and a need to express it.”
Wendy will turn 87 in a few days (Feb. 11). Does she feel like she is 87?
“I occasionally feel my age, but age isn’t something I think about. Here there are people who are more than 100 who are still doing a lot of things. I’m active. I exercise every day, and I’m excited about my quilting and now my art and writing. All of these help you feel younger. I’ve still got a lot things I want to do in my life, and I look forward to learning something new every day.”
Do you know a friend or family member who could benefit from living in a United community? Send them a link to our website or blog, or arrange a tour. We are happy to help!
United is changing the conversation around aging. From our innovative United Minds (memory care) program to professionally staffed art studios and extensive creative programming, our communities offer more than you might expect. If you have questions or topics you would like us to cover in future blogs, let us know.