94-year-old Fred wants to stay at home for as long as possible, and one of the ways he’s able to do that is through the Meals on Wheels program offered by Community Support Connections – Meals on Wheels and More (CSC).
“There’s no way I want to leave my home. All my memories are here, and they’re going to remain here with me. I live only on my memories right now,” he said.
Born in Kent, England, Fred was conscripted to the British Royal Navy just before his 18th birthday where he served until he was 21. When the war ended, he took a release from the navy and went back to studying to become a saw doctor, a specialist who maintains and services sawmill blades.
His career took him took him all over the world, with his first job bringing him to East Africa. Eventually, Fred found a position in Guyana, South America, where he met the love of his life.
He first laid eyes on Olive while on the ferry to the sawmill. She was with friends on a weekend holiday, and they went their separate ways. Fate stepped in on the day Olive and her friends were to leave when they missed their steamboat ride leaving them stuck for days.
“That’s when we just clicked,” said Fred.
He was invited to her home, and because Olive’s father was the Chief Justice of Guyana, they had a lavish wedding fit for royalty.
Fred helped deliver four of their five children in Guyana before they moved back to England, where he was promised a job. When that fell through, he set out for Canada, despite the difficulty of leaving his family behind. Fortunately, the company he worked for in Calumet, Quebec brought his family over from England and settled there for 15 years.
“I could speak Swahili, but I couldn’t speak a word of French,” he said.
Another position brought them to Sudbury, Ontario where he eventually retired. Fred’s love for travel continued into retirement, volunteering abroad with the Canadian Executive Service Organization (CESO). Locally, he even delivered Meals on Wheels for a short time while living in Sudbury.
In 1998, he and his wife moved to Waterloo to be closer to their only daughter, Helen, and her family. Living on his own for ten years now, Helen is thrilled her dad is receiving Meals on Wheels.
“It does take a really big load off of us to have those meals. I’m just blessed to have dad around still, I know he misses mommy terribly, but we just want to keep him in his home for as long as possible,” said Helen.
Fred especially loves the volunteers that bring him a hot, nutritious meal, a smile and a safety check.
“All the meals are so very nice. They’re so well prepared. It makes me feel like I want to eat them. The soups are out of this world, I can’t expect more. And the desserts are gorgeous,” said Fred.
Though he misses Olive dearly, Fred is happy to be in his home and keeps his memories close to his heart.
“Everything is here with me. Even Olive is here with me. I couldn’t go anywhere else. I’d be lost. I’ve been the most fortunate person to have had the life I had with my darling.”