Home is where the anchor drops

Posted on April 6, 2021 by Ajla Bedzetovic

St. Catharines, Ontario, about 12 miles northwest of Niagara Falls isn’t exactly known for its abundance of tropical plants, but that hasn’t stopped Gloria – an Atria resident at Anchor Pointe – from surrounding herself with flowers that might better thrive in Costa Rica than Canada.

Gloria has decorated her apartment with philodendrons and coleus, dracaenas and peace lilies, a schefflera tree that’s now over six feet tall – just to name a few – plus a red ceramic pot filled with red anthuriums. “They look like hearts,” Gloria said. “That’s why I love them. And I have six lavender mist orchids with a variety of ferns combined in the pot. I love mixing my colors. It speaks to me.”

“Follow your mind and your heart”

Gloria grew up in Toronto, about an hour north of Anchor Pointe. Her father was a millwright and traveled for work – everywhere from Alaska to Newfoundland and Labrador – and while he was away, the family chores sussed out so that Gloria handled the gardening, a task she loved from the start.

“I would plant onions and vegetables and cultivate them in the backyard. It wasn’t ever work – it was always a joy, and I always brought little flowers inside for my mother,” she explained.

As an adult, Gloria took classes to become a floral designer. At the end of her courses, the instructor told her, “Out of this class of 22 people, you are going to be the one who has a business.”

He was right. In the summer of 1963, Gloria opened a floral shop. “We had the whole kaleidoscope of anything commercial, from your everyday carnations to orchids and everything in between,” Gloria said.

She ran the shop for 39 years, before closing it in 2002. She still tells her children (“and anyone who will listen”) to make sure to love what you do for a living and not let anybody interfere. In Gloria’s words: “Follow your mind and your heart and you’ll be very happy.”

Discovering Anchor Pointe

In the years after she closed her shop, Gloria explored other interests. She freelanced as an interior designer for a close friend (who liked her work so much that he hired her to landscape his backyard). She planned parties. And she watched her kids mature into adults and follow their minds and hearts – her daughter Carla, who started helping around at her shop when she was only three, now manages a floral shop and garden center; another daughter, Andrea, is now semi-retired but worked as a hairdresser; and her son, Michael, an electrical contractor who owns his business.

When Gloria was thinking about moving to a senior living residence, Michael researched some of the nearby communities and found Anchor Pointe first.

They had two other community visits scheduled, but when Gloria walked into Anchor Pointe and looked around – seeing the chandelier, the high ceiling and people dining in an atmosphere of ease and comfort – she said, “Michael, cancel the other appointments. I’ve just found home.”

Coming “home”

Had she known about Anchor Pointe before, Gloria said she would have moved in sooner.

“The grounds are lovely,” she stated. “The backyard has a garden, and beautiful trees. There’s a forest in the back. Having the plants around and the grounds being as they are gives you peace of mind. The place is so well taken care of.”

Gloria has replicated the beauty she finds outdoors at Anchor Pointe inside her apartment with the flowers she’s loved all her life.

“When I open my eyes to greet another day and I see their color, it invigorates me. I touch them. I water them. I clean them,” she said. “I’ve made many friends at Anchor Pointe, but the flowers are also my companions, and they remind me of that part of my life that was so important and vital, and I love with my heart and soul.”

When Gloria was moving into Anchor Pointe, Andrea brought her a momento that she picked up while on a vacation: a coffee mug with the words “Home is where the anchor drops.” To Gloria, it seemed so apropos that she’s now added decorations of anchors throughout her apartment – symbols of home mixed in amid her flowers. “I’ve found home and it’s certainly called ‘anchor,’” Gloria exclaimed. “It’s called Anchor Pointe.”

If you or someone you know wants to learn more about Atria, visit AtriaSeniorLiving.com/FindACommunity to discover the community nearest you.   

Category: Active Aging, Community, Wit & Wisdom