Kootenay elders celebrated in new book
When Nelson author Lee Reid set out to learn about elders and aging in the West Kootenay, she was unprepared for the richness and complexity of the stories she heard. Before long, interviews about gardening, cooking, and collective wisdom began to take root. The result is a fully illustrated book Growing Home: The Legacy of Kootenay Elders, which Lee will be reading from at the Rossland Public Library 22 March at 6:30 pm.
“I am so grateful to the Kootenay seniors who opened their homes and gardens to me and who shared their stories,” says Reid. “I learned about hope and courage with the unknowns of aging. We sure need that because there are so many ugly fears and assumptions about growing older. ”
Growing Home chronicles the life experience of long-time area residents as they navigate the changes and gifts of aging throughout the seasons on their land.
George Colletti, 95, recalls early Nelson and the Chinese market gardeners of the 1920s and 30s who provided produce to the Coletti Italian grocery store on Baker street.Pete and Shirley Relkoff share their Doukhobor culture and history, and Tom Wayman describes the positive impact of gardening on creative work. Other stories include those of Helen Jameson and her wildlife sanctuary; Ron McIntyre, the beekeeper from Blueberry; and Fred and Liane Rudolph at Shutty Bench, among many others.
The book features gardening advice and recipes, illustrated with art by Amber Santos of Nelson and photographs by the Slocan Valley’s Rod Currie, with additional photographs by other talented photographers from the region.
Reid’s own story includes ten years of creative cookery on a floating fishing resort, which resulted in her first book >From a Coastal Kitchen (Hancock House, 1980). Later, a career in counselling offered connections to extraordinary people from diverse cultures and backgrounds. After retirement, she founded SEEDS, a food security society where she rounded up a team of elder reporters to profile the lives of the volunteer senior gardeners at Lakeside Park greenhouse. Thus began her explorations into creative aging.
Copies of Growing Home are available locally and will be for sale at the 22 March Rossland Library event, which features a slideshow and talk by the author. More information can be found at www.growinghomestories.com.