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INDEPENDENT AGING > AGING IN PLACE > AP 9

Maybe When I'm Older!


By: Jo-Ann Thibault

“Maybe when I’m older”, my 81 year old father says to me, in response to my puzzled inquiry on ‘why’ they (mom and dad) does not take two days to break up the 11 hour drive to PEI, Canada?

For the past 50 years my parents have been driving from Boston to Prince Edward Island (PEI, Canada) once a year during the summer months, with either kids and/or elders in tow. 

My Mother, born on the Island, came to the States when she was a teenager.  And ever since I can remember, we took the annual drive to PEI to visit my grandmother and other relatives on the island during our summer vacation.

Now retired, Mom and Dad are seasonal residents from June to October.  A quaint cottage in Rocky Point just a stone’s throw from West River where Mom walks the private beach daily, gathering sea glass while getting her daily exercise.

Mom 77, Dad 81 – “Let’s go!” … not one hesitation.  It’s routine.  Absolutely have to get up to the cottage first week of June to till the garden and plant the veggies. This is most important.

After the 11 hour drive to the Cottage, a lot has to be done before they can settle in for the night. Norman (the plumber) comes a few days prior to turn the water on and make sure the hot water heater is connected and working. But there is no food. An 11 hour drive turns into a 14 hour non-stop day.  "No worries", my Dad says.

Put the screens up on the screen porch, air out the bed linens, clean off the winter dust, till the garden, get ready for planting, plant the beans, zucchini, tomatoes, lettuce, carrots, peppers, basil, oregano and parsley.

It’s been 15 years since Mom and Dad bought the Cottage on Rocky Point.  They are 15 years older.

There is a washing machine but no dryer. Plenty of room for a dryer – but Mom has two clothes lines on either side of the Cottage to hang clothes. No need for a dryer. We (the children) offered to buy a dryer (not that they can’t afford one) – but Mom refuses.  “No need for a dryer” she reiterates!  “I enjoy hanging the clothes” as she steps onto a step stool from the porch and grabs the clothes pins.

My parents are tougher and stronger than I could ever image to be. They grew up in depression, worked their way into prosperity, raised six children, gave us everything we needed, and remain humble in their way of living.

Need, not Want.

So, as I talk with my 81 year old Dad during our visit with them in PEI, I ask…”why do you not take two days to drive up Dad? You can arrive here early on day two, giving you less stress to get the Cottage together and go food shopping, etc…”

His response… “I don’t know…. Maybe when we’re older we will do that”.

By: JoAnn Thibault, www.TheElderInsider.com