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Local senior continues to give back to the community she loves

Marion Bartholomew drove a bus, owned a restaurant, danced at The Pav and now enjoys an active life as a retiree
2018-11-21 Marion Bartholomew
Marion Bartholomew, 84, lives at the Sundial Lakeview Retirement Residence and remains very much a part of the community. Contributed photo


Marion Bartholomew has known the Sunshine City all her life.

She owned a restaurant, drove a school bus, danced at the Pav, went to the movies at Geneva Theatre, and was part of the women’s groups in Orillia and area.

Now, 84-years-old, she sits in her suite at the Sundial Lakeview Retirement Residence, looking out to the lake, still very much a part of the community, as a member of the Oro and District Lions Club and the Women’s Institute of Hawkestone.

“I'm knitting toques and mitts for the Green Haven Women's Shelter,” she says, pointing to the hats next to her. “I just sent 17 chemo caps to the hospital.”

Having lived the best years of her life in the area, the Orillian says she feels life is harder for younger people now than it was before.

Cars and homes are expensive, to say the least, she says.

She says she worries what her great grandchildren’s lives will be like in the next 20 years.

Bartholomew has some words of wisdom for everyone.

“Be careful and try and save if you can and get yourself prepared for hard times,” she says. “My dad always used to say to me, it doesn't matter what you're making an hour, it's what you do with it when it's in your hand that counts.”

Marion’s father was a drover, but she shared her mother’s interest in dog breeding business.

“We had a dachshund that was a pure breed,” she says, ambling over to a corner of her spacious suite to look for a memory book. “It was a freak and looked like it wasn't a pure breed, but it was bought by a couple in London (ON), understanding they wouldn't get papers for it.”

Little did she know it would end up being on the Ed Sullivan Show as Heidi the Talking Dog.

“To think, you would have a dog that would have a puppy that could count,” says Marion, laughing at the memory.

Growing up in Orillia area, she recalls attending, dancing at the Pav, skating at the Roller Skating Place, watching movies at the Geneva Theatre and live shows at the opera house.

“It was a lot of fun,” says Bartholomew , with a chuckle. “The young people who were there had a good time.”

In the ‘50s, Bartholomew married and settled down in the what’s now called Oro-Medonte.

After raising two kids, she felt energized for something new, so she opened Marion’s Restaurant on Forest Avenue.

“It was an adventure,” she says. It was her heart and soul; she cooked, cleaned and managed the place, until she sold it three years later.

She also spends her time playing cards and chatting with fellow residents in the luxurious dining suite at the retirement residence that overlooks the lake, just as the old Sundial Inn Restaurant used to.

“The Sundial Inn Restaurant was a wonderful spot to eat,” she says. “It's hard to believe I'm at the same spot we used to eat.”



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