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Guelph woman hopes to collect 100 birthday cards for grandmother's 100th birthday

'Ideally, a hundred for her 100th birthday would be perfect, but I would be happy with another 10 or 20'

With her grandmother’s 100th birthday approaching, a Guelph woman is collecting 100 birthday cards to mark the occasion.

Samantha Cardow put out a request in September for birthday cards online, aiming to get a hundred cards before the centennial birthday on Dec. 9.

Expecting a few cards, she has received 20 so far, many coming from outside the community from areas like Nunavut, the United States and even Switzerland. 

Now, she’s reaching out online again to Guelph residents in hopes of reaching her goal. 

“I wasn’t really expecting it, but I’m interested in seeing how many I can get for her birthday,” Cardow said about the responses to her request. “Ideally, a hundred for her 100th birthday would be perfect, but I would be happy with another 10 or 20.”

The idea for collecting cards came from a friend’s suggestion in an online group, explains Cardow. Liking the idea, Cardow put out a request and set up a post office box for people to mail the cards to.

“I just thought she would really enjoy it, because I would get her wine and other gifts, but this is something that other people can contribute to and she can just enjoy,” said Cardow.

The P.O. Box is expected to stay up for another month. Anyone interested in sending a card can send a card to Samantha Cardow, PO Box 31093, Willow West, Guelph ON, N1H 8K1.

“She’s going to be really happy,” said Cardow, anticipating her grandmother’s reaction to the gift.

“The fact that anyone would do it at all is great.”

Cardow’s grandmother, Rita Cardow, was born in Guelph in 1921. The youngest of four siblings, Rita grew up on Omar Street and went on to work in the Biltmore Hat factory.

Nancy Tonelli, one of Rita’s daughters, explains her mother married her father, Albert Cardow, on her 18th birthday. The couple met a year prior when Albert joined his father in delivering bread.

“My father was the only person she went on a date with,” said Tonelli, mentioning her father then went overseas for five and a half years to serve in WWII.

Rita and Albert went on to have five children in Guelph and a majority of them still live within the city. Kerry Cardow, Samantha’s father, explains Rita is the first family member to turn 100.

“It’s amazing,” he said. “She has all her wits, you would never know she was 100.”

Looking back on all her mother’s milestones, Tonelli said she never thought her mother would reach 100 years of age.

“She’s a really strong woman,” said Tonelli. “She’s not your average 100-year-old, you wouldn’t think she’s more than 80.”

Cardow agrees, mentioning her grandmother is still very active.

“ I feel like she has more energy than I do.”

Along with the birthday cards, Cardow has also organized a certificate from the city to recognize her grandmother’s birthday.  Receiving it a month ago, it is now getting framed. 

“I also signed her up to get a letter from the Queen,” said Cardow, “I marked it to have it sent closer to the birthday, but they have not received it yet.”


Ariel Deutschmann

About the Author: Ariel Deutschmann

Ariel Deutschmann is a feature writer and reporter who covers community events, businesses, social initiatives, human interest stories and more involving Guelph and Wellington County
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