"I consider myself very fortunate," Mary Jane Schmalz who worked as a speech pathologist at the Brantford General Hospital said.
"My career wasn't just a job and I didn't do it because of the pay cheque.
I can honestly say that I enjoyed coming to work all of those years."
, whose sister is a clinical psychologist, learned about a career as a speech pathologist one day at high school.
"I grew up in Mildmay which is near Walkerton, Ontario," Mary Jane
In 1975 Mary Jane graduated and saw a job posting for a speech pathologist at the Brantford General Hospital.
was hired she
would stay in Brantford
for perhaps a couple of years.
"There was a shortage of speech pathologists back in those days but I remained for a couple of reasons," Mary Jane
"I didn't know anyone in Brantford
when I first arrived, however, throughout the years I worked among some great colleagues and the job has always been interesting and the opportunity to mentor students keeps you fresh."
One of Mary Jane's memories of her
career was the big snowstorm in 1977.
"Travel was pretty well impossible and members of the evening shift couldn't make it in to work," Mary Jane
"We were provided with mats that we placed on the floor and we stayed the night in the hospital."
has worked with hundreds of young children over the years.
"Speech pathology is about communication and how we understand language - listening, reading comprehension and speaking," she
"In the past we would take the child from their parent and go to a therapy room, however, now we work together with their parents and the rest of the family.
We like to move out of the clinical setting and go into the community to daycare centres.
The key partner is the family."
has always enjoyed travelling and with more time on her
wants to travel even more.
"Last year I did some hiking in Ireland and the Galapagos Islands and now that I am retired I will be able to take advantage of some spontaneous trips," she
"I will be moving back to Mildmay to do some renovations at the family homestead and some gardening."
Leaving the Brant Community Healthcare System
will be bittersweet for Mary Jane
"It has been a very rewarding career and I would do it all over again," she
"I have enjoyed many relationships with children and their families.
It is such a high when you see children turned on to communication."
Even in retirement Mary Jane
is planning to continue to maintain her
After all there is nothing better than when she
hears from the parents of one of her
clients who tell her
that their child never stops talking.