Monterey Faces: Former Danish giftware supplier turns Oak Bay hostess

Monterey Faces: Former Danish giftware supplier turns Oak Bay hostess

Linda Foubister is a Monterey Recreation Centre volunteer photographer and writer

Monterey centre volunteer Linda Foubister’s Q&A with Monterey member Zita Kjaer.

What is your background?

I was born in Midland, a town on Georgian Bay in Ontario. I met my Danish husband at a dance. He was working in Canada for just a year. After we met, he changed his plans and stayed in Canada. We married three months after we met and raised our family in Toronto. I worked at our Danish import/export business managing the store, wholesale selling and travelling to various trade shows. I have been to Denmark 30 times. We offered traditional Danish sterling silver jewelry and giftware. After I retired, I wanted to keep busy so I became a realtor. I loved meeting people and finding the right home for them.

What brought you to the Victoria area and the centre?

My husband and I moved from Toronto to be closer to our children – our daughter in Victoria and our son in Spokane. When we moved, my daughter set up a variety of organizations for me to visit, including the Monterey Recreation Centre, Silver Threads and the Sons of Norway. I joined all of them, and when my daughter wondered why I was so busy and I replied that it was all her doing. I am always out and about. Staying home is not for me. The move was the best thing to do and I am happy here.

What do you like about living in Victoria?

Everything! But I do miss the snow of Ontario winters and my garden which was about 1 acre.

How long have you been a member of the Monterey Recreation Centre?

I have been a member of Monterey Recreation Centre for 18 years.

What do you do as a volunteer at the centre?

I am a Hostess on two afternoons a week for which I received my ten-year pin. In addition to volunteering at the centre, I started the Danish Social Club of Victoria so my husband would be able to continue to enjoy Danish culture and not feel homesick.

Why do you volunteer?

I enjoy people very much and I like making things and learning.

What do you like about the centre?

Everything! Everyone is friendly and the clubs are great. The Sing-A-Long was the first club I joined. I also played whist at the centre and joined the Craft Carnival. When I was in my eighties, I did hula dance and I joined the ukulele club. I am still a member of the Craft Carnival and enjoy the Tuesday morning meetings very much.

How would you describe the centre to a newcomer?

As a hostess, I greet visitors, take them on a tour of the centre and answer their questions. I point out that the library is next door, then I show them the showcase by the front door where the crafts made by Craft Carnival members are available for sale. I take them to see the pool room where both male and female members are playing pool. I point out the stacks of puzzles and books, then I take them to the coffee shop and the meeting rooms. Most people join the centre after a tour.

What issues do you see with the centre?

The entrance door sends a blast of cold air into the lobby where I sit at the Welcome desk and it gets very cold. I think that reconfiguring the entrance would prevent this. Otherwise everything runs smoothly.

What are your hobbies?

I love to do crafts, such as crocheting, needlepoint cross-stitch and thread painting which is a technique for creating art on fabric surfaces using a punch needle. Often, it is difficult to tell that the medium is thread rather than paint. Among the things I crochet are dish cloths. They are very useful as they are both solid and strong.

Two years ago, I received first prizes in a contest for my needlework of flowers in a vase and for overall artwork. My prize was a big rose ribbon like they put on horses.

Recently I took a rosemåling class. It is a style of Norwegian decorative painting that is all swirls and flowing designs.

What are you reading now?

I don’t have much time for reading will all my crafts and activities. I like to spend my time with people and doing crafts.

What would surprise people about you?

My age. No one ever guesses my age, usually thinking that I am younger than my 91 years. People ask if I have had an easy, healthy life but that is not the case. I had a heart condition at birth and was not allowed to do sports in school. Yet it is often a case of genetics; four of my relatives lived over 100 years. I have always enjoyed life and I choose not to let things bother me. Attitude is the most important thing. I am optimistic in nature. I think that it’s all the knocks you get in life that make you the strong person you are.

Linda Foubister is a Monterey Recreation Centre volunteer photographer and writer.

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