Seven years after she retired from a lengthy career in banking, Yvonne Blackwood surprised her friends and family by returning to school at age sixty-four to pursue an English degree. Her purpose was fueled by four powerful reasons—to add texture to her writing; to ward off dementia; to enhance structure in her life; and to inspire her two young grandsons to continue their education after high school. But as she stepped onto the campus of Canada’s third-largest university, Blackwood had no idea of the hurdles she was about to face.
In a retelling of her journey into a new beginning, Blackwood details how, after enrolling in York University, she struggled to maintain her established lifestyle, attend class with hard-to-connect-with millennials, and face a series of challenges that included two strikes at the university, a campus lockdown during the COVID-19 pandemic, and a shocking health diagnosis in her final year of studies. While leaning on the university’s motto—the way must be tried—Blackwood tells an inspiring story of how she persevered and learned to rely on her faith as she bravely conquered her fears and vulnerabilities to eventually achieve her goal.
College Life of a Retired Senior is the true story of a former bank manager’s experiences as she returned to college in the third act of life to earn a degree in English.
Meet Yvonne Blackwood
Yvonne Blackwood is the author of four adult non-fiction books, Into Africa: A Personal Journey, Will That Be Cash or Cuffs? Into Africa: the Return, and College Life of a Retired Senior: A Memoir of Perseverance, Faith, and Finding the Way. She has also published three children’s picture books: Nosey Charlie Comes to Town, Nosey Charlie Goes to Court, and Nosey Charlie Chokes on a Wiener. An award-winning short-story writer, Blackwood has contributed stories to several anthologies, including Human Kindness, Canadian Voices, and Wordscape. She has published articles in magazines including More of Our Canada, Adelaide, InTouch, and Green Prints and has written columns for the Toronto Star, Pride Newspaper, and The African Connection. Blackwood retired after a thirty-seven-year banking career.
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Can a mother be both loving and selfish? Caring and thoughtless? Deceitful and devoted? These are the questions that fuel psychologist Dr. Judy Rabinor’s quest to understand her ambivalence toward her mother.
While leading a seminar exploring the importance of the mother-daughter relationship, Dr. Judy Rabinor, an eating disorder expert, is blindsided by a memory of a childhood trauma. Realizing how this buried trauma has resonated through her life, she sets off to heal herself. The Girl in the Red Boots weaves together tales from Rabinor’s psychotherapy practice and her life, helping readers understand how painful childhood experiences can linger and leave emotional scars. In the process, Rabinor traces her own journey becoming a wounded healer and ultimately making peace with her mother, and herself.
Not a traditional self-help book outlining “steps” to reconcile or forgive one’s mother, The Girl in the Red Boots is a poignant memoir filled with hard-won life lessons, including the fact that it’s never too late to let go of hurts and disappointments and develop compassion for yourself—and even for your mother.
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In The House on Dogbone St., Julia Duthie takes us on a walk through the tumultuous life she was destined to endure.The feeling of treading on eggshells for the little girl who had no choice but to navigate one of the most dreadful paths that life could offer, displaying her resilience and go-getter attitude no matter what obstacle was thrown her way, is fascinating. We cannot blame her for being naive in some circumstances as the two people meant to protect her were in a world of their own. One, in a depressive trance, while the other was never fully present.
However, from start to end, her story is a lesson for every one of us. Ignorance takes no blame in this journey as Julia made the best of what she had and what she thought to be right. It is the advantage taken by elders and those who camouflaged their real personas that are the actual culprits of a life filled with scars at every turn. How she turned those dents into beautiful blooms is the intrigue of it all. Walk her path through this great rendition to encounter neighbours and teachers who stood in the shadows and shed a slight reflexion of hope toward her direction, never knowing how much it would finally mean to her and what she would eventually become.
Although it is a triumph to be celebrated, the unwelcome demons she collected along the way sometimes threaten to manifest themselves and take her back to a state of defeat. But will she follow suit? Find out in her extraordinary memoir.