Ron Smith Care Centre resident Irene Watson celebrated her centenary on 8 September, with her daughter Fiona.
Irene was born in 1921 in County Durham, England. Her father Richard was a farmer, while her mother Harriet assisted the local midwife.
“I attended catholic junior school and was one of only five students awarded a scholarship at a private senior catholic school in Darlington,” says Irene.
“My first job was in the counting house of a huge department store. To transfer money, we put it into a tube and into a special shoot, where it would go whooshing through to its destination,” she adds.
Irene continued with office work during the war. “I met my husband Reginald at a dance in Darlington and we married soon after the war was over in 1945. He eventually signed up with an engineering company in Bulawayo and travelled ahead to Rhodesia to set up what would become our new home,” says Irene.
To join her husband, she travelled alone by ship for 15 days, from South Hampton, England, to Cape Town, with her two young children Trevor and Fiona. “Then we travelled by train for two days to Bulawayo, Rhodesia! It was a very long journey indeed,” says Irene.
Irene enjoys doing crossword puzzles every morning after breakfast, and also likes to listen to light music on the radio.
“I like to read novels, magazines and the newspaper and watch BBC News and quiz shows on TV. I also enjoy watching soapies, my favourite one being 7 de Laan. I also like going for walks at Ron Smith Care Centre and enjoying the lake, trees, flowers, gardens, birds and ducks; the sing-a-longs and chair exercises in the activity centre and playing bingo,” says Irene.
Her simple pleasure is to have coffee with Fiona at Elphino’s Coffee Shop, which is located in the care centre’s grounds.
“My proudest achievement is to have raised two wonderful, understanding children,” she says.