Guess who’s turning 100 next week?
IF THERE’S one piece of advice you might want to take from Noel Schmidt, it’s that a bit of whisky each night won’t hurt you. In fact, he swears by it. And perhaps he’s onto something because to look at Noel, it’s hard to believe that he’s about to turn 100.
Despite some common ageing ailments, Noel appeared to be in good health and said he was “feeling all right”.
The Childers man will celebrate his 100th birthday next Thursday, July 24.
As his centenary approached, Noel took time out with the Town & Country to reflect on what he said had been “a good life”.
Noel, the youngest of four siblings, spent the first three years of his life at
Noel Schmidt Centurion If you seen something coming down (a tree) you had to beat them out of the seat!
Apple Tree Creek before his family moved to a farm in Childers, and he had remained in the district since.
At the age of 13, Noel left school to work on his family’s farm, which he said was no great loss because he wasn’t a fan of school anyway.
He began driving trucks when he was just 16 years old, and before long he took a liking to “mucking around” with tractors and cars and became a self-taught mechanic.
“You sort of had to go to work, because nobody was about to fix it, so you had to fix them,” he said.
Not only was Noel a handy home mechanic, truckie and farmer, he also dabbled in earthmoving and was responsible for clearing much of the soldier’s settlement in the district.
Earthmoving had not always been kind to him though, and he said he was lucky to be alive.
“I’ve been knocked about a fair bit with dozers. I’ve been smashed up ... because they never had canopies them days like they got now,” he said.
“If you seen something coming down (a tree) you had to beat them out of the seat!”
Work has remained a big part of Noel’s life.
Remarkably, the confessed workaholic had been on his family farm up until five years ago.
And he would still be hard at work if weren’t for his failing eyesight.
Rather than enjoying retirement, he had found the past five years difficult.
“It hurts a bit now that I can’t. I can’t see and I’ve got to feel everything (when working on machinery),” he said.
But his eyesight hadn’t completely stopped Noel, who occasionally jumped on a ride-on mower to keep his property in good shape, often mowing about two hectares at a time.
“I don’t think they like me mowing much, they think I might get hurt,” he said.
Work had played a big part in Noel’s life, but it was his late wife Enid who shaped who he was today.
It was at a local dance in Dalby where Noel, who was 19, met Enid Hume.
The teenagers shared a love of dancing and their love blossomed over a three-year courtship.
Soon after, the couple were married and went on to have three children: Nola, Faye and Don.
The pair enjoyed 73 years of marriage until four years ago when Enid passed away.
When Noel reflected on his life, he said it was a good one because of his family.
“I’ve got a good family. I had a good wife. That was the main thing,” he said.
Noel said his other love of his life was cars.
Big, American cars were his pride and joy. That, and Fords.
Noel was proud to have owned more than 20 cars in his lifetime, mostly of Fairlanes, and American cars when he could get hold of them.
“I like big cars. I reckon they’re more comfortable, you’ve got more control over them,” he said.
He estimated he had owned no fewer than 65 vehicles throughout his lifetime, including utilities, trucks and low loaders.
Nowadays Noel spent time listening to audio books and playing his favourite card game, crib, with his family.
The spirited senior was happy to share one piece of advice for a long life – keep your mind active.
“They reckon if you can remember four phone numbers, your brain is all right.”
GOOD OLD DAYS: Childers man Noel Schmidt, who will turn 100 next week, in his younger days.
Noel Schmidt will celebrate his 100th birthday next week.