“I was born in Chemainus, B.C., in 1940, although my family lived in Duncan,” said Marilyn (nee. Moore) Lowe, tenant of Heritage Place. “Actually, my dad worked in the Chemainus mill and was in charge of the mill until he was called to serve in the military during the war. I was only eight months old at the time he left.
“Unfortunately, my father lost his leg while in Europe during the war years. He had been stationed in Italy (Sicily) until he came back home in 1944. Because of his injuries, he spent a long time in the hospital recovering at the Shaughnessy Hospital in Vancouver and was away from us for a year.
His handicap made him change careers by studying accounting and later becoming an accountant in Duncan. As soon as I graduated from school in the mid ’50s, I went to Victoria Business School. After that I worked as an accountant assistant in my father’s office.”
In 1962, Lowe married and moved with her husband, an army staffer, to New Brunswick. The couple had three children; two girls and a boy. Peter, the oldest, was born in New Brunswick, Deborah in Duncan and Jennifer, the youngest, in Port Alberni.
After two years in the Maritimes, they returned to Vancouver Island in 1970, this time to Port Alberni, where Lowe’s husband got a job as a heavy duty mechanic and worked for the Alberni Engineering (Franklin River Division). “My son Peter works there now.” she said.
“My husband was a heavy-duty mechanic at Franklin River and then on to a job at Alberni Engineering where my son still works,” Lowe said.
Marilyn worked at H&R Block, and also as a substitute teacher. Then, in the 1980s she volunteered at Fir Park Village with the residents’ “Village Rhythm Band.”
“It was lots of fun helping the seniors play musical instruments under the direction of Lilian McKenzie. We used a projector screen to display coloured dots as musical notes. Lilian was my cousin Keith’s wife, and she led us at the piano. It was a very successful and enjoyable activity for all of us,” she said.
She also recalls the hat shows at Fir Park. “We would put on old style hats (from Blanche McKenzie) and parade around wearing them. Both my daughters Deb and Jennifer would join in. Deb wore adult hats, and Jennifer, who was much younger, would wear timely outfits. I used to like a big old black hat with a huge black feather attached to it,” Lowe said.
After this time, Lowe volunteered her time with the Hospital Auxiliary, Meals on Wheels, singing in the Barkley Sounds Choir and the St. Albans Church Choir.
In 2010, Lowe moved into Heritage Place and has enjoyed her life there all along. “I take part in most of the activities Deb Walton organizes for us. There are some of the activities I can no longer manage, for example, I love knitting but I can’t do it anymore. Same with painting and any other activity that make use of your hands,” she adds.
When asked about her favourites, Lowe says: “I enjoy using the computer and getting in touch with my family through Facebook. Also, I play solitaire, crossword puzzles and card games, such as Skipbo, which I play with other tenants in the evenings. I try to keep busy and look forward to family visits and seeing all of my grandchildren. When my grandson, Will, comes to visit, he is always a hit at Heritage Place.”