Many happy returns to Mrs Katherine (Kay) Crichton, who celebrated her 100th birthday on 8 September, 2020.
Kay is supported to live independently in her retirement living unit by Resthaven Onkaparinga Community Services.
Born in Blantyre, ten miles out of Glasgow, Kay was the eldest of six kids. ‘My mum and dad married when mum was 17; I was born when she was 18,’ she says.
Even though the family didn’t have much money, they were surrounded by family and friends. ‘Mum was one of six sisters, so I had great fun with all of them,’ she says. ‘We popped in any time – we were always welcome.’
‘And the people [in the town] were very friendly and helped each other.’
Kay attended the local primary school, where she ‘didn’t get much of an education,’ before finishing at age 14 to go to work in a tailor shop. She remained there until she was 19, when she was called up to the war.
‘I took war work instead of land army, which I regret,’ she says. ‘It took me an hour to get there and back along the River Clyde, and it was a ship building firm. There was all sorts of muck. I used to hate it.’
One thing that Kay did enjoy, however, was dancing, which is how she met her late husband, John.
‘John didn’t dance much, but I thought he was handsome,’ she says. ‘Within three months, we were married in a church in Glasgow.’
After the war, the couple found a home, and, by the 1950s, had two boys together.
In the 1960s, Kay started hearing stories about how lovely Australia was, especially the beaches. So it was that in 1963, the couple emigrated. ‘I just managed to get in as a ten pound pom!’ Kay says.
They moved to Rostrevor, then Newton. John worked in Torrens Island, then Holdens, and Kay was employed by Radio Works for around five years, ‘putting things together for radios.’ However, she ‘liked being a housewife, being at home looking after things. I like to cook and bake. I was always cutting out recipes and trying new things.’
‘I also knitted a lot – I knitted my son’s jumpers, and did embroidery.’
‘But the thing I always enjoyed most was dancing.’
The family had a happy life, and Kay and John travelled a lot in their retirement. ‘We did a tour that took us to Italy, Estonia, Russia,’ says Kay. ‘Red Square – it’s absolutely gorgeous.’
Sadly, when John was in his 70s, he died suddenly. Not long afterwards, Kay also found she had some serious health issues – but I’m 100, so I don’t worry too much.’ she says with a shrug.
This pragmatic attitude is characteristic of Kay, whose says of her milestone birthday, ‘You just keep going;
I eat well, I’ve got a good appetite, I love food but I don’t eat too much rubbish.’
‘I smoked until I was about 30, then I haven’t had one since. Don’t smoke, you’ll get wrinkles!’
Kay still enjoys a very independent lifestyle in her retirement living unit, in which she has been living for 20 years.
She attends Resthaven’s monthly social group, which she very much enjoys: ‘I’ve been doing all the monthly social group activities,’ she says. ‘The Resthaven services are very good – oh yes, no complaints.’
She also enjoys water colour painting, and hosting a monthly book club in her unit.
‘I started a little book club with four of the ladies here,’ she says. ‘Once a month, we get together and have a cup of tea and a biscuit, we bring our books and chat.’
Kay celebrated her birthday at her nephew’s home in Seaton, where she enjoyed a ‘nice meal with family.’
Happy birthday, Kay!
Resthaven Onkaparinga Community Services supports older people such as Kay to live independently in their own homes, with a range on in-home, centre-based, or wellness options. To speak with your closest Resthaven Community Services location, phone 1300 13 66 33.