100 good years and no regrets

By Sandra Conchie


Jemima King may not be as sprightly as she once was, but says turning 100 doesn't make her any less sharp than she was in 20s.

"I see far more than people think I do. I still have all my senses," she said during her birthday party at Melrose Lifestyle Care & Village on Tuesday.

Mrs King, who was born in the Shetland Islands, celebrated the milestone with her two nieces, a nephew and great nephew.

The family migrated to Wellington when Mrs King was 16 and she has outlived an older sister and three older brothers.

As a child she enjoyed admiring the ladies' hair at church and grew up to became a hairdresser - a career she honed over "20-odd years".

"I just loved all the colours and hairstyles," she said.

Mrs King moved to Tauranga in 1970.

"I have always loved Mount Maunganui, especially lying out in the sun on the beach."

After giving up hairdressing, Mrs King became a "home executive" and enjoyed still-life and landscape art, attributing her artistic talents to her father, John Williamson.

Mrs King, who has been a widow for the past 15 years, has no children.

"I was told I would make a great mother, but I have had to accept that it wasn't meant to be."

Over her lifetime she has enjoyed ballroom dancing, music and the arts, and recalled many happy social occasions playing the violin.

She had few regrets in life, although she always wanted to be a dressmaker because of her love of clothes and fashion.

It was difficult to share her secret for a long and fulfilled life, she said. "We all are so different, and I couldn't possibly tell someone else how they should live their life. But what I can say is to stay healthy. It's very important to always eat well and exercise. I like to eat lots of oatmeal."

A can-do attitude and a positive outlook on life were also important, she said.

"I like to take things as they come each day, and don't over-think things too much or dwell on regrets. I think once you have set your mind on doing something, do it and don't do a half-pie job ... it's far more satisfying when you know you have worked hard when you achieve your goals.

"Overall I think life has treated me pretty good.

"I am very lucky to have good health and have a great family who love and care for me."




- Bay of Plenty Times

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