Something for Everyone by Julie Ireton


Something for Everyone By: Julie Ireton Kenneth Watkins sees retirement as an opportunity to exercise a different part of his brain. This former scientist spent his working years in electron microscopy – working in the Pathology department at the University of Montreal. Now, thanks to Abbotsford House, as a retiree Watkins is finding himself enjoying his artistic, creative side. “Suddenly I discovered the arts,” explained Watkins. “A lot of this stuff is new to me, I’m like a child discovering something different.” After retirement, Watkins and his wife, Henriette moved to Ottawa and soon became members at Abbotsford. Both of them take part in courses at the senior’s centre across from Lansdowne Park. “People don’t realize the quality of the instructors. There’s not a dud among them,” said Watkins who has taken art and drawing classes. He also attends exercise courses at the centre two or three times a week, including aerobics, muscle strengthening, balance and mobility classes. He explained one of his favorite discoveries has been the calligraphy class. “That’s a wonderful class. It’s complete Zen and the concentration is incredible,” said Watkins. The calligraphy class is held every Wednesday morning and is taught by Joan Massey who has studied the art for many years and formerly taught evening calligraphy courses at the Ottawa school board. Massey said the seniors she teaches at Abbotsford take the classes for a variety of reasons. “Usually they’ve admired the beautiful writing. People want to use calligraphy for art projects, signing cards or making signs,” said Massey. She said many people use computers and printers for signs these days, yet she said it’s definitely not a lost art. “There’s actually a very active Calligraphy Society of Ottawa and there are major conventions in the U.S. every year.” Massey agrees with Watkins that most people find writing calligraphy a very meditative, absorbing activity that appeals to many different types – no matter their interests and backgrounds. For Watkins, retirement has offered him a window into a different world and Abbotsford is offering him an appreciation of the arts. “As soon as I walked into Abbotsford the second time, they all knew my name,” said Watkins. “It’s a joy. You hear laughter here all the time.” It’s not too late to join in on the fun; there is still some availability in some classes. Fun is the operative word, laughter is ricocheting off the walls these days as friends come together for the varied classes offered through Abbotsford. It is also the time of year when Members, Volunteers and Staff make preparations for the 40th Annual Bazaar. The most wanted donations for Abbotsford’s 40th Annual Bazaar: We are in need of antiques and collectibles (jewelry, pottery, glassware, paintings and other rare or whimsical items) for our Elegant Treasures Sale. We are also looking for books (no magazines, Reader’s Digest, text books or Encyclopedias please) bring donations to Glebe Centre Community Programs at Abbotsford Bank Street. “The Best Bazaar in the City” will be on Saturday Nov. 28th from 10 am – 2:30 pm. Abbotsford is your community support centre for Adults 55+. We are the community programs of The Glebe Centre Inc., a charitable, not-for-profit, organization which includes a 254 bed long term care home. Find out more about our services by dropping by 950 Bank Street (the old stone house) Mon- Fri 9-4 pm, telephoning 613-230-5730 or by checking out all of The Glebe Centre facilities and community programs on our website www.glebecentre.ca