Monday, April 14, 2014

Following Your Dreams

By Sandi


At the young age of 66, I have experienced an interesting journey that took many twists and turns.

As a child, my dream as some young adolescent females, was to be happily married…have four children…first a son, then a daughter...the order of the last two children did not matter. I wanted a son, Todd, first so that my daughter, Tanya Leanne, had and older brother to protect her if needed. My third child either, Wade or Leah would also have their older brother to guide them.

My dream home was a bungalow consisting of a large kitchen, a bedroom for my husband and me and bedrooms for each child. The yard would be large so that my children could enjoy the outdoors as much as possible. We would live on a safe street with other young families and in time become friends. The purpose for the large kitchen other then the obvious, cooking and eating, was for my family and I to sit around the kitchen table and chat, play games such as crib, board games etc. and to get to know each other by communicating.

Dreams take many turns.

At the age of 21, I joined the Air Force. My journey from Nanaimo commenced January 3 1969 by taking the boat from Departure Bay to Horseshoe Bay. My journey continued from Vancouver by an enjoyable train ride to Halifax N.S. The last trek of the journey was via bus to CFB Cornwallis. At CFB Cornwallis, I commenced my military career as a very proud recruit (Private Starling) with basic training during the very cold and miserable winter months of January, February, and March of 1969. I lived in a barrack block that was identified as South Block with many other women who were military career oriented. Some women wore the army uniform, some the navy uniform and others including myself wore the air force uniform. We did not have the pleasure of wearing the actual uniform until the last week of basic training…instead; we wore dresses, which signified the three military elements. My choice to join the military was one of the best I have made and I would do it again. People thought I was a “bit out to lunch” as one of the routines I enjoyed during my journey was drill…marching…looking sharp, ready for inspection on the parade square. I felt very proud of myself…in fact was complimented once by the inspecting officer.

My military journey took me to CFB Borden for my trades training which was finance. The last trek of my military journey ended at CFB Rockcliffe…a very beautiful base in Ottawa. Along with my career at CFB Ottawa, I volunteered to be on the Base Defence Force. I learned out to use a gas mask…take an FNC1 rifle apart and put it back to together…how to use a baton during a riot.

As a volunteer with the Base Defence Force, I experienced two outstanding highlights:
·       A Commonwealth Convention was held in Ottawa and I had the privilege to be on duty at the Airport terminal when the dignitaries arrived. One of my duties was to check for identification. If I had any doubt that a person should not be going to the tarmac, I would ask for ID this also applied if I had suspicions of anyone who was entering into the building where I was on duty.  It was a great privilege and honour to be in the same building with numerous leaders from around the world….I even had the opportunity to give the odd direction when asked. The second duty was to be on guard outside of the VIP lounge and allow only classified personnel to enter.

·       The second highlight while on the Base Defence Force was being on duty at the Officers Mess at CFB Rockcliffe during the presentation of a medal to an honoured gentleman by the Queen. My location of duty was by the clothe room where I hung up various coats of VIPS. In attendance at this prestigious event were Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip, Princess Ann, Governor General L├Ęge, Prime Minister Trudeau and other dignitaries. After the presentation of the medal was over and the VIPs were preparing to leave, I had the honour to hand Prime Minister Trudeau his “Top Hat” white gloves and scarf…it feels like it only happened yesterday.
I still remember what Queen Elizabeth wore. She had on a beautiful middle green velvet coat, and a gorgeous hat to match. Pinned to the lapel her coat was beautiful pin. I was within five feet from Her Majesty.

I requested and received an honourable discharge from the military, the end of March 1974. I lived and worked in Ottawa as a civilian until June 1976 and eventually moved to Calgary.

You might ask me why I choose to move to Calgary as compared to Nanaimo, the city I am from...my answer is “a voice inside me told me to do so”…I listened to my intuition.

Living in Calgary has had its experiences (ups and downs). I compare my life experiences to climbing up Mount Everest…one climbs so high…stops because of some plateaus or crevices and then commences climbing a bit more. Another analogy is “the little train that could”. I experienced 28 wonderful and educational years with various departments within the Federal Government: (Revenue Canada as a administrative support with Special Investigations; Agriculture Canada as a Staffing Classification Assistant; Human Resources Development Canada as a Senior Contract Support Assistant) I won’t go into the last 10 ½ years of my career with the Provincial Government. (There were more downs than ups)

Volunteering in various capacities helped to make my life seem more successful.

·       During my career with the Provincial Government I was involved with Calgary Corporate Challenge…great experience…this was the best learning experience for me as a Provincial Government Employee as it took me out of my comfort zone and taught me how to become a leader.

·       I joined the Royal Canadian Legion in 1976 and eventually became involved as an executive…for some reason, this gal, me…seemed to have a problem just being a member…she always had to jump in with both feet and be on the board.

·       As if I didn’t have enough on my plate, I joined an Air Cadet squadron and became a civilian officer for a couple of years. This part of the journey took me to Maelstrom Air Force base for an enjoyable weekend tour with other officers and cadets where I challenged myself to rapell Aussie Style down the outside of a small building.

·       My self-esteem and confidence needed a good boost; therefore, I became a Toastmaster. I was a Toastmaster for 15 years and again concentrated on being involved with the planning and organization as compared to concentrating on doing speeches and presentations. Over the 15 years I was involved in two separate clubs. The second club, Twin Rivers, was where I think I burned out. The club was identified as “the old boys club”…, would you believe, I had the honour of being the first female president of the club…how awesome is that? With the support of the outgoing President, as well a good executive, I worked hard to ensure the success of the club. In 2008/2009 I planned and organized the clubs 60th anniversary celebration with the assistance of other club members. I think I burned myself out because I did not delegate well. The event was very successful.

The newest twist/turn on my journey is being part of the Bubbies and Zaidas Blogging Group through the Jewish Community Centre…it has not been what I expected it, in fact, it is better in many ways. I have met wonderful people. I have been mentoring a woman pertaining to the use of a lap top and writing a blog. I have had the pleasure to meet some students at the Jewish Academy. My first day at the Jewish Academy was a fun. I connected with a lovely student named Lauren…to sum the day up; she helped to make it perfect. The facilitator, Mariette, is astounding.

As I am typing up some of my life’s experiences, I am thinking….hmmm I guess Mom’s do not experience these “types” of twists and turns that have challenged me. It was not meant for me to be a Mom. Well, now that I am settled down to a degree, maybe someday, somehow, I will have the pleasure and experience of having children in my life…maybe in some way I could be a mentor.

Life is what a person makes it…Life is great…All the bumps in my journey have helped me to become a stronger person and also have helped me to learn who I am as compared to who “others” what me to be.

Dreams take many turns...sometimes what is not planned,  fulfills one's life in unexpected adventures.

1 comment:

  1. Hello Sandi
    I love seeing this photo of you. I think sometimes it is hard for us as human beings to think of people as on a journey. Your blog is a good reminder that we are all on a journey that continues until we take our last breath. Thank you!

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