Beryl: From wartime to storytime

Jan. 28, 2020

When visiting The Grove, you may notice two friends knitting together and talking, deeply immersed in each other’s stories.

One of these friends is Beryl, and this is her story.

Beryl was born in Nuneaton, a town in central Warwickshire, England. Her life was shaped by the shadow of the Second World War, which loomed large over her homeland when she was teen.

“There was only school to age 14 back then,” she explains. Then, everyone was registered at age 17 for the war effort. I was recruited into a factory to make wires and cables for airplanes and submarines.”

Meanwhile, Beryl’s husband-to-be, Archie, shipped out to Canada for his military training in Goderich. This Canadian experience was to be formative. After the war, Beryl and Archie married, and in 1957, they followed many of their countrymen and women seeking a fresh start by emigrating to Canada.

Archie’s specialty was metallurgy, so they moved to where the mining and alloy jobs were, all over the United States and Canada. Archie worked as a product design engineer for General Electric in the United States, but they eventually settled in Renfrew. In this time, the couple raised three children, while Beryl also found time to work as a bookkeeper.

Now in her 90s, Beryl is a grandmother to five. She moved to the Grove in August of 2018, to stay close to one of her sons, Andrew, who lives in town a few blocks away. She says it’s a wonderful place to spend her days now, knitting and chatting in such a friendly atmosphere.

“Life was so busy, and we were working most of the time. But now it’s so pleasant. I never feel like I don’t know what to do with my time. Everyone is so willing to care for you here.”

“I feel that everything they do is for my benefit. If I need something, I never have to ask twice.”

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