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Remembering our mothers

This is my first Mother’s Day without my mother. Understandably, I’m feeling bereft and sad that I couldn’t pick out a lovely card to send her or call her and hear the voice I’ve listened to my entire life, and tell her I love her. One of the advantages of being born to a very young mother is that you get to have her for a longer period of time than many other daughters. My own mother was part of my life for sixty-eight years so I was especially blessed.

“A mother teaches you everything—except how to live without her” now has such meaning. Most boomers grew up with amazing mothers who also had amazing mothers. Each generation passes along their strengths and we build on that to become even stronger women in our own right.

Gail and I celebratin our mothers, Anne (second from right) and Barbara (right), who are now both gone.
Gail and I celebrating with our mothers, Anne (second from right) and Barbara (right), who are now both gone and sadly missed.

The perception of mothers in the fifties and sixties raising their families June Cleaver-style, staying at home and dispensing wisdom along with home-cooked meals and happy outcomes was not the reality for many of us. Our mothers were indeed wise and loving, but very few of the mothers in my circle of friends stayed home and played bridge with their friends. They worked during the day in factories, shops, hospitals, restaurants, family businesses and offices or they taught school.  They came home exhausted at the end of the day and cooked meals, did laundry, cleaned house. Then, they somehow found time to lend to community or church work.

roses1And now, most Boomers have lost our mothers. Those strong, loving women coped in ways we could never imagine. As we remember them today, we have a stronger appreciation for how precious and incredible they really were. My friend Gail posted this little poem which says it better than I ever could:

If roses grow in heaven, Lord, pick a bunch for me; place them in my mothers arms and tell her they’re from me; Tell her that I love her, and when she turns to smile, place a kiss upon her cheek and hold her for awhile; because remembering her is easy; I do it
everyday. There’s an ache within my heart that will never go………
away. In memory of my Mother…

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Now it’s time to help our own

I don’t need to remind you of how devastating the fires in Fort McMurray have been for the residents, many of them young families who have moved from elsewhere for work. It could have been you or me.  Here’s a link to the Canadian Red Cross to make it easy to donate: https://donate.redcross.ca/ea-action/action?utm_source=bing&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=Appeal%20-%20Alberta%20Fires%202016&utm_term=%2Bcanadian%20%2Bred%20%2Bcross%20%2Bfort%20%2Bmcmurray&utm_content=Fort%20McMurray%20Fires&ea.client.id=1951&ea.campaign.id=50639

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It could be you or me.
It could be you or me.
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Beware of income tax scammers

scam1It happened to my ninety-year-old father a couple of weeks ago and today it happened to me. I received a robo-call from someone claiming to be with Canada Revenue Agency demanding that I call a certain number to settle an outstanding income tax payment. The caller had a Caribbean accent, gave an identity number and suggested that unless I called back within twenty-four hours I would need the assistance of an attorney as they would not be responsible for the consequences, or words to that effect.

Scamming innocent seniors is a sad way to illegally extort money. The majority of Canadians are law-abiding citizens and we play by the rules, which means we pay our taxes, however grudgingly, but we generally comply with Canadian law.  That’s part of the privilege of living in our wonderful country. The criminals who make these calls target anyone, not just seniors. Like the Nigerian heirs who supposedly need a safe Canadian bank to deposit their fortune, these scammers are without conscience. Someone in a call centre somewhere is making thousands of calls and if only a fraction of one percent of those they call respond to their demands for money or personal information, then it’s worth their while.

Seniors are not the only victims of tax scammers.
Seniors are not the only victims of tax scammers.

Please warn those you know, seniors or otherwise, to be aware of these scams. Revenue Canada only mails official documents that come with an official Revenue Canada mailing address and return envelope. We hear about unfortunate people being duped despite the constant warnings on TV news, but the scams obviously have a degree of success because they continue.

Because I was curious about the level of threat being made, I listened to the entire pre-recorded message, then I hung up. I wish I’d made a note of the telephone number they were calling from so I could report it to Canada Revenue Agency’s anti-fraud centre. Please do not let someone you know fall for this. Get the word out. It’s tax season and there are many who are vulnerable. Here’s a link to CRA’s advice on the issue: http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/nwsrm/lrts/2015/l150610-eng.html

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Two movies about interesting women

Today we have a two-fer. Two movie reviews in one posting because they have similar themes—eccentric ladies of a certain age coping with life. I just saw The Lady in the Van and Hello, My Name is Doris within the past week and both were fun and worth the price of admission.

vanThe name Maggie Smith practically guarantees great acting, a worthy plot-line and good writing. Starring as Margaret Sheppard, an elderly bag lady living in her dilapidated van, her character is abrasive, funny, intelligent and unpredictable. Smith is delightful in the role without being over-the-top or pathetic. She parks her van in front of various houses on a particular street in Camden Town until she runs into trouble with parking authorities and accepts the offer of playwright Alan Bennett to park in his driveway. And there she remains, for fifteen years. The Lady In The Van is loosely based on a true story written by Bennett, owner of the driveway and sponsor of the character on which she is based. Alex Jennings, an Elton John look-alike plays Bennett. As a confirmed Anglophile, I loved the movie, which I watched on Pay-Per-View as it didn’t seem to last very long in theatres.

dorisSally Field plays the lead character in Hello, My Name is Doris about a boomer-aged woman who has dedicated her entire adult life to taking care of her mother while living in her childhood home. She is an odd character, an eccentric dresser but otherwise, one of the drones who toil away at data entry in a small cubicle for a company that keeps her on because she’s pretty much invisible. She reminds me of office girl “Kaaaaiye” played by Tracy Ullman many years ago, for those who remember that wonderful character. When a handsome young new Creative Director shows an interest in her, Doris mistakes his attention for romance and her life takes on a new dimension. Field often over-acts  in this movie but considering the character, it’s understandable. Not an Oscar-worthy movie, but a fun chick-flick. I attended with three girlfriends and we laughed heartily and frequently while tossing back our popcorn and Diet Coke.

There are few movies targeted at the mature Boomer market and for that reason alone we need to support and encourage them. I think you would enjoy both of these movies but I’d love to know your opinion. Let me know.

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