Article from The Vancouver Sun:
A sharp mind, sparkling eyes and a sweet tooth: North Vancouver’s Catherine Lindley still spry at 106
By Gord Mcintyre
NORTH VANCOUVER, BC – SEPTEMBER 16, 2016
Catherine Lindley’s eyes sparkle as she goes down memory lane, she easily makes her way around her new apartment without a walker or cane, and follows Canadian and American politics keenly.
She’s a corker and a character.
Sure, her hearing may not be what it once was and she had a pacemaker put in three years ago, but on the eve of her 106th birthday Sunday, she’s one of the more spry residents at the assisted living home she moved into a couple of weeks ago.
“My favourite memories? Oh, my goodness, there are a lot of them, oodles,” she said.
“Back in Winnipeg when we were kids, I remember almost all of it. The good stuff, you remember. The bad stuff I always just put in the back of my mind. Who needs it?
“There are a few tragic things. Losing all my friends as they got older was the hard thing.”
On the other hand, she’s been blessed that her two children, eight grandchildren and two great grandchildren are alive and well, if spread out over the Lower Mainland, Oregon and California.
In fact, Catherine jokes that she might outlive her son Richard, 85, and daughter Shirley, with whom she most recently lived in Lower Lonsdale until it got to be too much work for Shirley, who is 87.
Now Catherine calls Lynn Valley’s Cedar Garden home.
“She keeps telling my brother and me she’ll outlive us both and we always just laughed,” Shirley said. “But now we’ve started wondering if it might come true.”
When Catherine was born in Wales on Sept. 25, 1910, the nine-year reign of King Edward VII, Queen Victoria’s eldest son, had just ended. Japan formally annexed Korea that year, the Mexican revolution began and the union of South Africa took place.
In the heavens, Halley’s comet was photographed for the first time. Mark Twain, born during Halley’s previous visit in 1835, died that year after Halley had passed Earth again.
It was into that world that Catherine was born, only to lose her mother before she turned two. With the storm clouds of the First World War on the horizon, Catherine’s dad brought her and her brother to Winnipeg to be raised by an uncle. Their dad went to fight for the British Empire and returned after war’s end with a new bride and a baby girl.
Among Catherine’s abundance of fond memories include her years married to Isy Walters, owner of the Vancouver cabarets The Cave and Isy’s Supper Club (later Isy’s Strip City); her second marriage to Bob Lindley, seven years her junior (he died nine years ago); and her visit to the Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico.
“And flying over the Grand Canyon,” she said. “Have you been? Oh, you must go, you’ll love it.”
Catherine Lindley’s second husband died nine years ago. “Losing all my friends as they got older was the hard thing,” she says about living into her second century. Arlen Redekop / PNG
As for the secret of her longevity — four out of five doctors won’t want to hear this — Catherine defies conventional wisdom. She didn’t kick cigarettes until the age of 75 and was 85 when she gave up booze (“the hard stuff”).
“Back in those days, you looked smart if you had a cigarette in one hand and a drink in the other,” she said.
She also eats so many sweets her daughter Shirley wonders how she isn’t diabetic.
But in Catherine’s mind, it’s simple: stay active, keep the weight off and don’t stress out about things that are out of your control. Or as she puts it: “Don’t disrupt the planet just because things didn’t happen exactly the way you planned them.”
According to Statistics Canada, the number of centenarians grows each year. In the 2011 census there were 5,825 Canadians aged 100 years and older, compared to 4,635 in 2006 and 3,795 in 2001. The ratio remains fairly stable at five women to each man.
The Gerontology Research Group says there were seven Canadians, two of them living in the U.S., alive at the start of the year who were at least 110.
Time, Catherine said, flies by faster every year.
“When you’re a little kid, it goes slow because you want to grow up. When you get on this end, it goes by fast because you want to stay,” she said.
Sunday will be a special day, Catherine said, but then every day is special at 106.
“You don’t think much about your birthdays after 100. You just think, well any day …
“But I feel pretty good.”