Many happy returns to Resthaven Murray Bridge resident, Mrs Helena Michalik, who celebrated her 100th birthday on 12 May.
Mrs Michalik was born in Siensko, Poland, the eldest of six children. The family lived on a small farm. As the eldest child, she would help her mother look after the younger children while she worked in the fields. She fondly remembers the scenic walks she would take to school and church, and especially remembers walking in the deep snow every Christmas Eve to celebrate Mass with her family and friends in town.
At a very early age, Mrs Michalik worked for a lovely family on their farm. She did everything from milking the cows, sewing, cleaning, and cooking, which she particularly enjoyed. It was on this farm where she met her future husband, Stanislaw, in 1940. They eventually moved to West Germany and married on 25 June, 1945. A year later, they welcomed the first son, closely followed by a second son.
In 1951, the family moved to Australia for Stan’s work, where they were based at the Woodside Army Camp. Stan worked in fruit picking in the Riverland, before securing a position in the railways. All the women lived at the camp while their husbands went off to work, and this is where Mrs Michalik welcomed her first and only daughter.
Stan’s employment with the railways led the family to the south east, where they lived in Coonalpyn for many years. Mrs Michalik found work in the Coonalpyn Community Hotel as a housemaid. However, when the cook ‘left on the spot’, she took over the role and ended up staying in her position for twenty-five years. Mrs Michalik’s cooking was admired and appreciated by many during this time.
Many years later, after their children had moved on from the family home, Mr and Mrs Michalik decided to move from Coonalpyn to Murray Bridge, where they could be closer to their children. Mrs Michalik lived an enjoyable life with her husband at Murray Bridge for many years, until he passed away. She remembers loving their garden, and seeing all their grandchildren grow up and play – memories that she will always cherish.
At eighty-seven years of age, Mrs Michalik flew overseas to visit her family in Poland for the first time in sixty-seven years, and also visited six other countries at the time – a proud moment for Mrs Michalik and a highlight of her life.
Mrs Michalik celebrated her 100th birthday surrounded by her children and grandchildren at Mannum. She was thrilled to receive her letter from the Queen. Happy birthday, Mrs Michalik!
Established in 1935, Resthaven is a South Australian not-for-profit aged care community service associated with the Uniting Church in Australia. Every day, Resthaven shares the lives and wisdom of older people and their carers, opening doors to the full range of aged care service options available.
Services are provided throughout metropolitan Adelaide, the Adelaide Hills, Murraylands, Riverland, Fleurieu Peninsula, lower Barossa region and the Limestone Coast of South Australia.