|Above: Retired York staff enjoy lunch and conversation at the third annual York University Staff Association retirement luncheon held in Michelangelo’s Restaurant|
Retirement, it seems, is more of a beginning than an end. Just ask some of those who attended the third annual York University Staff Association (YUSA) Retirement Luncheon last Thursday at Michelangelo’s Restaurant. They have embraced the opportunity to pursue passions they maybe didn’t have the time for when they were working.
Lilian Mayla (right) may have retired as an administrative secretary, but she didn’t stop working or learning. She teaches students up to age 12 in both the English and French Catholic boards of education in Toronto. In 2002, she completed her bachelor’s degree and will return to the Keele campus this September to finish her master’s of education degree and to the Glendon campus to finish her translation studies.
“I think we can continue to learn so much,” says Mayla, added she always feels as if she hasn’t learned enough. The YUSA retirement lunch gives her the chance to learn what her former colleagues and friends have been up to. “This event to me is lovely.”
Left: Clifford Ives (left) and Joan Howard
Photographing nature and the occasional wedding is something Clifford Ives has taken up since his retirement as fire inspector. “I miss the people. The best now is “Breakfast Television” in the morning. I watch all the traffic jams,” he says, laughing. Ives has worked at several jobs during his 40 years at York, including security.
Joan Howard remembers Ives well. She was the secretary for the Master’s Office at Vanier College for many years and still helps out when needed. Before that, she worked at the physical plant at York. Howard figures she’s known Ives for about 24 years.
Right: Joanie Cameron Pritchett talks about the importance of stories before inviting people to share theirs
“I know many of you have been retired for some time and we really are grateful that you come back here, that every year you take time out to share stories with us. Sometimes we need to hear your stories to remind us what the vision is because sometimes when you’re in the trenches you can’t really see the bigger picture,” said Joanie Cameron Pritchett, president of YUSA.
“I know it sounds corny and a bit antiquated, and I don’t really care because I think I’m a bit of both; we’re really appreciative, all of us in the York University Staff Association…and even larger, all of us at the University, are really grateful that you’re here.”
Left: Betty Hagopian
Betty Hagopian (BA ’90, BA Hons. ’95), winner of the 2004 President’s Voice of York Award, says, “Retirees should have other interests, otherwise they feel lost.” For Hagopian that was easy. “Teaching was always my passion,” she says. So after retiring from her role as the undergraduate program assistant in the Department of Anthropology, she began teaching a credit course in academic writing at Seneca College.
For Claudia Hungerson, her passion is running. She ran six miles in the morning before the luncheon. She still competes in races and has completed 10 marathons. When she worked at York, she used to run with some of her colleagues during her lunch hour. “I am still friends with a lot of them,” she says.
Cynthia Gough proves learning can happen at any age. She’s learning how to speak Italian and Spanish. Her neighbours are Italian and she wants to be able to converse with them. “I love languages,” she says.
Right: Retired York staff mingle over lunch
She can already speak French and Hindi. The French she learned while working as a secretary in the University’s Faculty of Fine Arts. Before York, Gough worked in the corporate world and was also a consultant.
The secret to staying young, she says, is to laugh. She also lives by the motto she has stuck on her fridge: to live simply, love generously, care deeply and speak kindly.