Amherstview woman sees two pandemics in lifetime
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Amherstview woman sees two pandemics in lifetime Featured

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Bessie Meeks is a survivor.

Born during the Spanish Flu of 1918 which claimed 20 to 50 million victims, Bessie turns 102 on Sept. 29 during the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020 which has claimed almost one-million victims in less than one-year.

That’s two world health crises in one lifetime. That’s resilience.

Speaking from her room at Helen Henderson Retirement Lodge in Amherstview one-week before her 102nd birthday, Bessie admits she didn’t expect to live this long.

“My mother was a wonderful lady, she taught me well,” she says about the secret of her long-life. “I’ve been careful about what I did and didn’t do. I did the things I thought I should do which I think are better for you.”

Speaking on behalf of the home, Lodge Manager Audrey Young notes, “Bessie is a joy to have as a resident in our retirement lodge. She is always happy, with her bright eyes and wonderful smile; she is an inspiration to anyone who meets her. Bessie is the positive reminder of why we love working in the health care sector.”

The proud mother of two adult daughters, Bessie taught school for 30 years in Verona, a small village north of Kingston, Ontario.

“That’s where I lived and that’s where I taught,” she says happily.

Sitting beside a Bible with bookmarks on her favourite passages, the friendly woman notes, “I think I gave it my best in my lifetime.”

Helen Henderson Retirement Lodge is delighted to celebrate Bessie Meek’s 102nd birthday on Sept. 29. For more information about living or working here, please call 613-384-4585.

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