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LETTER: Retirement and COVID-19

Weekly Bingo takes place Sunday at 6:30 p.m. at St. Teresa’s Parish Hall. It’s the main fundraiser for Knights of Columbus St. Teresa’s Council to donate to various charities.
- 123RF Stock Photo

I read with interest Capt. Wilfred Bartlett’s recent comments regarding seniors’ isolation. I assume this applies to those over the age of 65, although some retire as early as 55. Whatever the definition of senior, I am in Bartlett’s camp.

I recall my father retiring at age 48, after spending 32 years in the armed forces, leaving him with two pensions — one from the First World War and another for the rest of his service, both fully indexed.

He could have lived off both pensions but took employment with the civil service. Like many pensioners, he did not like to be idle.

Being with the Royal Marines, he loved the sea and was never more content to be on ship with the rolls and pitches.

What I am trying to say is, if one door closes another usually opens. There is no point getting discouraged about the door closed. Look at other possibilities. Sending a letter to our local newspaper is a good idea; it keeps the mind active. No need to give up cards and bingo. They can be played using the internet. Those who are younger (children, grandchildren) can advise as how to do it.

He was assigned to many different ships including 20 years with the HMS Hood in the inter-war years.

Leaves were complicated then as passenger air transportation was essentially non-existent. His life for those 32 years was with the Marines and their quarters on ship or on land, wherever he was stationed at the time.

After retiring, he found a house, which had about a quarter acre of land and he grew vegetables and spent many hours in the evenings tilling the soil and weeding. There was a complete change in lifestyle from sea to land. He never pined about not being at sea.

When he retired again at 65 (compulsory retirement) he never looked back from his civil service employment. He still attended to his vegetable plot and spent more time volunteering. He was very active until age 80, at which time he had to undergo a prostate operation. However, he (and mother) visited us until he was 85.

What I am trying to say is, if one door closes another usually opens. There is no point getting discouraged about the door closed. Look at other possibilities. Sending a letter to our local newspaper is a good idea; it keeps the mind active. No need to give up cards and bingo. They can be played using the internet. Those who are younger (children, grandchildren) can advise as how to do it.

During the last week, I had two meetings over the internet using programs called Zoom and Webex; — we could see each other and talk to each other as if we were in the same room. Setting up my computer took very little time and with negligible cost, assuming you have a laptop or similar computer, including a hand held one.

My spouse is fond of using the telephone to talk to friends and at other times she writes letters.

I agree totally the COVID-19 pandemic has changed our lifestyles. Seniors have to be more careful than others about protecting ourselves as we are compromised by age. (There are some who consider age a disease.)

Hopefully, this too shall pass.

Ian McMaster,
St. John’s

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