BELLEVILLE – Growing up in a family of 10, Helen Chedore learned the importance of sticking together.
Born and raised in the North Shore Dalhousie in New Brunswick, her parents Muriel and Stanley had their hands full with six girls and four boys. Along with Helen, who was the middle child, there was Betty, Edna, Shirley, Peggy, Winston, Collin, Karen, Gerald and Roger.
"My mother was quite busy and she was always a homemaker. She always gave us lots of love," she said.
Chedore said the best part of her big family was how close they were.
"We had all of our relatives living around us, aunts, uncles, cousins. It was nice because you knew all of your family growing up, which I think the kids today lack that because everybody is so spread about," she added.
Chedore's dad was a heavy drinker all through her childhood, and he succumbed to cancer in 1968. Regardless of his demons, she says her dad was a good man who made sure to provide for his family.
"He always had food on the table and put a roof over our heads," she said.
She eventually had children of her own - two girls and two boys. After many years together, Chedore ended her marriage and started anew.
"I had a divorce and I decided to move with my youngest daughter to Montreal for a clean slate and to get my life in order again," she said.
After a few years passed, Chedore retired at the age of 65 and moved to Belleville, Ontario in November of 2007.
"So I thought, I have two sisters and a brother up there and it's nice to be around your siblings when you retire," she said.
Shortly after arriving to Belleville, Chedore moved into Aldersgate Village, an independent living complex for the elderly.
She says she enjoys living in the community because of all of the relationships she has built and all of the ones she has kept intact.
"This is one of the nicest places I’ve ever been. Everybody is so good to each other and there is always something going on," she explained.
A bonus for Chedore was having access to the church right across the road. Not only does she go there for mass, it's also where she met her fiancé. Chedore is engaged to Roy Reed, who is also a resident of Aldersgate Village.
"He moved in two years ago. I knew him from church, but we started going out here. So it's a really good life. I've got no complaints," she said.
Although she made the move to Belleville, Chedore has always made sure to stay in touch with relatives.
"We try and get together around the end of May and have a great time. We bring up memories and we laugh a lot," she said.
Chedore and her siblings have always gotten along.
"We think about other families who are so segregated and don’t talk to each other and we can’t even understand how that could happen," she added.
One of Chedore's biggest influences in life was her mother, who really taught her the value of family.
"I think that's who my mother is, I mean she made an impact on every one of our lives. She was somebody who you looked up to and was there for you at any time," she said.
"She made sure that we went to Sunday school every Sunday and she made sure that we attended church. I think that's a big thing if you're growing up if you get to have God in your life. So I was thankful of my mother doing that to us and that we had that embedded in us," she said.
Chedore's mother was the glue of the family and instilled family values in all of her children, which is why they continue to stay in touch with each other today.
"She was our rock. I think if you would ask any member of my family they would say the same thing," she said.