William L. Randall, EdD, Director of CIRN and Co-editor of Narrative Works, is Professor of Gerontology at St. Thomas University, where he teaches courses on aging and health, counselling older adults, older adults as learners, and narrative gerontology. Educated at Harvard, Princeton Seminary, and the University of Toronto, he first became interested in narrative during his studies in theology, then later in education. Bill has authored or co-authored various publications on narrative approaches to understanding aging. Co-organizer of the first Narrative Matters conferences, in 2002 and 2004, and often asked to speak on narrative gerontology, his research interests include narrative care with older adults, narrative foreclosure in later life, and the narrative complexity of autobiographical memory. His most recent books include Reading Our Lives: The Poetics of Growing Old (co-authored with Elizabeth McKim; Oxford, 2008), and Storying Later Life: Issues, Investigations, and Interventions in Narrative Gerontology (co-edited with Gary Kenyon and Ernst Bohlmeijer; Oxford, 2011).
1944 - Born in St. Stephen, New Brunswick on March 25, 1944. Attended Grades 1 & 2 in Blacks Harbour, Charlotte Co, NB.
1952 - During the late summer months of 1952 my family moved to Grand Bay, NB. This was a fortunate move as in September 1952 I contracted Polio and spent the next 11 months in the near-by Saint John General Hospital. My young life then consisted of walking with a long-leg brace (right) and a short leg brace (left) with the aid of crutches.
1954 - In 1954 my family moved to Harvey Station, NB. Again this was a good move for me as in near-by Fredericton resided Dr. Sandy Torrie, the ‘expert’ physician in polio. The next 8 years was spent between Harvey (attending regular school) and the Polio Clinic in Fredericton where my physical condition continued improved with the aid of many operations and physiotherapy on all four limbs. A great help to my rehabilitation at this time was the addition of ponies and dogs (German Shepherds) to our household – learning to ride aided my balance and the brushing of the ponies and patting the dogs helped me exercise my arms.
1962 – Graduated from Harvey High School and then spent six months in Tatamagouche, Nova Scotia, attending the Atlantic Christian Training Centre. This was a great experience for me - the first time away from home and my ever helpful parents. Here I learned to ‘look after myself’ and ‘to be on my own.’ After the course I was still unsure what I wanted to do as a career. Numbers were my skill so started a home-course to be a Chartered Accountant while being taught by my father how to keep score at baseball games and to appreciate the Saturday night NHL hockey games on TV (My Maple Leafs vs Dad's Canadiens).
1963 – Moved into Fredericton, NB to become a Bookeeper with A.R. Menzies & Sons Ltd, a firm that specialized in artifical limbs and braces. Here I first boarded and then moved into an apartment with 3 other girls. During my time @ Menzies I started keeping statistics for some of the local hockey teams and then later kept stats for a New Brunswick Senior Hockey league.
1968 – Started working at the NB Power Commission in Fredericton as an accounting clerk. During the next five years on my after-hours I continued to do stats for NB hockey leagues as well as Baseball and Basketball.
1972 – A dream came true. I was hired as a Statistical Researcher for the National Hockey League at their head office in Montreal - a new position. For the next eight years I lived in an apartment in busy downtown Montreal and went home for vacations. Sometimes these were working vacations as I was invited to be Head Statistician for several National Baseball tournaments as well as an Inter-Continental Baseball tournament in Montreal. By 1980 the atmosphere had changed a lot in the NHL with the introduction of many American hockey teams as well as a new NHL President and I had also decided that I did not want to spend the rest of my life in a large city like Montreal.
1980 – Moved back to Fredericton. This year marks another anniversary of my return – and I have not regretted one moment of it. That first summer I met on the softball field my partner, Eldon McGarrigle, a Candlepin bowler of Maritime and Provincial fame (now retired from the lanes). Naturally I continued to do sports stats, this time bowling. For the next 7 years I was the Administrator for both Baseball New Brunswick and Softball New Brunswick as well as doing administrative work for NB sport associations such as Rifle and Skiing. During this time I worked for 3 years with Sport New Brunswick and part-time with the City of Fredericton in their accounting department.
1986 – We bought our home on Gibson Street - a small one-level ‘cottage-type’ house (built in 1932) with a large tree-lined property. A great place for our two Rottweilers in a great neighbourhood. During this time I got involved with the River Valley Dog Obedience Club as both a client and Registrar. A few years later I started working with the Tourism Dept of the Province of New Brunswick – yes, you guessed it – with stats. My main responsibility was collecting stats of all accommodations as well as Visitor Information Centres and Campgrounds.
1993 – Adopted Clancy, my ‘soul’ dog, an 18 month-old Rottweiler from the Fredericton SPCA. Trained as an assistance dog, Clancy was my constant companion even up to the day she died in 2008. In her memory we have established the Clancy Memorial Awards and set up the Clancy Fund at the SPCA.
1997 – Mobility for me really started decreasing at this time. Over worked muscles combined with aging produces a condition called ‘Post Polio Syndrome.’ After all of the years of weight-bearing on my crutches, my left shoulder started giving me a lot of problems. Since my right arm was not of much use to me as far as personal care, it was necessary to protect my left arm as much as possible. Crutches were replaced by an electric scooter and a couple years later, after a couple bad breaks of my brace leg, an electric wheelchair is now used in the house. Therefore I was able to take an early retirement from the Government. Today my physical scenario is known as Post Polio Syndrome.
Little did I know at the time how much mobility freedom my scooter would provide me. Today I am a very busy lady in ‘retirement’ but am able to ‘rest’ my body on my own time. The computer has been a means of a working tool for me since 1983. Today I call myself a fine art photographer and established a home business called “Fredericton Keepsakes.” My photos are converted into photo-based souvenirs that I sell at various tourist related venues in Fredericton as well as photo exhibits in various Galleries.
The scooter is a great aid for me getting about the community and the over 90 km of multi-use trails in the city provide me with a safe highway. Managing the Trail Visitor Centre for its first three years led me to the Fredericton Trails Coalition of which I am a board member. My love of my community and my inherited interest in history and genealogy (thanks, Dad) were combined in a 7-year project, writing four volumes of “Devon Remembered” (thanks Bob McNeil, couldn’t have completed it without you).
Sadly there are no pets in our lives at this time and the only sport that is on my agenda these days is curling and golf on TV.
Life is still great for me these days – Mother (lost Dad at age 98 in spring 2017) and brother Bill Randall, a prof @ STU, both live nearby in Fredericton and sister Donna resides in Virginia with her family. You might say ‘thanks to Polio’ I have met some very interesting people and have had a career of many varied and interesting curves that I may not have taken if not for Polio.