Birthday bash for 100-year-old
It is hard to believe Bessie Pearson is 100-years-old. In fact, she can hardly believe it herself.
The spirited grandmother and great-grandmother, who still lives at home in Ranfurly and drives a car, has been celebrating the birthday milestone with a weeklong party with her family, friends and the Maniototo community.
‘‘It has been wonderful. I’m a bit emotional. There has been a big lead up to the birthday. I was thrilled to get a birthday card from the Queen and John Key.
‘‘I can’t believe it. I have kept good health...I used to play hockey and lots of golf. I took up golf when I was 53 and finished when I was 83. I got a hole-in-one when I was 80 in Ranfurly.’’
Despite struggling with some arthritis, there is nothing wrong with her mind, she says.
‘‘I can still remember my first day of school and what my teacher’s name was. She wore a brown checked skirt, lace-up brown shoes and a brushed wool jersey which is fashionable today.’’
Pearson was born in Naseby on November 14, 1916 and was the second oldest of a family of five.
‘‘I went to school when I was five years old until I was 12, then I did a correspondence course and there was not district high school...I got married when I was 22 and lived on a farm in Kyeburn for 60 years and had four daughters and one son.’’
During her early years of marriage, life was ‘‘primitive’’, she says.
‘‘I had a pioneering life. I had no telephone, no power, no neighbours, no running water for a start....We used to boil the copper on Saturdays for one bath a week.’’
Her husband died in 1991 and the farm was sold and she moved to Ranfurly. Keeping active and being involved in the community has been a key to longevity. Pearson has been involved in organisations such as the Women’s Institute, the Maniototo Garden Club and Plunket. During her time with Plunket she was fortunate enough to share afternoon tea with the Queen in Dunedin.
‘‘I have heaps of friends because I have been involved with various activities.’’
She has had a ‘‘happy life’’ and has lived following simple words of advice written in her autograph book as a young child: ‘Be a good girl, lead a good life, choose a good husband and make a good wife’.
‘‘That’s what I have tried to do.’’
Bessie Pearson, of Ranfurly, who turned 100, received a birthday card from the Queen.