Molly Newborn: Our mother’s courage and drive set an example for us

Please click here for stories and remembrances from The Senior Times newsroom as it celebrates its 30th anniversary.

It’s a simple story – In September, 1986, my mother, Barbara, spent $3,000 of an inheritance from her grandfather on publishing the first issue of The Senior Times. She rented a small office in Westmount and equipped it with a desk and phone.

She cold-called businesses in Montreal to advertise in a newspaper for seniors that had yet to exist. It was a hard sell and she experienced a horde of rejections, not knowing when or even if anyone would believe in her project. Eventually she heard a “yes” and so began The Senior Times.

Barbara took the first steps in creating a business that allowed her to develop her skills and investigate her interests. She built a platform for Montreal seniors and gave them a voice.

This story is one many of us have heard in one way or another. It is a story about courage and drive, about taking a huge risk to follow your passion, about not giving up even in the face of huge obstacles. I imagine my mother sitting in that office alone, scared, vulnerable, perhaps questioning what she had done, thinking of her two young daughters and finding the courage to keep moving forward.

What she probably wasn’t thinking about was how her actions in that moment, and from then on would inspire her daughters. She may not have realized how she was setting an example (and continues to set an example) for her daughters of a woman with strength and determination to set out on her own, achieve her dreams, and contribute something beautiful to the world.

Barbara led The Senior Times through times of hardship, happiness, and success. She has built a legacy and a center of influence like no other. Growing up I watched and often participated in the business activities. From distributing the first issue when I was five years old to “anyone with grey hair” to trudging through the snow in the winter delivering stacks of papers to businesses.

I was given the opportunity to discover and develop my writing skills with my travel column.

I am full of gratitude for the lessons my mother has taught me. I watched her grow as a leader, a writer, a teacher, an artist, a world traveller, and a very present and loving mother.

As The Senior Times marks its 30th year, I am now the same age as my mother when she found herself in that little Westmount office, embarking on her journey. I look at my life and recognize and appreciate her influence. I am also just a few weeks away from voting for the first woman presidential candidate. How fitting!

An older woman who has recently gotten to know me described me as “a force.” I chuckled… oh Mommy.

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