94 years young
My name is Dorothy Houghton and I was born in Peterborough, Ontario in 1922. I am one of seven children. My youngest sister Ellen died at 18 months of pneumonia. Our lives were pretty normal, our days filled with fun, love, music and security until I was 10 years old when our father suddenly died of a stroke and then two years later our mother died of cancer. That left six children alone to face the world. The eldest was but 19 years old and the youngest only six. Most important to me was that with the help of the Salvation Army we were all able to stay together as a family in our own home.
During World War II, all 3 of my brothers enlisted and at home I worked for General Electric to help the war effort. Although times were difficult and we dealt with many shortages and rationing, my life was filled with friends and home.
It was also during this time that I married my first husband and we moved to Toronto to live with his parents and started our family. We had five children and lived in Richmond Hill and then back to Toronto until our divorce 19 years later. I worked at a glass factory during the day and went to school at night to get a certificate in bookkeeping that helped me to get a job at Coopers & Lybrand where I worked for 20 years until my retirement.
When I met and married my second husband and after I retired, we ran a convenience store in the Bloor Avenue and Dovercourt Road area of Toronto. I was very active in the War Veterans Club in Toronto where I was President of the Women’s Auxiliary for 15 years. We made a special effort for the veterans who stayed at Sunnybrook hospital showing weekly films, giving refreshments and bringing them to the Veteran’s Club for special occasions. It was a lot of work but it warmed my heart to feel their gratitude and appreciation. I made life-long friends at the Club and still hear from them now and then.
After only 10 years of marriage, my husband suddenly passed away and I became very active in volunteering for the Bloor-Central Salvation Army Corp. where I helped with the “Moms & Tots” program to teach crafts to young mothers to get them out of the house so they could socialize with other mothers.
I also had the opportunity to travel. My younger sister and I went on a Mediterranean Cruise of Europe. Then we went to Australia and New Zealand. I have also travelled to Hawaii, the Fiji Islands and to Florida. I had fun and thoroughly enjoyed that time of my life.
My fondest memory is the time that I spent at home with my children. There was much love, joy and frustration with raising five children primarily on my own but I loved every minute of it. Many have asked how I have reached the age of 94. I think laughter, friends and strong family ties have kept me going through some of the most difficult times of my life.
I have been at Hillside Place for five years now and cannot think of a better place that I would rather be. I have many friends here and love the apartment that I now call home. I became a client of Peel Senior Link from when I moved in and I know that without their assistance and care, I would not been able to stay in my own home. The Personal Support Workers that I have are all wonderful and we share a lot of laughter, good conversation and music. My days are filled with peace and security in knowing that I can call on them whenever I need help. Thank you Peel Senior Link for taking such good care of me. My children do not have to worry about me and for that, I am grateful.