Secret to long life is hard work and good food
Hard work and good food is Isabelle Matthews’ secret to living to 102 years.
The Southland woman, known as Isa, grew up on a farm in Spar Bush, helping her dad work and eating lots of good food, including home-grown vegetables.
Growing up she liked oysters, blue cod, onions, potatoes, carrots and tomatoes, and she had an orchard with peaches and apple trees and different types of berries.
Bringing in lots of fresh produce made her very popular at school, she said.
‘‘I always had plenty of vegetables. I loved them and I still do.’’
Today she will celebrate her 102nd birthday with family and friends at an afternoon tea at Vickery Court Home and Hospital, where she has lived for the past three or four years.
Back when the home was much smaller, she used to work as a nurse.
However, she was a ‘‘real farm girl’’ by heart.
‘‘You can’t beat being a farm girl.’’
She grew up with younger twin siblings, a brother and sister, and another younger sister, but they were all ‘‘inside children’’.
Isa was always outdoors with her dad, sitting on the tractor, working in the garden or helping milk their cows.
‘‘I was out with dad always. I had big muscles but not anymore.
‘‘I had lots of things that I used to do.’’
She had since moved around the region, living in Riverton, Winton and Invercargill.
‘‘I’ve always had gardens wherever I went.’’
She was married twice throughout her life, and said every relationship was different. Her advice was to be understanding of that.
Her favourite memories were with her children Miles, Colin, Dorothy and Ian-David.
Miles and Colin had since died. She had lost count of how many grandchildren and great grandchildren she had, but she does enjoy visits from them.
Isa still keeps active at Vickery Court by walking to and from meals and going out for day trips.
‘‘I’m quite independent,’’ she said.
A lot had changed in the world since she was young, but her main piece of advice to people was to make sure they ate their vegetables.
She recommended everyone had their own vegetable garden, like she did growing up.
Isabelle Matthews turns 102 years today.