Vibrant Seniors: Meet Ruth


This is the last story in our Seniors’ Month “Living Your Best Life” Series.  We hope you enjoyed reading all of the stories shared by seniors in our community.  Each story has showcased the diverse skills, interests and life experience that seniors bring.

The Landscape of My Life – by Ruth Maltese

RuthI was born during the depression on July 8th, 1931 in Toronto. I have just turned 86 years of age. Although things were economically poor at that time, I was never hungry. I had a happy childhood.

As I grew up into my teen-age years, I loved to dance. My sister Barbara and I had lessons in tap dancing, and I excelled in acrobatic stunts winning several contests. Dancing gave me a great sense of joy and a feeling of freedom. It was the rhythm of my life for years, my heartbeat, my breathing. Although trained to work as a secretary, after I left school at Western Commerce, I quit my job in order to teach ballroom dancing.

I met my husband Joseph Maltese when I was seventeen years old, and was married at the age of twenty-one on September 27th, 1952. I had five children, three sons and two daughters. My youngest daughter is now fifty years of age.

When my children were teenagers, I decided to take acting lessons. After a time, I was cast in several productions, and cast in leading roles on stage, in such plays as, “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof”, “ The Gingerbread Lady”, “Never Too Late”, “Plaza Suite”, “Death of a Salesman”, just to name some. During this time, I became interested in writing my own plays, and fortunately had them produced on stage. The first play I wrote was “The Happy Hour” which was seen several times in the downtown area.

My computer is frequently in use, as I reflect about my life, and the seasons I have left behind. I think about what I would like to accomplish in my senior years, as I continue writing my memoirs and novels. I am curious about life and death, as well as my past and my future, and what it all means in the space of time I have left. I wonder about things like compassion, forgiveness, and about my loved ones who have passed away. I believe I have become a little wiser every day as I age.

Luckily, I have talented students coming to my apartment who are writing their own novels. I analyze their stories, and I am so pleased of the successful writers they have become. As I delve into the life of my parents, I am particularly proud of my father Frank Veal who won the Queen’s Plate in 1952. Without question, it was one of his most heartfelt achievements and pinnacle moments in his life and mine, when his thoroughbred racehorse, Epigram won the Queen’s Plate.

Gambling at the racetrack and owning several racehorses was a kind of a relentless obsession of his. It was a great stroke of luck for my father when he took the opportunity to claim Epigram in a claiming race. Epigram may have seemed like a Cinderella horse to many, but Epigram raced through the pack of several other horses expected to win that day and won by five lengths in the mud, proving to be the remarkable horse he was. Our family was extremely proud when The Ontario Jockey Club cabled her majesty Queen Elizabeth II with the news, “With my humble duty, I beg to advise Your Majesty that the Three V’s Stable, Epigram won the Queen’s Plate today.”

As I always say, times change and people change. I have survived many obstacles in my lifetime. However, life is no brief candle for me, but sort of a torch I want to continue to burn as brightly as possible for the time I have left, and most of all to be appreciated for whom I am in all season of the year in the space, and time I am still here.


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