Peaceful pictures from Tideview-Bob Saulnier’s calendars selling fast

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Bob Saulnier takes pictures so he can share what he sees on his daily walks to the beach and into the little woods around Tideview Terrace – but he also hopes the pictures will help him remember.

Saulnier has Alzheimer’s disease, an incurable disease of the brain, which affects everyone differently.

For Saulnier, it already makes it hard for him to remember some things – especially in a crowd.

“When there’s a lot of people around, it throws me off,” he says. “It’s peaceful down on the beach, or in the woods there. It’s just me, by myself, no confusion around me.”

Saulnier is well known around Digby – he worked as nurse at Digby General Hospital for 29 years and took early retirement in the mid-nineties.

He was also well known for his artistic hobbies.

He sold carvings, and crafts – he remembers buying 5,000 bells to put on the hands and toes of a Santa Claus craft he sold around the area.

“Those sold like nobody’s business,” he said.

In 1983 he bought a Pentax K1000 – a basic but reliable 35 mm camera. He took pictures and framed them and sold those around.

He’s been in Tideview the last couple years –as Alzheimer’s slowly robs him of his past and his ability to make sense of today.

“They suggested I get a camera because it was something I used to like to do,” he said. “I didn’t pay anything for this little camera – I had enough points at the drugstore.”

Saulnier walks to the beach below Tideview and takes pictures of the sunrise most mornings.

In the woods and around the grounds he takes pictures of flowers, bugs and snakes.

“Someday when they come and tell me I can’t go for walks any more, like they took my car from me, I will still be able to look at the pictures and go for my walks that way,” he said.

Saulnier is happy to think that others in Tideview and around the community might get some pleasure from looking at his pictures and seeing what he sees on his walks.

But he has taken that even one step farther.

“They treat me very very well here,” he said. “And I want to do something to give back.”

The staff at Tideview have helped him arrange some of his photos to make two calendars and Saulnier is selling them to donate to the recreation fund for Tideview residents.

The fund pays for expenses not covered by the Department of Health like outings and decorations for special events.

The calendars cost $15 and are on sale at Tideview.

One shows twelve different sunrises and the other is full of flowers.

Yvonne Lombard, the activity coordinator at Tideview says they have been incredibly popular.

“We can’t keep them in,” she said. “We sell them as fast we bring them in.”

So far she says they have sold 120 calendars.

Saulnier has other plans too.

He’d like to hold a photo exhibition; he has started on work for Christmas cards for next year and postcards for the summer.

“He has a lot of dreams,” says Lombard. “And we’re going to help him with those dreams. That’s our job here.”

Organizations: Digby General Hospital, Department of Health

Geographic location: Tideview

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Recent comments

  • Irene Hattie
    December 17, 2013 - 06:45

    Very pleased with the article. Well done!

  • Bernice Van Buskirk
    December 11, 2013 - 08:42

    An incredible story about an incredible man; who has certainly made lemonade out of the sour lemons that have been dished out to him. I certainly would like to get a calendar. Thank you for publishing this.

  • Darlene Madore
    December 10, 2013 - 22:13

    I enjoyed the story about Bob Saulnier and I would like to purchase one of his calendars. I am from Digby originally but living in Truro, I will be in Digby on the 20th of December and hope to be able to make arrangement to buy a calendar. Are there any available and do I just call Tideview for information? Darlene Madore

  • Bruce
    December 10, 2013 - 13:33

    “Someday when they come and tell me I can’t go for walks any more, like they took my car from me, I will still be able to look at the pictures and go for my walks that way,” he said. This makes me sad This should never happen. He can be escorted. At a small distance.