The voice of Baby Boomers from a woman's perspective


Boomers pay their respects at Beny-sur-Mer 70 years later

A circular patch of grass in the garden adjacent to Abbey D'Ardennes marks the spot where the remains of murdered Canadian soldiers were found.

A circular patch of grass in the garden adjacent to Abbey D’Ardennes commemorates the spot where the remains of murdered Canadian soldiers were found.

In September my husband and I spent two weeks in France and Belgium feeding our appetites for history, French wine and travel with the emphasis on history. Until this year I had been unable to source a tour that offered visits specifically to Canadian memorial sites related to World War I and World War II. The river cruises didn’t meet our criteria. After I mentioned my requirement to Lola Stoker of Cruise (  she called me several weeks later to inform me of the perfect tour. It began with a few days in Paris followed by eight days touring Canadian war sites in northwestern France and Belgium by motor coach and returning to spend a few more days in Paris before returning home.

In addition to visits to the usual Paris landmarks, our itinerary included stops at Monet’s Giverney, Caen where the Canadians traveled inland within twenty-four hours of landing on Juno Beach on D-Day, Juno Beach and Gold Beach, Dieppe, Pegasus Bridge, Honfleur, Amiens, Somme area, Vimy Ridge, Ypres Belgium, Passchendaele, Essex Farm Cemetery (where Dr. John McCrae wrote In Flanders Fields), as well as numerous Canadian war cemeteries, museums and monuments. Everyone on the motor coach with us was a Canadian Baby Boomer who had a grandfather, father or uncle who was a veteran of one of the wars so we each had a personal stake in what we were witnessing.The trip included many memorable moments but with Remembrance Day approaching, I would like to share one particular event that deeply touched each of the forty-two people on our tour.

Pictures and details about each murdered Canadian soldier are permanently installed on the wall of the monastery garden.

Pictures and details about each murdered Canadian soldier are permanently installed on the wall of the monastery garden.

One of our first visits was to the Abbey D’Ardennes near Caen. Making their way inland on D-Day, the Canadian North Nova Scotia Highlanders were the only Allied forces to achieve their objective but when they reached the Abbey they did not have the backup support they expected. The Abbey was occupied by elite Nazi SS soldiers under the command of Kurt Meyer SS-Brigadeführer Generalmajor der Waffen-SS who captured the Canadians in a section of the monastery. Meyer ordered the illegal execution of the prisoners and their bodies were not found until after the war when the wife of a neighbouring farmer turned up the remains while planting flowers in the abbey grounds. Each had been shot in the back of the head.

As we were walking from the monastery to the adjoining garden, the lady walking beside me, quietly said, “My husband was one of those soldiers who was in the area that day.” She then went on to describe how her husband, along with other Canadian soldiers hid in the wheat field next to the monastery while the German SS soldiers scoured the fields looking for them and shooting and bayoneting them until there were no survivors. Her husband, one of three soldiers who survived by playing dead for three days, then worked their way slowly through the fields until they encountered a British transport.

The monument in the garden at Beny-sur-Mer to the North Nova Scotia Highlanders.

The monument in the garden at Beny-sur-Mer to the North Nova Scotia Highlanders murdered on June 7, 1944.

When they asked for a ride, they were informed that there was no room. The transport proceeded without them and was blown up further along the road killing everyone aboard. It took a few days for her husband and the other two soldiers to regroup with the North Shoreman division as the North Nova Scotia Highlanders had been decimated. He went to the padre to see if they notified his parents. The padre said no but if he  hadn’t shown up by that evening they were going to send a telegram . Her husband had planned to accompany her on this trip but passed away earlier in the year, so one of their five daughters traveled with her mother on this special journey.

As the story was related to the group, a spontaneous silence descended over our group for several minutes, followed by the placing of poppies and Canadian flags on the memorial. The owners of the adjoining farm are the same family who lived there on June 7, 1944 and who found the remains. They fly a large Canadian flag at their gate and still tend the gardens and monument. The spot in the garden where the bodies of the murdered Canadians were found is now sacred ground and there is memorial to them as well as pictures of each soldier permanently mounted on the wall of the monastery.

Kurt Meyer was eventually tried in a Canadian court for the murders and served eight years of a life sentence before he was released and returned to Germany.






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Plugging small businesses by women

When I come across small businesses run by women I’m always happy to endorse them and support their growth. Therefore, today I’m introducing you to four businesses that you may want to consider using:

  • Lola Stoker

    Lola Stoker

    Cruise Holidays, Luxury Travel Boutique: I first met Lola Stoker at a presentation for European river cruises when I was shopping for a tour of World War I and World War II Canadian war sites. While none of the tours she presented that day were what I was looking for, she remembered my request and e-mailed me a few months later with news of a special “Great Canadian War Memorial Tour, BME 919″ being offered by Globus. It couldn’t have been more perfect. For any cruise, river or ocean, or another specific tour or independent vacation you are considering, I highly recommend Lola Stoker who can be reached at or Tel 905-602-6566. Her office is in Mississauga.

  • Vanessa Baillie

    Vanessa Baillie

    MYpoint5  is a business belonging to the daughter of a friend.When first described to me I had no idea what she was talking about. MYpoint5 provides administrative services “virtually”. To use an old-fashioned term that Baby Boomer Broads understand, it is a twenty-first century high-tech version of a “Girl Friday”. Many of the services are provided via the internet. Vanessa Baillie is the proprietor and she’s based in Ottawa which is no obstacle to providing services to clients anywhere thanks to e-mail, internet, Skype and all those other new-fangled business tools. Whether you need business event planning services, customer support, social media updates, travel arrangements or calendar management, Vanessa Baillie would be delighted to help. She can be reached at or Tel 613-884-8832.

  • secretIt’s Our Little Secret is an upscale consignment shop located at 62 Lakeshore Road East (west of Hurontario) in Port Credit, Ontario owned by Kym McKinnon with some early marketing help from Danielle Goreski, the niece of a friend and cousin of Brad Goreski, stylist-to-stars in New York and Los Angeles. Danielle is another hot entrepreneur you can learn more about by visiting her website at When I visited Kym’s shop I was impressed with the quality and merchandising of the clothing, purses, shoes and accessories she carries. While browsing her shop I saw such high-end brands as Gucci, Betsy Johnson, Christian Loubitan, Chanel and Manolo Blanhik as well as Coach, Guess, Joe Jeans, Michael Kors and other familiar names. If you’re looking to score a designer item at a bargain price or you have quality items to sell, contact Tammy Mifsud at 905-274-2121.
  • Donna Kakonge

    Donna Kakonge

    Donna Kay Kakonge is the person who helped me through the process of self-publishing my book, BOOMERBROADcast. Donna has authored sixty-six books herself and provides a wide range of language-related services including editing, publishing support and writing. With numerous degrees including her Master’s Degree, Donna Kakonge has taught at University of Toronto, Ryerson University and Humber College. As a freelance communications consultant she provides services to corporations as well as individuals and is extremely knowledgeable in all aspects of media and communications.

For links to the website for each of these businesses, simply click on their company name above.

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Click on the link to order directly.

Click on the link to order directly.


And don’t forget to order your own copy of BOOMERBROADcast,

Baby Boomer reflects on the journey from living life in the Sixties to living life in her Sixties, at for the Kindle Edition

Get a head start on Christmas shopping.



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Microsoft’s CEO should know better

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.

When I read about Microsoft C.E.O. Satya Nadella’s comments last week about women in high-tech asking for raises I nearly choked on my Geritol. According to him, women shouldn’t be asking for raises. Instead, they should simply trust in the system that there’s more coming their way. I’m so apoplectic I can hardly articulate a response. If I learned nothing else during my forty years in the corporate world it’s that no one is going to walk down the hall and pat you on the head for being a good girl and back it up with a nice raise. If Nadella had his way, women would toil silently and blissfully alongside men doing the same work while watching the men reap the benefits while the women wait for a few crumbs to be thrown in their direction, if they’re very good girls.

Women's work according to S D. Keep your mouth shut and keep working.

Women’s work according to Satya Nadella.  Keep your mouth shut and keep working.

If I had taken his advice I would have spent my entire career on a reception desk, making a subsistence salary while probably simultaneously running the entire office, directing sales, handling P.R., keeping the company solvent, setting corporate policy and generally doing the work of three or four people. I’ve watched mediocre, poorly qualified men rise to the top simply because they were great self-promoters while brilliant, hard-working women are passed over. You know what I’m talking about don’t you Boomer Broads. We’ve all witnessed the subtle discrimination over the years and while the business world has improved, Nadella’s comments demonstrate there is still an underlying layer of prejudice. Not all CEOs think like he does but these dinosaurs still do exist.

Here’s an excerpt from my book, BOOMERBROADcast on the issue:

Take care of yourself in business. We’ve watched men to do it without hesitation.  If I’d taken better care of myself, I’d have had more job satisfaction, a fatter pension and much lower cortisol levels. Do not be the dutiful, hardworking girl waiting for a pat on the head. Set your goals. State what you want and if you deserve it, ask for it. The worst they can say is no. At best, you’ll be able to buy a condo and take a vacation. You’re worth it. And buying your own diamonds proves it.

Protect your interests and take care of yourself first. We’re all familiar with the airline safety procedure telling us to put the oxygen mask over our own face before that of children. The benefits may seem obvious to most of us but not everyone gets it. This metaphor applies to life in general and in my experience no more so than in the business world. Boomer Broads were raised to be dutiful, considerate, self-effacing models of compliance. In a generation of women who were now expected to also hold our own in the working world, we carried these values into the workplace. As a result, we were easily taken advantage of and not always given our just rewards. How many Boomers and other women do you know who worked their asses off and never received the recognition they deserved.

. . . . . What I learned is that it’s the responsibility of each one of us when we are doing an excellent job to insist upon the commensurate rewards. That may take the form of a higher salary, a promotion, an extra week of vacation or some other type of recognition. I worked for a very enlightened employer who would probably have complied if I had raised the issue of higher salary or more staff. The fault was my own. Instead of asking for additional staff, my way of coping was to string yellow “CAUTION” tape up around my desk and work until midnight.”

How can a man achieve the level of CEO of Microsoft when he has the temerity to say something so patently stupid. I hope Melissa Gates had a word with him. While Nadella later apologized for his comments, the damage has been done. As a result of his Freudian slip we now know what he’s really thinking.

Click on the link to order directly.

Click on the link to order directly.


And don’t forget to order your own copy of BOOMERBROADcast,

Baby Boomer reflects on the journey from living life in the Sixties to living life in her Sixties, at or for the Kindle Edition

Get a head start on Christmas shopping.




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Ann-Marie MacDonald opens up

Adult onsetLet me begin this review of Ann-Marie MacDonald’s newest book, Adult Onset by stating up front that I’m a huge fan of her writing. Fall on Your Knees was an incredible and unforgettable read. The Way The Crow Flies fictionalized a very tragic event in the history of Ontario law enforcement in a way that kept me reading and trying to predict the outcome through every page. I love the way she paints the scenery, gives life and depth to her characters and spins a yarn that keeps me engaged throughout. I’ve waited for her newest book with such anticipation that I pre-ordered it on-line so I would be at the front of the line to read it when it was published, rather than wait my turn to download it from the library.

Adult Onset is transparently autobiographical. It covers a few days in the life of Mary-Rose MacKinnon, mother of two children who has taken a sabbatical from her life of writing Young Adult Fiction to be a stay-at-home mom. This gives her wife, Hilary the freedom to bring home the bacon while traveling and working as a theatre director. While she clearly loves her children and wife, Mary-Rose chafes under the drudgery of everyday life focused around raising small children, maintaining a relationship with her parents and siblings and caretaking the homefront. Reading between the lines, we can speculate about child abuse and the normal disillusionment surrounding family relationships.

The book has been on the market for only a few days now so there’s not much feedback yet. My own reaction, whether I’m in the minority or majority remains to be seen, was disappointment. While the writing is beautifully crafted the content is too personal to be of interest to anyone but the writer. In the way that cat or dog owners (and I’m one of them)  think the pictures and antics of their pet are fascinating to other people and therefore Facebook-worthy, MacDonald is a mother who is so profoundly affected by motherhood that she assumes the rest of us also care about the small dramas that constitute her daily family life. That may be harsh but I feel she turned her massive talent into a Dear Diary of boring domestic voyeurism. She’s a brilliant writer and I have no doubt that as her children grow older and less dependent on her, she’ll be able to once again cast a wider net and reel me in. Not this time, though.


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The Rosie Project is a fun, easy read

RosieImagine Sheldon Cooper from The Big Bang Theory researching the market to find the perfect wife for himself. That’s what I found myself thinking of when I read The Rosie Project by Australian author Graeme Simsion. In his debut novel, Simsion no doubt taps into much of the academic world he lives in to describe the life of Don Tillman, a quirky University Professor of genetics who is oddly unaware of the fact he displays all the characteristics of Asperger’s Syndrome. He accepts his idiosyncrasies as a bit unusual and goes about his life in a state of resignation. With his life planned down to the minute and his meals organized by days of the week and sustainability, he lives with the knowledge that he’s “different” and attempts to apply scientific observation to explain his lack of emotion and empathy. While Asperger’s is certainly not to be trivialized, Simsion’s descriptions of daily life and his thought processes is a humorous read that engaged me immediately. When Tillman designs a questionnaire to canvass for potential mates, his requirements for a match are hysterical. He doesn’t plan on a graduate student called Rosie coming along to cause him to re-evaluate his entire life and question the merits of his criteria. The Rosie Project is a fast and fun read.

And don’t forget to order newly-released BOOMERBROADcast:


Click on the link to order directly.

Click on the link to order directly.


Hot off the press in time for Christmas

Shop on-line and avoid the mall crowds.

Shop on-line and avoid the mall crowds.

Get a head start on your Christmas shopping and order my newly-published book, BOOMERBROADcast. Save wear and tear on your feet and your nerves by avoiding the mall and shop on-line using the convenient link below.

Click on the link to order directly.

Click on the link (right) to order directly.





 or for the Kindle Edition



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