Monterey Faces: Interview with Molly Campbell, volunteer, Monterey Recreation Centre
What brought you to the centre initially?
From Ontario, I moved to Nanaimo and then Victoria to train as a nurse at St. Joseph’s hospital. I worked as a nurse at the Queen Alexandra Solarium for children. At the time, we provided treatment for polio.
One day, a neighbour and I went to the Monterey centre to take a quilting course. Our involvement with the centre continued from there. My neighbour went on to join the bridge club and I joined the stamp club. As a result of my interest in the stamp club, I joined two more stamp clubs. And I continue to enjoy quilting. I am thankful for that first quilting course that brought me to the centre.
How long have you been a member?
I have been a member of Monterey Recreation Centre for 35 years. I joined when I turned 50.
How has the centre changed in the last 35 years?
The number of clubs has increased. There were only about seven clubs when I joined; now there are over 30 clubs. New clubs are formed based on members’ interests, such as the new chess club. Dinner events were added and the building has been expanded.
What do you do as a member and a volunteer at Monterey centre?
For the last 30 years, I have served as the club representative of the stamp club. I have only just given it up. My duties included opening up the room, distributing donated stamps and reporting on club activities. We donate the stamps not used by members to the BC Cancer Agency as a fund-raiser. If you want to donate stamps to the club, please leave them at the reception. The stamp club meets every Wednesday from 1-2:30 pm at the centre. We welcome new members.
Also, I get together with other volunteers once a month to fold and staple the centre newsletter, Oak Leaves.
What is your favourite stamp?
My favourite stamp is whatever is the last one I have bought. I like to collect stamps with birds and other nature images.
I started stamp collecting when I was seven years old because my father was a stamp collector. At the time, we received free stamps and albums in packages of various products and I loved to match the pictures. Stamps were so important to me that I traded several of my dolls with the girl next door for stamps. My mother was furious so I had to trade some stamps to get one doll back.
The first adhesive postage stamp, the “Penny Black”, was issued in the United Kingdom in May 1840. It featured an engraving of the young Queen Victoria. Unlike modern stamps, the first stamps lacked perforations so they had to be separated from their sheets by cutting them out. These first stamps did not list the issuing country and as the first issuer, the UK remains the only country not to include its name on its postage stamps. Canada released its first stamp in 1851. Designed by the inventor, Sir Sandford Fleming. It depicted the beaver, breaking the tradition of featuring the monarch on postage stamps.
What advice would you give to someone starting out collecting stamps?
Sort the stamps into your preferred categories, such as by country. Soak off the paper in cool water and turn upside down to dry. Press to flatten the stamps. Get a Stock Book to keep the stamps. You will soon find your niche, whether it is a topic or a country.
What would one do with an inheritance of a large stamp collection?
Become a stamp collector. Perhaps a junior member of the family might be interested in stamp collecting. Or you may wish to take them to a stamp assessor. Bring them to the Stamp Club and we can give you advice on where to take the collection.
Why do you volunteer?
Monterey Centre has given me great pleasure and I like to give back. As well, I like volunteering and the opportunity to spend time with people.
Why do you like about the centre?
The people are wonderful. It’s good to have something to look forward to each week as I don’t travel as much now. The food is delicious and the center offers a diversity of options with its variety of activities and clubs. Centre staff do the very best they can for all of us.
What advice would you give to a newcomer who wishes to learn about the centre?
Pick up a copy of the Oak Leaves newsletter to learn about coming events, outings, club news, association proceedings and the Fern Café menu. I would ask them about their interests as the centre may have a related club. And I would encourage them to join the centre. We need younger people to get involved.
What issues do you see with the centre?
The blast of cold air into the lobby as the doors open is a concern.
Where do you see the centre in five years?
Right here as it is now together with the Oak Bay branch of the library.
What are you reading now?
“The Story of Danny Dunn” by Bryce Courtenay. It is about the return of a wounded soldier to Australia after being held in a Japanese POW camp during World War II.
What are your hobbies?
Reading and stamp collecting. I still make quilts and I use a treadle machine for sewing. I find that quilting is relaxing and calming.
How do you stay fit? Walking the dogs keeps me active in good and bad weather. I also enjoy gardening. The centre has so many ways to stay fit, such as a walking group and courses such as yoga. I took yoga at the centre for two years until I found it too strenuous but I found it to be a great help.
What inspires you? People older than myself who are still active and productive!
What would surprise people about you?
In addition to collecting stamps, I collect dolls that attract my attention. I have bought several dolls from the craft window and the bazaar at Monterey Centre.
Linda Foubister is a volunteer writer and photographer at the Monterey Recreation Centre.