Super Senior: Rosie Vear
SAINT JOHNSBURY, Vt. (WCAX) - At the Canterbury Inn senior facility in Saint Johnsbury, warning signs about the pandemic abound.
“The COVID has impacted everything,” said Rosie Vear, one of the 25 residents. “I had expected it to be a lot better by now.”
Early on, the facility was in total lockdown. No visitors were allowed and just a window was available for residents to peer at their loved ones. “I hated to have them come and sit there, you know, I felt for them. But I loved having them there,” Vear said. Even a simple embrace was not possible. “I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to do it again, you know?”
The last year and a half have been a roller-coaster of emotion for Vear. Perhaps no group has been impacted more than the elderly. A recent surge of Vermont cases was a concern to Jess McHugh, the facility’s activities director. But booster shots are on the way. “We’re hoping it’s not too much longer before things get better. But, hanging in there,” McHugh said.
To understand how Vear is dealing with these challenges, you need to know a little about her -- snapshots of her life.
Reporter Joe Carroll: What do you think when you see all these pictures?
Rosie Vear: A lot of water under the bridge.
They include marrying Don. “I think he’s so handsome,” she points out. And also writing “From Start to Finish,” a memoir of a child of the Depression. She and her sister are on the cover.
Reporter Joe Carroll: Which one are you?
Rosie Vear: I’m not the pretty one.
Reporter Joe Carroll: Oh come on.
She also writes about the loss of Don from cancer -- “It was dreadful” -- and finding love again with Frank Landry, tying the knot a day before she turned 75. “I was not going to get married after I was 75,” she said.
Age brought on health issues. Landry dealt with Parkinson’s and has since passed away. Vear suffered a stroke. At 95, she now has another challenge -- her sight is fading.
Rosie Vear: I can see objects. I can see you’re a man but I can’t tell if you’re handsome or not.
Reporter Joe Carroll: Let’s go with handsome.
The once avid artist has had to put down her paintbrush and writing is one keystroke at a time. “It takes me forever to write a sentence,” Vear said.
There’s a saying that you write about things you know about. So, Vear started writing a diary of sorts with thoughts and observations about these most unusual times. She calls it “Lockdown At Canterbury Inn.” It’s not just her own experiences but also a worldview.
Reporter Joe Carroll: Do you think this has helped you cope with what we’re going through?
Rosie Vear: I don’t know if it’s helped me cope, but it’s kept me busy anyway.
A life penned and documented with the hope the pandemic will soon be just a memory, but until then... “I’m going to keep on writing,” Vear said.
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