Brian eased into retirement with contract work for BIO Oceanography. He served as secretary for the Canadian membership of Oceanographers and Engineering Society. He is proud to recall being in the right place at the right time for an important part of 20th century history. In 1989 there was an Ocean Science organization meeting held in northern Germany that would last for 2 weeks. When the group went into the meeting in Eastern Germany they were searched and processed. When they came out 2 weeks later the wall had been demolished, the check point was closed and they were able to drive straight through.
The Nicols raised their three sons in Bedford, NS but as quite a few Maritime parents know – the children leave to find opportunity elsewhere. That was the fate of Brian and Nadine. At one point all three sons were living in Edmonton. Nadine finally said to Brian one day, “I have news for you. We’re moving to be closer to our kids.” And that they did! They moved right into the heart of Edmonton (in a condo just off Jasper Ave near the Legislative Building). They spent many good years there and made lots of great friends. Nadine volunteered her time at the Muttart Conservatory and Brian volunteered at the Telus World of Science every Sunday looking after the Environment Gallery.
It was at that condo complex that Nadine became famous for her floral displays. She was the gardener for the entire complex as many of the residents were quite senior and could not help her. She decided to do it herself. She admits she has gardening in her blood. Her grandfather had been a gardener on a big estate in England. Nadine enjoyed it when people would stop and ask her, “How do you grow that?!” I saw her four awards she earned in 2004, 2007, 2009 and 2010. And she had the pictures to prove the glory of the work she poured her soul into.
Now it often takes some time for young people to really put down roots. After Brian and Nadine moved their life to AB one son eventually moved back to PEI opening a sea kayak and bicycle business. Another son moved to Korea to teach English. But Clive has settled in Spruce Grove and raises his young children here. Brian and Nadine moved to Spruce Grove just two years ago and so it is reasonable that there is still much they miss about their life in Edmonton. They don’t miss the traffic and the noise though. Those were dreadful! And Nadine does not miss the cooking. “I did a lot of cooking over the years for 3 six-plus sons and Brian. I used to bake all day and when they got home and took a handful of goods you would have to wonder, ‘What did I do all day?’ ”
The Nicols are finding their step in Spruce Grove and are very thankful for the sense of community and safety they experience at St. Michael’s. They walk a lot and enjoy the open space that can be found quite readily. The summers offer great weather. They find that life at St. Michael’s can be as busy as you want it to be. The home shares a bus with two other facilities and so a group of friends can get out at least once a week for various activities. One of their favourites is to Peace Valley (a government run facility for senior groups). They also like getting out to the local used book store and Indigo at the mall. Reading is one of their passions. Together they manage the library at St. Micheal’s and tend the gardens. They love the time they get to spend with their son’s family and especially enjoy the outings to watch their granddaughter perform Ukrainian Dance.
There is a special bond between these two. They have come a long way from Birmingham, England tasting many parts of our vast country Canada. They have faced their challenges and remained true. Their humour is infectious and their warmth so inviting. In the end Nadine looks at me with a smile saying, “We’ve been together over 61 years! Lord knows I deserve a medal!” They have both won a few medals in this life to celebrate their spirit of adventure and hard work. Brain guides me out the back door so that I can wander through the gardens. He kisses me on the cheek. I feel blessed to have had the chance to witness this dance.
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