On 10 April, Mrs Doris Phelps celebrated her 100th birthday milestone, as she continues to enjoy views overlooking the Murray River with her family in Tailem Bend.
Mrs Phelps says, ‘I grew up in the Barossa Valley, in a sub-region called Vine Vale.’
‘It was a busy childhood, growing up the eldest of seven children. When I wasn’t at school, I helped my mother around the house, and my father, picking grapes, apricots, and prunes on the property.’
Mrs Phelps attended Nuriootpa High School, until she was ‘13 and three quarters.’
‘I left to assist my mother in raising the younger ones. You had to grow up a lot quicker back in those days — everything you did was for your family.’
‘I enjoyed getting out of the house regularly and riding my bike into Tanunda to visit my two aunts. One day, when I was 19, I came across a handsome young soldier there, Bob, and we hit it off right away.’
After spending a few short weeks together, Bob went on what would be his last posting in Queensland.
‘We continued writing letters back and forth, and under a year later we married. That would have been in 1942, when he was on leave from the war.’
The newlyweds soon welcomed their first child, Julia, and Bob went back to his previous work in Sydney, cutting window glass in a factory.
‘We didn’t have much money between us then, so we moved in with his parents, and it was a full house with a baby!’
They welcomed their second child, Kenneth, and the couple purchased land in Vine Vale after acquiring Bob’s soldier settlement. Later, they welcomed their third child, Fran.
‘We bought a fruit block, like the one mine and Bob’s parents both had, so we both knew what we were doing. There was never a quiet moment with the children and work!’
When they weren’t working hard on the property, Mr and Mrs Phelps enjoyed ballroom dancing.
‘He was always quite good at it, and handsome too—we both loved it, and carried on well into our retirement.’
‘We lived a good life together, full of love and admiration.’
After Bob’s passing, Mrs Phelps moved into her daughter’s picturesque home in Tailem Bend, continuing to live independently with the assistance of Resthaven Murray Bridge, Hills & Fleurieu Community Services.
‘We overlook the river here, and you will find me with a cup of tea outside most days. There are worse views to have, that’s for sure!’
As Mrs Phelps reaches her centenarian milestone, she shares, ‘I have lived a full life of love and family, and I have always kept busy—that’s the secret I suppose.’
‘I have always kept up with something, whether it be dancing, gardening or singing—always do what brings you joy.’
Very wise words indeed.
Many happy returns, Mrs Phelps!