SHE brushes it aside, year after year.
Slotting 101, 102, 103 like they were nothing special.
But whether she likes it or not, Elsie Rowe is a living legend.
And on Saturday, she reached the big 104.
Born March 10, 1914, months before World War I, Elsie was an orphan at 16, endured the Great Depression and World War II.
Yet despite all her hardship, she is content with her long life.
And what a life of kindness and generosity it has been.
Chatting to Elsie’s daughters Linda and Shana Rowe, it’s clear their mum has spread a lot of sunshine in her many years.
A self-taught dressmaker and pattern-designer, Elsie chose to use her gifts for people in need around her.
“She made clothes for people who struggled to find clothes in shops because they had unusual body shapes,” Linda said.
“And they always fit perfectly and were ridiculously cheap.
“If someone was struggling for funds, she’d just do it for free.
“She was always giving to the community in various ways. In Echuca, she sewed numerous quilts and donated them to St Vinnies.”
But Elsie’s daughters insist she’s not perfect.
Still, she comes pretty close.
“She’s not a loud person, but she’s always had strong principles,” Linda said.
“She’s caring, compassionate and very grateful for the people around her who care for her.”
“Mum is very humble and never blows her own trumpet,” Shana said.
“She’s also showed great resilience throughout her life. Particularly enduring suddenly being an orphan at the beginning of the Great Depression and having to find board in someone else’s home.”
This pattern of strength continued throughout her life, with Elsie not about to let challenges along the way – even her advancing years – hold her back.
“She’s always been very fit. She was still riding a bike until she was 80,” Linda said.
“Until she was 90, she’d get up at 7am every morning before breakfast to do her exercises. Then she’d walk all the way from Moama to Echuca and back to get groceries.
‘‘When she broke both her hips at 102, she was back up and walking the next day.’’
Elsie has lived at Moama’s Southern Cross Apartments for several years now.
At 104, she is still the oldest resident.
She celebrated her birthday on Saturday with her three daughters Linda, Shana and Carol.