Alice races into next cen­tury

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By RHI­AN­NON McCONNELL

Edna Ma­hony has seen a lot dur­ing her 101 years in Welling­ton.

She has lived through two world wars and the De­pres­sion, has seen high-rises spring up around her, and wit­nessed the in­ven­tion of com­put­ers and wash­ing ma­chines. But she still has more left in her.

On Mon­day, Edna turned 101. She wasn’t too sur­prised – her sis­ter lived to the same age.

‘‘I don’t know why. Ex­cept we lived on ba­sic good food that we grew and it was def­i­nitely a lot to do with the food. It kept us fit.

‘‘ And my sis­ter and I both worked hard. If you keep work­ing, you keep your­self alive and on top of it,’’ she said.

‘‘In my early days you grew most of your food in the gar­den and you lived on good whole­some food.’’

Born on Fe­bru­ary 23, 1914, Edna lived in Mount Cook with her par­ents and only sis­ter be­fore mov­ing to Brook­lyn when she was 9.

‘‘Life was very dif­fer­ent. There was noth­ing very much then. There were no wash­ing ma­chines, and very, very few cars.

‘‘My fa­ther owned a taxi ser­vice and used to drive all over the coun­try tak­ing peo­ple. There was only gravel roads and no maps, no noth­ing then.’’

She said she would be slightly mor­ti­fied when she was about 11 or 12 and her fa­ther drove through town.

‘‘I didn’t think it was quite a cool thing then.’’

Af­ter be­ing dux of St Mark’s Church School in 1927, she did more study and worked as a short­hand typ­ist and book­keeper un­til she re­tired at 75.

Edna moved to Longview Home last year, hav­ing lived in her own home un­til she was 100.

She said that though com­put­ers and tech­nol­ogy made life a lot eas­ier th­ese days, some things weren’t bet­ter.

‘‘We were a lot more in­de­pen­dent and in a lot of ways clev­erer be­cause we used our brains.

‘‘If you didn’t use your brains you got nowhere.

‘‘It was a tremen­dously dif­fer­ent world, but it was a happy one. We made our own games, you didn’t buy them.

‘‘ We were all very con­tent I think. A lot more con­tent than they are now.’’

The avid sports fan played ten­nis and bow­els most of her life, and it was on a ten­nis court that she met her hus­band, whom she mar­ried in 1939.

‘‘When I was a bit smaller all the wash­ing was put in the cop­per and boiled.

‘‘There was a hand-turner you turned your­self.

‘‘Peo­ple don’t know they’re alive th­ese days.’’

When World War II came, life changed.

‘‘That was pretty prim­i­tive. You learnt a lot be­cause you learnt to use ev­ery­thing you could lay your hands on.’’

Her own hus­band was not sent to war be­cause of their young daugh­ter, but her sis­ter’s hus­band en­listed.

‘‘When the troops went away it was a mo­men­tous oc­ca­sion.

‘‘It was the first for all of my gen­er­a­tion and it was sad see­ing all the troops go.

‘‘How­ever, most of them came back.’’

The cel­e­bra­tion when they did re­turn was one Edna has never forgotten.

‘‘Welling­ton went mad re­ally. It was pretty short be­cause we were ra­tioned and ev­ery­thing else, but you made do with what you had.’’

Edna moved to Tawa in 1990 af­ter her hus­band died in 1981.

Apart from a few bro­ken hips and arthri­tis, she has been healthy.

But living in New Zealand’s cap­i­tal city for all that time had brought with it its own changes.

She said it seemed like high­rises had shot up ev­ery­where.

‘‘ I’m ab­so­lutely amazed with Welling­ton I can’t get over it. ‘‘It’s fas­ci­nat­ing. ‘‘All the tall build­ings and com­plexes and all the glass.’’

Pho­tos: RHI­AN­NON McCONNELL

Happy birth­day: Alice War­ren turns 104 next month.

Good life: Edna Ma­hony turned 101 on Mon­day.

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