Town presents plaque
she had been celebrating for four days as various grandchildren and friends came to share her special occasion. Not one to call attention to herself, she sat in her room at Place Sanborn, receiving congratulations from those that gathered with good wishes, looking alert and happy. Guests were greeted by her son, Richard, his wife, Pat, and their son Ryan and ushered into the tiny room that sported five different bouquets of flowers, as well as a poinsettia plant. On the table in a prominent place stood a plaque received from and signed by Prime Minister Steven Harper. Cards overflowed another table. Someone thought there should be a hundred cards, one for each year. Guests were treated to a piece of delicious birthday cake or a birthday cupcake. Of course, many pictures were taken.
Ayer’s Cliff mayor, Alec van Zuiden, arrived bearing gifts from the town of Ayer’s Cliff, which has been Irma’s home for at least 65 years. A plaque, honouring her as a valued citizen and a charming Royal Doulton figurine were presented.
Chatting, renewing old acquaintances and enjoying the attention, the afternoon passed swiftly for the guest of honour.
Irma (Gilbert) Wood was born in Bishopton, Quebec, on December 2, 1913 and spent her growing up years there. She loved school and wanted to become a lawyer but her father, Lt. Col. Levi Gilbert, said, “Who ever heard of a woman becoming a lawyer?” and that ended that. As a young woman, she met a handsome man, Ivan Wood, who came to work at the local bank and the romance started. But the bank had other ideas and Ivan was moved up north. With no Skype, cell phones or texting available, they courted the old-fashioned way, by letter. Irma still has all the letters he wrote her so many years ago in a small keepsake box. But eventually, they got back together, were married and had two sons, Robert and Richard. Ivan was sent to the bank in Ayer’s Cliff and when he left the bank, he did income taxes, sold bonds and he and his wife opened up “Wood’s Friendly Snack Bar” and they toiled long and hard.
After Ivan’s death in 1991, Irma remained in her own home on Rosedale Avenue, drove her own car to do her errands and only gave that up in 2007. She happily resides now in Place Sanborn.