Louise Jones is happiest when she’s outside — digging in the garden, painting things around the yard.
She starts every morning with a swim near her Pembroke home accompanied by her Labrador Retriever.
Afterward, while Sandy has a sniff along the beach, she collects any broken glass, napkins and bottle caps she finds in the sand. She can easily fill two or three bags with garbage.
“Often it’s just a few feet from the trash bin,” she grumbled. “I don’t understand how people can go to a place like Spanish Point Park and not want to take care of the place. It’s beautiful.”
She then puts on her snorkel gear and gets in the water where she picks up, mostly junk, but also little treasures — bracelets, pocket change, a vintage bottle.
Her children, Wayne, Niel, Karen and Colin each received two Velcro watchbands one summer, courtesy of her eagle eye.
“Three years ago, I found a kid’s graduation ring on the landing at Admiralty House,” she said.
A friend helped trace it to a young girl who lived in the neighbourhood.
“She’d looked all over for it,” Mrs Jones said.
She grew up in Hamilton, Ontario, one of seven children. Her father, Ken Aitken, worked for the Steel Company of Canada; her mother, Lenore, stayed home with their brood.
Mrs Jones was a self-professed tomboy. She loved fishing with her brothers, or hunting in the river for crayfish or leeches.
She dreamt of becoming a veterinarian, but didn’t have the grades so instead became a nanny. At 19, she moved to Bermuda and immediately fell in love with the ocean and Bobby Jones, the boy next door.
It was 1970, the heyday of the island’s College Weeks.
“A lot of great bands came to Bermuda,” she said. “I remember there was one that always sang Jeremiah Was A Bullfrog. I still have albums from bands we saw up at the Southampton Princess.”
She spent a year here, but then returned to Canada until 1972 when she and Mr Jones married. Together, the newlyweds ran several businesses in Bermuda — transfer and storage, bait and tackle and boat repairs.
“I never worked in the sense that I got paid, but I’d empty 55-gallon drums of resin into quarts and gallon bottles,” she said.
Looking after four children while catering to customers was sometimes difficult.
“There I’d be making bread and I’d have to go downstairs with my hands covered in dough and find them a cutlass bearing, then go back upstairs and be mommy,” she said.
The business closed after her husband died of kidney failure in 1995.
She lives next to a section of Mill Creek that was dredged in 1968. Although deep enough for her to keep a motorboat, it is too polluted to swim in. Despite that, she’ll occasionally spot a turtle, terrapin or porcupine fish in the murky water.
The natural world fascinates her. When she moved to the island she took several natural history courses at the Bermuda Aquarium, Museum & Zoo.
“I wanted to know what it was I was looking at in the water and what to be afraid of,” she said.
She became knowledgable enough that she became a volunteer teacher at BAMZ, teaching children about fish and birds of Bermuda for several years.
“Karen was about 3,” she said. “It was very annoying that every time I asked a question she had the answer. It was because she came to every class with me. I had to tell her, ‘Yes, I know you know Karen, but let that eight-year-old have a turn’.”
No matter what the weather, she spends her days outdoors puttering about. She is painting the bottom of her boat at present.
“What you do out there certainly seems to last longer than what you do inside the house,” she said.
At 68, she feels very spoilt because she has all of her children and seven grandchildren with her in Bermuda. They love to go fishing together.
“In August, I buy them lobster licences as their Christmas presents,” she said.
Her son, Niel, was “super good” at lobstering.
“He is one of those people who can hold his breath for four minutes,” she said.
She doesn’t dive with them because of problems with her ears. She watches — either from the water or in the boat — although she finds it a bit unnerving waiting for her children to reappear with their catch.
“You can see the hole, and you are looking at your watch, and you’re going, come on, come on ... then they come out and hand you the lobster.”
• Lifestyle profiles the island’s senior citizens every Tuesday. Contact Jessie Moniz Hardy on 278-0150 or firstname.lastname@example.org with their full name, contact details and the reason you are suggesting them