LUFOA publishes book of senior’s stories
They are the stories of days gone by, told to ones who can only picture the scenes in their imagination, but together, they make up a newly published book titled “Old on the outside…young on the inside.” They are stories of days gone by, from the mouths of those who were there.
© Rudy Norman
Some of those involved in making “Old on the outside, young on the inside,” a reality. Pictured are: (L-R) Gloria Sheppard, Olive Tizzard, Christian Pelley, Andre David Bowers, Hayley Roberts, Marie Burton, Bonnie Rowsell and Sharon Pelley
Life Unlimited for Older Adults (LUFOA) in Springdale embarked on a journey a couple years ago that would see them publish a collection of stories from the lives of some of the community’s more senior population.
When they started, says Gloria Sheppard, they weren’t totally sure of where it would go, but they knew it was something they needed to do.
“We weren’t sure how far we were going to take it,” she explains. “It was one of those things that as we were going through, it just grew and grew, and as a team we kept seeing things we wanted to do.”
Sheppard is part of the Lead Team for LUFOA, and was also on the editorial team for the project along with Sharon Pelley, Phyllis Gard, Bonnie Rowsell, Donna Snow and Andre David Bowers.
Bowers is also an English teacher at Indian River High School in Springdale, and became a key component in the project as it went forward.
“We wanted to bridge the gap between the generations,” said Sheppard, and have the older adults tell the stories to students, and then have the students tell the stories to the reader.
Bowers was the English teacher for the Grade 9 class at the time, and between him and the leadership of LUFOA, felt it was a good initiative for the students to take on.
“I’m not even sure how I presented it to them at the time,” recalls Bowers. “I think I just told them we were going to be doing a project, and that it involved some seniors.”
Sheppard, Bowers, and others involved said they weren’t really sure if the project was going to culminate into a book at that point, but knew that was their goal going forward.
“We mainly wanted to get it documented,” she said. “And worry about the rest later.”
After the decision to embark on the project was made, the next step was to reach out to older adults in the community and ensure their involvement.
“They told me I didn’t have a choice,” says Marie Burton with a cheerful laugh. “I figured no one wanted to hear about what I had to say – why did they want me?”
Burton’s story is one of the ones featured in the book, along with Olive Tizzard and many more. Tizzard remembers talking to the student who interviewed her for the story.
“I really enjoyed it, because I could talk about the old times, and they seemed really interested in it,” she said.
Sheppard says as the stories started to come together, suddenly their dream of putting together a book became closer to a reality.
The group applied for funding through United Way, and received enough to do a short run printing of the publication.
In addition to that funding, they said the support from the community has also been spectacular.
As for the name of the book, Sheppard says that came from a comment made by a couple of the students following their interview with one of the seniors.
“Lucas Meyer and Gavin Osbourne said that after the interview, they realized that ‘seniors look old on the outside, but young on the inside’,” she explained. “We thought that would be a great title, given what we wanted to accomplish with the book.”
As for where to from here, the group says they’re already thinking about a second book, which will hopefully be a volume two of its predecessor.
You can purchase one of the original copies at the Red Leaf Centre or at Springdale Public Library.