By Sheree Hoddinett
Marjorie Williams has the energy and humour of someone half her age. That’s saying a lot for someone who has just celebrated turning 100. Not that she looks it or even acts it for that matter. If like me, you’ve had the pleasure of meeting this beautiful lady, you’ll know exactly what I mean!
Marjorie is certainly one of a kind, cheeky and wise, but respectful when it’s needed and definitely loved by all who know her, including her youngest friend Oxley, who is just eight-years-old. The pair have formed a long-lasting bond, with the youngster even making a birthday card for his ‘oldest’ friend, highlighting the many changes she would have experienced throughout her life. The smile on Marjorie’s face when she talks about her little friend lights up the room and you just know this duo could likely come up with a cracking joke or two!
Marjorie Hatch, believe it or not she has no middle name, was born in Kew, Victoria on February 16, 1923. She was one of four girls, a smaller family for that time period. Marjorie lived most of her life moving throughout Victoria before settling on Bribie with her son Trevor and his wife about six years ago. It was a move that made all the difference for Marjorie, with the fresh air, mostly sunny skies and laidback lifestyle giving her a new lease on life, one she never realised was truly needed.
So other than laughter and living an amazing life on the Island, what is the secret to such longevity in life? Marjorie credits her long life to luck and always finding the positive side in all situations, not to mention no smoking or drinking.
“I never thought I’d make it to 100,” Marjorie said. “I thought surely I’d be gone by 70. I think it’s the genes you inherit and how you live your life, as well as your attitude to life. I’ve been fairly healthy and I feel I’ve been lucky. I feel I’m lucky because of the way my life has turned out I suppose. I didn’t think I’d make it to this age as a lot of people don’t.”
Marjorie has seen so much over 100 years, from multiple changes in the British monarchy (from the Queen herself to her father and even her grandfather before that) to the hardships of war, the introduction of television, deaths of family and friends and of course changes in technology - no she doesn’t have a mobile phone and doesn’t need one thank you! She was also lucky enough to start her modeling career when she was 80-years-old.
“Later in life, mum was involved with the hospital auxiliary and the op shop,” Trevor said. “They had fashion parades on regular occurrences and they’d have models to show off the clothes. Mum was their top model.”
But that’s not the end of the amazing things Marjorie has achieved in her life.
“I started roller skating when I was 16 and I also learnt to dance on roller skates,” she said. “I also did ice skating and then I started ballroom dancing when I was 17. I was pretty close in age to one of my sisters (she was 18) and mum said we could go together, which I know annoyed my sister because I was younger than her!”
Marjorie was 16 when World War II started. She worked as a packer in a factory that made socks and underwear for soldiers.
“We had to work two nights a week or we got the sack and you didn't get paid a lot for that either,” she said. “But I was doing my bit for the war.”
Her memory recall is amazing. She can remember the street names of dances she went to in her teens and 20s, along with people she knew when she was young. Marjorie even met her husband (who passed away 13 years ago with dementia) at a dance, with the pair marrying in 1944. Their daughter Marilyn was born in 1952 and Trevor followed in 1955.
Cracking a few jokes is a sentiment very much shared by Trevor, who clearly shares a very humorous bond with his mum.
“I used to give her a bit of grief,” he said. “I’d hide behind the curtain or pull the tablecloth off the table, just little things.”
“One night I got him back,” Marjorie adds with a twinkle in her eye. “I got the jar of sugar and I thought I'll stop you. When he went to grab the tablecloth, I banged the jar of sugar on the table. Can you imagine what happened? The jar broke and sugar went everywhere. Oh, that was fun to clean up and it was the worst thing. I got the sweeper out but sugar is horrible to clean up.
“But it was so funny, we laughed and laughed. No, you're never too old to play games with a kid or be a kid. If the rest of the world don't like it well, bad luck. So you can see that's why I've reached 100, I think that's got a lot to do with it. We've had our periods of stress and anxiety and all the rest of it. I've gone through all sorts of things, but you can get past that and start laughing again.”
To celebrate her milestone birthday, Marjorie gathered with a group of family (including some surprise visitors she didn’t know were coming) and friends at Sun Lai Chinese restaurant. She also received letters from the King, Governor General of Australia and the Governor of Queensland, just to name a few.
With 100 years already under belt, it’s no surprise that Marjorie isn’t planning on going anywhere anytime soon.
“Who knows, 10 years from now, we could be having another big party,” she said with a laugh. “I’ll keep going, I’ll do my walking and do as much as I can while I can. I’ll keep sitting outside under the trees and enjoy my fresh air as long as I can.”
Happy Birthday Marjorie!