Bonnie Sandler: Social worker, real estate broker — and yes, columnist

Montreal real-estate agents Bonnie Sandler (left) and Mary Lamey. (Photo: Caroline Ronalds)Montreal real-estate agents Bonnie Sandler (left) and Mary Lamey. (Photo: Caroline Ronalds)

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

I used to dream of being a rock star but after years of wasted time and  money on music lessons I finally accepted the fact that I was tone deaf.

My next career plan was to be a human-rights lawyer and fight for the underdog. But when I realized how many years of hard study law school entailed I decided on social work, helping people in a low-key manner. This career took many turns but my passion for helping others remains strong.

I often was told by those close to me that I would be great in sales so I coupled my social work with real estate and have found the best match for a satisfying career. But my dreams of other careers stayed with me.

Years ago I decided to write the next great novel. I wrote the first five chapters within a few days and thought it was fabulous. I tested it out by having a few friends read it and their reaction encouraged me to pursue this dream. Fast forward 15 years and I have yet to write another word, but I do plan to pick it up when I retire on a Greek Island some day and have no other responsibilities. I can still dream.

Although I can’t remember the exact number of years I have penned the column Let’s Talk About It, it seems like I have always written for The Senior Times. I had been advertising in the paper when Barbara Moser consulted with me regarding the relocation of a loved one to a senior residence. We clicked. Coffee meetings turned into long conversations both personal and concerning senior issues. We shared similar ideas and Barbara suggested I write for her paper. I went with it, not giving it too much thought.

We would meet to review and edit my articles: it was lots of fun. My biggest problem was choosing a topic. My mind would race from one subject to another. My first article was very personal: I wrote about my late grandfather who had what we now know to be early onset Alzheimer’s.

As the years passed, writing Let’s Talk About It became a welcome part of my routine. I have asked my daughter, friends, and other family members to contribute their thoughts and feelings. Most of my ideas have been based on work situations.

The feedback I receive is the greatest reward. I have seen my articles posted on the walls of residences. I have been asked to speak at community groups and senior residences. I have helped many new clients who are regular readers of ST. I am called by other media. All this leaves me with feelings of great satisfaction.

So thank you Barbara Moser and The Senior Times for allowing me to join your writing family and HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!

Editor’s Note: It has been a pleasure working with Bonnie ever since she became my friend and joined the ST team. Bonnie was instrumental in placing my mother, Eva, in a small residence years ago and ensuring she had the best possible quality of life in her later years. She’s been a dear friend and confidant to me, and for many seniors in this city, she’s been a lifeline.

I wholeheartedly appreciate her contributions to the ST and to my life. Thank you Bonnie for being part of all that is important to me, my family, and our newspaper!

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