Thelma McLean is set to turn 105

By David Haxton

FULL LIFE: Thelma McLean, who is about to turn 105, enjoys playing the card game patience most days.
FULL LIFE: Thelma McLean, who is about to turn 105, enjoys playing the card game patience most days.

Thelma McLean, quite possibly Kapiti's oldest resident, is set to celebrate her 105th birthday on Tuesday.

The Waikanae Country Lodge resident, who was born on May 31, 1911, in Stratford, Taranaki, will celebrate the milestone at the lodge and then a few days later about 20 family and friends will get together at her daughter, Rae Dobson's house in Otaki.

Rae said her mother's age was "quite remarkable".

"But it doesn't surprise me in the least - because look at her - she could go on forever.

"She's never ill and she doesn't take regular medicine."

Thelma, who was one of 11 children to John and Elizabeth Peterson, spent a lot of her life in the Central Otago area where her family moved to.

Her earliest memory was when she was about three years old and seeing World War One soldiers going past on a train.

"They went right past our house. I waved a tea towel."

She recalls going to school in Clyde where Robert Briggins was the headmaster.

"We used to sing songs about him:

"Oh Bob Briggins is a very good man,

"He tries to teach us all he can,

"Reading, writing, spelling and arithmetic,

"But he never forgets to give us the stick.

"We used to sing that about him, but not in his presence of course."

Thelma married Arthur McLean, a lamb buyer who worked of the Waitaki Farmers' Freezing Company in Oamaru, and moved to Ranfurly where they had their four children Rae, Robin, Peter and John. The social couple retired to Otaki and lived in Rahui Rd for more than 30 years.

Throughout her life Thelma loved playing a variety of sports especially hockey, tennis and golf. Other interests included pottering about in the garden, the National Party, to playing bridge.

Nestled in her cosy room in the Waikanae Country Lodge, Thelma enjoys having her breakfast in bed before trying to crack the daily newspaper crossword and later playing cards, especially patience for hours on end. She likes to go for a walk in the lodge, entertain visitors, enjoys her meals, and partakes in a daily glass of wine or two.

Attending Waikanae Music Society concerts on a Sunday afternoon is enjoyable, as is going for car trips with Rae to places like the Waikanae Lagoons or to see some friends in Waikanae and Levin.

Thelma is very close to her family and treasures family events.

"We've always been very fond of each other - good cobbers."

Overall Thelma says she's had "an extremely pleasant life".

"I just enjoy life."

- Kapiti News

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