After spending decades in the public eye with first being elected to council and then elected as the City’s mayor, Morris Flewwelling looks ahead to life after politics.
Sitting in the backyard of their Red Deer home, Morris and his wife Hazel talk about what their plans are for the future and what they will miss about political life.
“Hazel and I are going to do some traveling. We want to do the traveling we haven’t been able to do as I have been mayor. I could miss a council meeting, but when you miss a council meeting and the paper and the buzz – you miss and it doesn’t sink in,” he said. “We also do genealogy so we are looking forward to doing some of that. Both of us are interested in the arts and so there’s always work to be done in that.”
The Flewwelling’s will stay in Red Deer and as Morris said, “We’re rooted in this community. Both of us have been community builders for the last 45 years.”
However, he is looking forward to getting to spend more time on his Central Alberta ranch as well.
“I want to get back to my ranch. I’ve got things I want to accomplish there. And of course I have umpteen projects I have set aside. With this job you don’t work from dawn until dark but there are enough interruptions throughout the day that you feel like you get nothing done.”
As for after the election, Morris said he is looking forward to stepping out of the spot light.
“When I look at the future, I have to step off the municipal government podium. We don’t want the hand of the former mayor mucking around in what is going on,” he said. “If the mayor asks me for an opinion, I will offer it privately to my successor. But I will not be shooting from the sidelines. It’s important that for the go-forward my lip will be zipped.”
As for Hazel, she said she has also enjoyed Morris’ time in office.
“It was a great privilege to be involved with the City. The City is a jealous lover and if you are really committed to doing your work as a councillor and as a mayor you have to have the support of family because the whole family is part of this,” she said, adding that there are times it has been hard. “You’re raising children on your own a lot of the time. There’s a lot of single-parenting particularly when the children are young.”
She added even their private life has been public.
“Publicly you can’t have an opinion. When I know Morris is doing his absolute best and it’s not good enough – it hurts,” she said. “You know who your real friends are when the chips are down. Sometimes really difficult decisions have to be made and you know people are going to be ticked off. Based on as much information you have, you have to make a decision and you have to make it in front of everybody. That’s politics – that’s why it’s a blood sport.”
Over the years Hazel also has kept a close handle on the schedule of upcoming events.
“I don’t mind going to a number of events because sometimes it’s the only time I get to see him (Morris). I get printout – I try to get one two weeks ahead of time and then I know where I am supposed to be and to have my hair done and what to wear. I also want to know who I am sitting with so I know names and what they have done.”
She added she is looking forward to having some more downtime with Morris as well.
“We’re going to do some reading and writing. There are some wonderful stories that need to be written.”
Morris said he thinks the wind-down after the election will be challenging.
“When you’re the mayor and the mayor’s wife, you are used to being identified as soon as you come into the room or onto the grounds whether it’s formally or informally – people know you’re there and they are watching you. You know you’re an object of some attention. That abruptly stops with the election of a new mayor.”
As for what she will miss the most, Hazel said it will be the people.
“I find people fascinating, I find them very interesting.”
Flewwelling added although there have been trying times as a councillor and as mayor, he would do it all over again.
“It’s always been fun. Sometimes when you talk about it you talk about it in terms of the negative. But it’s always been fun. Nobody made me do it and I didn’t have to do it. It has been fun.”
One thing Hazel said she knows moving forward is that there will always be some kind of excitement in their lives.
“When Morris proposed to me 45 years ago he said ‘I promise you’ll never be bored’ and I never have been, he is always up to something. So I know that I will never be bored.”