Al­most a cen­tury in her Taranaki home

Stratford Press - - News -

There’s no place like home says Genevieve Hop­kins, es­pe­cially when home is in Strat­ford.

Genevieve, who turned 99 last week, has spent all but two years of her life in Strat­ford and Eltham, and says she wouldn’t have it any other way.

“Strat­ford has al­ways been home to me.

“I’ve never seen any rea­son to move away.”

Genevieve says she spent her child­hood at the fam­ily home on Flint Road from where she walked to pri­mary school each day.

“The school was where the Mitre 10 build­ing is now, so it was a bit of a walk. I liked school though. When I went to high school I biked there ev­ery day.”

Genevieve (nee Bilkey) was the sec­ond girl in the fam­ily and also had an older brother. “I was the youngest child.” On leav­ing school Genevieve trained to be a nurse, com­plet­ing all but two years of her train­ing in Strat­ford.

“We had to go to Whanganui for two years of the course, but I was happy to come home af­ter­wards. I never saw the ap­peal of liv­ing in a big­ger city or fur­ther away.”

She worked and lived at the Strat­ford hospi­tal un­til she got mar­ried in 1948.

She met her hus­band Frank at a wed­ding.

“His sis­ter was a nurse with me and she told me about her brother Frank.

“Then when she got mar­ried I was her brides­maid and so met Frank that day.”

When she was in­tro­duced to him, she says she re­mem­bers telling him she had heard lots about him al­ready.

“Af­ter the wed­ding we went for a drive and that’s when we de­cided to start go­ing to­gether.”

Within a year they had got mar­ried at the Methodist church in Strat­ford, and Frank moved from Auck­land to live in Taranaki in a cot­tage they built in Eltham.

The cou­ple had three chil­dren to­gether, and Genevieve left nurs­ing for a while to raise them.

Sadly, af­ter 18 years of mar­riage, Frank died leav­ing Genevieve a sin­gle par­ent.

“When he got sick, I went back to work at the Strat­ford hospi­tal and car­ried on work­ing there again un­til I re­tired in 1980.”

At no point, she says, did she con­sider mov­ing away from the area.

“Strat­ford has al­ways felt like home, the peo­ple are nice and I like it here.”

Genevieve, who has nine grand­chil­dren and two great grand­chil­dren now lives at the vil­lage at Maryann Home and Hospi­tal, which she says is a lovely place to be.

Asked what the se­cret to liv­ing a long and healthy life is, Genevieve says it is down to at­ti­tude.

“You just keep on go­ing and don’t give up.”

Genevieve Hop­kins has spent 97 years of her life in Strat­ford / Eltham.

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