Seasons Retirement Communities recognizes Margaret Squire as “Remarkable Resident”

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Many people in Amherstburg already regard Margaret Squire as remarkable.

Margaret SquireNow, her retirement community feels the same way.

Squire was one of three residents across the eight retirement homes operated by Seasons Retirement Communities to be selected as “Remarkable Residents.”

“I’m just so excited,” the 93-year-old Squire stated. “I can’t even read my own writing. I’m just so thrilled. It’s an honour to have been chosen.”

Squire filled out a questionnaire in June, which was “Seniors’ Month,” where she was asked questions about her life’s joyful and dark times, her unique talents that she is proud of, her volunteerism and lessons she would give herself if she could speak to herself as a younger person.

After getting her teaching certificate, Squire began her 28-year career in a one-room schoolhouse before moving on to become an English teacher at General Amherst High School. English became a love of hers even before that, though.

Born in Hungary Dec. 31, 1919 with German as her first language, Squire immigrated to Canada in 1929 and had to learn English. She was taught to “speak clearly” and to “speak with your mouth, not with your lips.” As a teacher, she would bring students to the Shakespeare Festival in Stratford twice a year, which was just part of another important chapter of her life – travel.

“I think language is a fantastic gift people don’t use enough,” said Squire. “People no longer write letters. They talk about e-mail. Twitter, to me, is something birds do. I do everything longhand. I use my language.

“You can take the girl out of the classroom but you can take the classroom out of the girl.”

Her love of language and writing, coupled with her love of travel, led her to write a pair of books. Squire is the author of “Globetrotting Granny” and a follow-up book “Globetrotting Great-Granny.” She said both “sold successfully” and the books chronicle her travels to 87 different countries.

Squire is also known for picking four-leaf clovers, joking she is a great marketing tool for the local retirement home as her four-leaf clovers are laminated and distributed as being “from Margaret Squire of Seasons Amherstburg.”

Dark times included the death of her husband from Alzheimer’s Disease in 1992 but she managed to find some positives in that as she went from “feeling lost” to re-enrolling in university as well as travelling. She encourages younger people to stay positive (“where there is a will, there’s a way”), to enjoy life and to put a lot into it, help others when possible and “be true to yourself.”

While her books have gone worldwide, she is thrilled to tell her story for electronic distribution as she was being filmed last Wednesday for a video that will appear later this fall on Seasons’ YouTube channel and Facebook page.

Natalie Gash, marketing co-ordinator with Seasons Retirement Communities, noted there were 87 submissions for the project from the eight homes.

“We couldn’t choose one submissions and we ended up choosing three,” said Gash.

Gash stated their goal is to have the videos edited and placed online by early October. She said the concept of the competition came from the stories the residents have and a desire to preserve them.

“They all have lived remarkable lives but they are not given a platform to talk about them,” said Gash.

The “Remarkable Residents” contest gives residents who don’t usually like talking about themselves the platform to “brag about themselves,” Gash added.

The other two winners are from Strathroy and Brantford. The former is the first person in Canada to import Friesian horses and is the exclusive provider of Friesian horses to Martha Stewart while the other winner lived through the war in Rotterdam and adventured to Gelderland while facing great upheaval and struggle along the way.

“The stories are very different but they are remarkable in different ways,” said Gash.

Acknowledging that many in Amherstburg know Squire’s story, “the rest of Ontario haven’t had a chance to hear what Margaret has to say. For us, it’s about sharing the story abroad.

“She hasn’t been on the Internet yet,” Gash added. “It’s a new platform for her to tell her story.”

Gash said she wished all 87 stories could be filmed, but noted others will get their opportunity, as the competition will become annual.

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