A Fortunate Life with Hopie Lamoureux
March 21, 2018
By Susan Weisenburger
I’ve had a lovely neighbour for nearly 17 years to whom I always speak over the fence while we attend to our backyard gardening. Her name is Hopie and I have always appreciated her smile and honest frank conversation style. I think Hopie enjoys looking over my fence as much as I enjoy looking over hers. She always engages warmly with my dog (that’s important!) and offers good perspective on a variety of topics. I was very pleased when Hopie agreed to share her personal experience of our region over a glass of wine.
Hopie is an Alberta girl, growing up in Red Water, who had the luck to meet the great guy she would eventually marry while she was just in Grade 2. Bob Lamoureux spoke only French in Grade 2 and Hopie spoke only English. Eventually their friendship grew to a wonderful and blessed life shared. When Bob and Hopie left Red Water they tried a couple of times to live in Edmonton. It did not take Hopie long to realize that she “just couldn’t drive in that city. It seemed crazy!” They would have to move to the suburbs where housing was affordable and she could feel easy to go about town. Hopie loves how handy things are in Spruce Grove – “medical, schools, shopping, a lot of services, FCSS helping out. There’s a bus system, new pharmacies going up promising shorter wait times, and my garbage gets picked up regularly. I don’t need to go live anywhere else. This place meets our needs.” The couple raised two daughters here about a half a block from St. Joe’s.
Hopie remembers being happy with her life as a stay-at-home mom. After 9 years of that she decided to volunteer at the Spruce Grove Public Library. Because of STEP and PEP Program Grants, which created employment initiatives at the time, her volunteer work became paid employment for over 17 years.
“I love books,” Hopie exclaimed, “OMG! I was in heaven to get to be around all those books!”
Hopie described to me the many friendships she developed while working in the library.
“People were the real benefit from the library job. We are still friends to this day.”
Later Hopie also worked for Spruce Grove Drugs in home health with an aging population for five years. It was from there she officially “retired” to help out more with her growing family.
Hopie admits that she is not a club joiner or a real socialite. It takes a long while for her to make close friends. She describes herself as an introvert who prefers to putter around home with a variety of projects and to entertain herself with reading, certain TV programs, and the Internet. “It’s cozy now that I’m retired and don’t have to get up to go to work.” She loves to WALK and does not mind winter. She’s so thankful that Spruce Grove offers us the experience of walking outdoors! She’s out there quite a bit with her big dogs. And she loves to TRAVEL. Between the two of them Bob and Hopie have been to China, Italy/Sicily, Spain, Croatia/Turkey, and Cambodia/Thailand/Vietnam/Laos. They’d still love to hit the east coast of Canada.
When asked what she needs now Hopie again reflected on all the good things Spruce Grove already has. She says she has no concerns about living here as she grows older. She hopes to live at home for as long as possible and believes the help is already here to make that happen. She feels fortunate for all the programs the AB government has for baseline care. She does wish that there were more “true dining” options in the area although she admits those businesses would starve if they were depending on her to support them. She thinks there ought to be a LIST made up to help seniors know “when to go where” to take advantage of discounts. That would be a real treasure! Affordable housing is necessary at all ages. Hopie has a concern for all those who don’t fit into the usual definition of “normal”. If she won the lottery she would build a rooming house to give everyone a room to call their own. She would like her fortunate life to be the story for everyone.