ALICE Pollock’s room is decorated with two balloons — one emblazoned with the number 100. The other has the number three.
You see, today is Alice’s 103rd birthday and they just don’t make balloons or cards to cater for longevity on her scale.
And what a life it has been; a daughter, a mother, a grand mother and a great grandmother — Alice has seen it all from two world wars to the moon landing.
Walking the halls of her home at Echuca’s BUPA Aged Care with only a walking stick as an aid, the sprightly centenarian-plus said her secret was walking every morning since she was 16.
Born in Sydney on June 16, months before World War I started, Alice was one of 10; four sisters and five step siblings as her father’s first wife had died.
Leaving her Rosedale High School at 16 to become a dressmaker, Alice has worked for David Jones and Myer.
‘‘I’m proud of my clothes, proud of everything I made, some of which I still have today,’’ she said.
Alice met her husband Hepburn Pollock, known to all as Bernie, at a dance she was dragged to by her friends and married her beloved beau on December 20, 1941, just weeks after Japan bombed Pearl Harbour and German armies were racing across the Russian steppes.
Then she had to play the waiting game for four years while Bernie was deployed to Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands.
‘‘My coping mechanism was to throw myself into work and keep going,’’ Alice said.
‘‘I was so happy when the war ended and my husband came home because the future had been so uncertain.
‘‘I started my family late because of the war, so I had my first son, Bruce, when I was 29.’’
Her second son Greggory was next.
Alice relocated to Echuca-Moama 10 years ago to be closer to her son Bruce following Bernie’s death.
She now resides at BUPA Echuca with her sister Joyce Cruws, a mere stripling at 99.
‘‘I’m most proud of my two sons in my life and I now have two grandchildren and two great grandchildren.’’
And the key to a long life? ‘‘Well it sure wasn’t sitting around and reading,’’ Alice laughed.
‘‘You have to go out and make the most of life, keep occupied and make sure you are passionate about something — mine was sewing.’’
‘‘I try not to think about age, I just remember the good times.’’