Fulfilling a lifelong passion can be a joyful event, and being able to share a dream with beloved family and friends can take the experience to a whole new level. This was the case for Evelyn Paterson, 89, of Chartwell Renaissance in Langley, British Columbia, when she reached out to Wish of a Lifetime Canada to have her original children’s book illustrated and published for future generations to enjoy.
Storytelling has always come naturally to Evelyn and it’s a talent she has turned to at different times in her life. Having grown up on a farm, Evelyn developed a genuine curiosity and fascination for animals, giving her the seeds of inspiration, as well as the subjects and backdrop she needed to craft her stories. Her tales formed a natural foundation for children’s stories in the way they based animal characteristics and behaviours on kind human qualities. Children became her most popular audience; she openly told her stories to her own kids, but also shared them with children at church, the local daycare or anyone else willing to listen.
The former geriatric nurse of 45 years keeps active at Chartwell Renaissance by working in the library, volunteering in the garden and organizing book sales to raise funds for charities. However, like a lot of writers, Evelyn retreats to writing during times of transition—to help her through some of life’s trials and tribulations, including the loss of close friends and her husband of 56 years—as well as to celebrate the happier milestones in her life. The upcoming birth of her first great-grandchild became Evelyn’s inspiration for writing the endearing children’s book, “Bessie and Little Ben.” She hoped the book would stir fond memories of stories that brought so much life to her family home growing up—but her deeper wish was more everlasting. Evelyn hoped that the storybook would be kept as a token of her love for her family and a small piece of her heart that her family could cherish forever.
Upon receiving her long-awaited and meaningful book from Wish of a Lifetime Canada, Evelyn claimed: “It is better than anything I could ever imagine.” Based on the reaction of Evelyn’s family and friends at a book reception, held at Chartwell Renaissance, “Bessie and Ben” has already found its place on the bookshelves and in the hearts of her dearest family and friends.