Learning 20 Mar 2020

Skyping at 105

By Laura Coulter, TK grade 3 teacher
Photograph by Laura

105. Age is nothing but a number, but what an impressive age to reach! Grade 3-1 students were lucky to Skype with Mrs Gertrude Baikie - a family friend of mine who had just celebrated her 105th birthday! Having lived in Saskatchewan for all of her life, Mrs Baikie chatted with the students about her own school days when she travelled to the one-room schoolhouse in a buggy, her favourite toys and the chores that she had to do growing up.

Before the Skype call, the class brainstormed a list of questions for Mrs Baikie and I emailed them to her beforehand. On the day of the call, students lined up in front of the laptop so she could see them easily before they clearly stated their name, where they were from, and their question. She was so pleased to meet all of them, and was impressed by the diverse nationalities. When asked if she’d studied Chinese at school, she laughed and said, “No, it wasn’t really offered then. We learned a bit of French later but nothing as interesting as that.”

The class had read an article about Mrs Baikie that had been published in her town paper and had fun doing their own math calculations as to when she was born (1915), how many years until they themselves are 105, what time it would be in Canada when we start school in the morning, just how cold (-15℃) it really was and if there would be snow in Canada in February (yes).

We also listed many inventions that we use today that had been created in the past 100

years including vaccines against diseases, electric cars, mobile phones, different foods and beverages (Frappuccinos anyone?), and all the books and movies that have been written and made.

Mrs Baikie had until the age of 104 been living on her own and still preparing her own meals. She moved into an assisted living facility last year. She celebrated her 105th birthday party in style with visits from friends and family. Her advice for long living? “Enjoy all your treats in moderation, eat healthily and go outside a lot to play.”

After the call, the class wrote letters to Mrs Baikie detailing what they’d like to do before they are 105. For some, travelling to Egypt and Greece was on the list. Others wanted to climb Everest, become a pilot, or have 4 kids. One student’s goal was just “living my best life”. May everyone live a long and healthy life doing what they love!