Home Away From Home

By Enise Olding

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Eleanor Roberts didn’t think twice about offering a sizeable donation to the Saanich Silver Threads Centre, which she fondly refers to as “the Hamptons.”

“I became aware they needed some money and I just did it,” she says. “I want this Seniors’ Centre of mine to keep going!”

Eleanor was 14 when she came to Victoria. ”Grandfather needed someone to look after him in his 600-square-foot house, so mother came with her two girls while the boys were away at war.” Eleanor laughs when she recalls how crowded that little house was when three brothers came home from the war. The family stayed in Victoria and eventually each of the siblings married and set off on their own journeys.

Although her mother had come from a well-to-do family, over the years, she grew poorer, having lost her husband and raising her five children. Life was difficult for her mother and Eleanor subsidized her from her own earnings.

Eleanor worked as a bookkeeper in the family sheet metal business started by her husband, Howard. Involvement with the business and responsibilities of her own growing family of two boys and a girl filled her time. But once the children were grown and the business sold, Eleanor and Howard devoted a great deal of time to the couples’ club to which they belonged. “We were always active and had lots of friends,” she says. And even though numbers have diminished over the years, there is still a vibrant core group of about 30 people that continues.

Travel has featured in Eleanor’s life and she particularly enjoyed a trip to Las Vegas with a girlfriend recalling the fun they had at a Donnie and Marie Osmond show. They wanted audience participation and Eleanor found herself on stage. “It was around Christmas time, so we sang Christmas songs,” she laughs, “Trouble was, nobody took any photos, although they did tell me I’d done a great job.” Having sung with the Sweet Adelines and been in a choir as a teenager, Eleanor is no stranger to singing. It’s a pastime she enjoys and thinks she might take up again.

“I need to be around people,” she says. So, if she’s “not at home, I’m at the Hamptons,” to meet with friends, enjoy entertainment or be involved in one of the many activities at her “home away from home.” Eleanor loves her active life and when she saw there was an opportunity to contribute towards enriching the life experiences of seniors, she took it, investing in her own and others’ well being. “It would be very nice if people who are living comfortable lives and are financially secure, to give to someone who requires something. Give to something close to their hearts, maybe.”



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