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Theatre, local history, wildlife and the environment

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Welcome everyone to the Norfolk & Tillsonburg News. What a surprise for everyone!

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It was quite enjoyable reading the first edition and learning more about what goes on in Norfolk.

I thought I should introduce myself and let you know my qualifications to be a columnist. I have none. Decades ago I was in nursing and due to health problems retrained as a travel agent which precipitated my arrival from Windsor to Tillsonburg to get a job in 1976.

Unable to do sports, I had discovered my niche in the theatre at a young age and became a Life Member with Windsor Light Musical Theatre before moving here. I immediately joined Tillsonburg Little Theatre which was bringing down its final curtain. Floundering in a culturally deprived sports town, I hooked up with the Rotary Club who wanted to do musicals, and with other theatre-starved people we founded Theatre Tillsonburg in 1981. I was one of several people who began writing this column to inform the people. Hence the title of my column, The World is a Stage.

About the same time, I learned they were going to demolish an old house in town that a Tillson built. Intrigued, I went to a meeting about saving this Victorian mansion. There I learned never to ask questions unless you were prepared to find the answer. That question has led to 35 years of researching the Tillson family and Annandale House (now a National Historic Site); then old families. Buildings, events and the brave and industrious settlers who remain with us in our Pioneer Graveyard. I call myself a volunteer historian.

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Another passion in my live is wildlife. Also back in the early 1980s, I found two baby black squirrels in the middle of a road, eyes closed but furred. I was on my way to a rehearsal so scooped them up, grabbed some milk and an eye dropper. They lived! That was a miracle consider there was no internet or way to learn how to raise orphan wildlife back then. So every spring I got a variety of orphans to raise over the summer.

In that same, very exciting time of my life I married Peter Beechey, the Till-Cable guy. That was smart because I couldn’t afford cable!

Evidently when I am passionate about something I hang on to it, for today I still have the cable guy, although he is retired; I now have over 50 years in theatre and I still rehabilitate orphaned wildlife although due to health problems I only do skunks. I am the ‘Skunk Lady.’ I also have WILDMAIL an email network that connects all the rehabbers in Ontario so we can get orphans to the correct rehabbers quickly and share a lot of information.

Because of wildlife I have added a newer passion – the environment – and when I learn more about what is wrong and what we can do about it, I share it with you.

What I learn, you learn. I will share with you some of the wonderful events that occur in Tillsonburg. Weird things like if you swallow your toothpaste you need to call poison control! (Read the label).

I hope you will enjoy my ‘I write like I talk’ style and forgive my grammar and errors.

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