Memories are so important. They help us understand who we are and where we’ve come from. Memories also allow us to connect with our neighbours through shared experiences.
Two years ago, a group of seniors recognized this and came together to create the very first Memory Mondays.
The idea was to create a fun and interactive event that encourages seniors in our community to share their interesting stories, as well as some smiles, as they reminisce about their common memories.
The simple mention of the Eaton’s Good Deed Radio Club, hosted by Cara Wilson, immediately brought laugher and joy to so many faces as they hummed the theme song to each other and smiled.
Memory Mondays celebrated its second birthday at Lion’s Place this past Monday and that’s a good thing for many of the seniors who come out on a regular basis.
“The more social connections someone has, the better they are at preserving memory,” according to R. Scott Turner, MD, PhD, and director of the Memory Disorders Program at Georgetown University Medical Center.
Engaging your brain is the key to keep it healthy.
“Just like physical exercise, mental exercise is good for you,” says Mustafa Husain, MD, director of the geriatric psychiatry division at Duke University School of Medicine.
Keeping your mind sharp is only one part of Memory Mondays. Another big draw are the amazing life stories you’re likely to hear.
Theresa Murie regaled the group with stories of how her grandmother acted as a decoy for Metis leader Louis Riel on his flight from the law.
She explained that her grandmother wore a little white dress and accompanied Riel through the bush in St. Norbert.
The idea was that anyone seeing a man and girl running through the woods wouldn’t suspect anything, as Riel was childless.
Murie wasn’t the only person who had a brush with fame.
Steven Lyles spoke about meeting Mahatma Gandhi as a child when he was a Boy Scout in India about a month before the leader’s assassination.
With so many interesting stories, it’s hard not to learn something new every time you attend.
Norine Anderson has some advice for anyone thinking about coming to an upcoming Memory Mondays.
“There are an awful lot of memories to be dug up. But, you have to get going at it. You have to come to these sorts of gatherings and listen to each other and it brings them alive. And that’s good,” says Anderson.
“Just sort of get up and go. We’re not fancy, we’re just ordinary people, who enjoy each other’s company. Most of us haven’t known each other for that long. We’ve met here, and then we get to know each other. So come on down.”
Check out Doug Kretchmer’s story about last year’s event at The Good Will Social Club where there was a screening of films about some of the ‘Memory Mondays’ participants.
Memory Mondays originated as part of West Broadway’s Community Voices program which runs story sharing meetings in many different settings. If you’re interested in learning more about Memory Mondays, contact Mike Maunder at 204-338-0090.