The secret to a long life, at least for one Invermere resident, is found in the dirt.
Joy Bond figures the reason she is now 100 years old is because she eats the bounty from her garden. The garden flourishes under Joy’s care and labour, growing a cornucopia of produce. She tends to it herself whenever she can – most days she can be found monitoring progress and holding steady against the weeds – in her backyard oasis.
While she pointedly told the Pioneer she has no interest in looking back in life, she did take the time to share some details of her history in light of her milestone birthday.
Joy’s father had not planned to end up in Invermere. He and a cousin were part of the great gold rush migration, headed from Ontario to the great white north. He and a cousin met some disillusioned miners along the way who discouraged them from going onward with their quest.
So, they hopped off the gold rush trail near Golden. They had another cousin who they heard lived in Invermere. The pair walked the distance here and settled, her father taking a job as a ranchhand. His neighbour – five miles away – was an English family with a fetching young governess. The two married and made their lives in this Valley.
As a kid, Joy would walk wherever she wanted to go. Their family never owned a car. She would hike Mt. Swansea with friends if they could get someone to drive them to the trailhead. Or they might hike up Castlerock. Joy and her friends spent many hours at the lake: skating in the winter, swimming the summers away.
Once a year around Easter, her mother would take them via train to Radium Hot Springs. They would swim, have a picnic lunch, and take the train back to Invermere. On a rare occasion, they would take a train to Fairmont Hot Springs. But to take that train, you would need to return the following day. So they would only go if they could arrange a car pickup at the end of the swim.
While the details slip past, she knows she met her husband Bill at some social function in town – likely at a dance, where all the young people gathered. Bill was in the navy during the Second World War. While on a brief leave, the couple got married.
When the soldiers came home at the end of the war, Joy was there with the whole town at Fort Point where they had a big party to celebrate the homecoming. All the big dances happened at that fort, Joy recalls, as it was the only community hall space back in those days. Two years after they were married, Bill was safe and sound back home from the war and they started their life together. They worked in a hardware store and lived in the apartment above. Joy recalls with delight how her oldest daughter would be upstairs and would call downstairs to the hardware store through a register if she needed anything.
The Bonds eventually owned their own hardware store, Bond’s Hardware, in downtown Invermere, where the bakery now sits. Later, Bill went to work for the District (village of Invermere at the time), while Joy continued bookkeeping.
They bought some property off a friend and in 1953 had their house built. That is where Bill and Joy raised their two daughters and lived out their days in peace and harmony. Joy has lived there the 65 years since.
These days, Joy spends her time gardening, volunteering at the Windermere District Museum, helping out at her church at Christ Church Trinity United, and socializing with friends and family.
“You’ve got to keep busy. If you don’t have anything to do, what’s the point in waking up?,” she says.
Joy plans to continue on as she always has, not allowing to let a minor detail like turning 100 change her life much. When asked what advice she would give someone just starting out in life now, Joy responds, “I’m not giving advice to people. They do their own thing.”
After all, she quips, “I wouldn’t have listened to anybody telling me what to do.”