This week I want to tell you the story of a friend of mine who became an octogenarian this past weekend.
Penny was born in 1933, and grew up in a small village in Yorkshire, England. When she was 21, she moved to the big city – Leeds, to be precise – to train as a physiotherapist.
Six years later she made an even bigger move, boarding a ship across the Atlantic Ocean. She took her healing skills to Canada, where she carved out a whole new life and career for herself. For a few years Penny bounced around her new homeland, living and working in places as far apart as Vancouver, Niagara Falls and Thunder Bay.
Eventually, she settled in Kitchener, Ontario, where she and her husband, Michael, bought their own clinic. Over 45 years later, the Physiotherapy Centre is still going strong. And astoundingly, Penny can still be found working there three or four days a week (Michael sadly died in 2006), helping people in pain, even though the majority of those who attend the clinic are younger than she is.
Penny is much more than just my friend. As the mother of one of my creators, you could say she’s like a grandparent to me. Without Penny there’d be no Sue, and without Sue there’d be no Jaspa’s Journey. The same is true of Rich’s parents, Auriel and Brynmor, of course.
Despite being a feature of Kitchener for the past 45 years, Penny is still open to new experiences. For example, these days she can regularly be seen tapping away on her iPhone and iPad.
In 2007, just a few days before Penny’s 75th birthday, I was fortunate enough to accompany her on her first ever visit to mainland Europe, when we spent New Year in Prague. Three years later, she followed that up with a trip to Germany and Luxembourg, for which I also tagged along.
Penny will be marking her 80th birthday with a double first. In March, she’ll be venturing to the Caribbean for the first time, an adventure that will be combined with her first experience onboard a cruise ship. (Apparently, a far cry from the ship in which she crossed the Atlantic in 1960!) I’m excited that, once again, I’ll be there to enjoy it with her.
Still working, still travelling, still open for new experiences. Penny really is living proof that… You’re Never Too Old!