We all want to know, what is the secret to living a long and healthy life? For RACV Club Member Helen Lamont, who turns 100 on 23rd May, it’s keeping busy. And while she was upset cancelling her big birthday celebrations, she was happy to receive a letter from the Queen.
“I was a bit upset last week, I had to cancel my birthday celebrations with the solo group at RACV Club and I got a letter from the Prime Minister,” Helen says, “I thought, maybe the queen isn’t sending letters now? But I did get the letter this week, with a lovely photo of the queen and signed Elizabeth R.”
Friendships, family, food and fun, have been important aspects of Helen’s life, keeping her busy and happy.
“The oldest I have felt ever has been in the last month, as I haven’t been as social,” Helen said, “If you keep busy, time goes quickly.”
“You never know if you’re going to be a hundred and I never expected to. There are not many people I can talk to about the old days now.”
In her younger years, towards the end of the Great Depression, Helen started night school learning shorthand and writing to take a job as a telephonist in Melbourne.
“Working full time from 9-6 pm paid $1.50 for the week!” Helen says, “When I was young, I loved going to the theatre every Friday night with my friend, I had one dress with frills for going out and I came to love musical comedy.”
During isolation, Helen has had more time to tend to her garden, but it hasn’t stopped her from chatting with her family, especially her five grandchildren.
“I have an iPad, so I have still been catching up with my grandchildren over email and skype,” says Helen, “I’ve got one granddaughter and four grandsons, once a year I take them to have lunch in the dining room at the City Club, it’s a tradition.”
One of Helen’s many social activities has been playing solo at RACV Club, where she has played for over 21 years.
“Solo takes your mind off things, we play and have a laugh and you make lovely friends,” says Helen, “We play for non-legal tender, brown coins, only 2 cents! We do have tables that play for the big money, the silver money, 20 cents.”
“And in fact, if you can’t play, we have members who are willing to teach, we would love some younger members to come and learn solo with us, we have a lot of fun.”
Keeping up with family and friends has helped Helen stay happy through life, and still sharp as a tack, Helen takes a bet on horse racing to brighten up her days.
“You’ve got to have something in life to brighten it up, I love horse racing,” says Helen, “I can’t wait to attend meetings with my friends at the races again soon.”
Any last piece of advice from a soon to be centenarian?
“Life goes very quickly, try to just enjoy yourself.”