Thursday, October 02, 2008


We have been honoured to attend not one, but two ninetieth birthday celebrations this past week.

I managed to get this shot of Greg and Paulette together at Paulette's party. To the right is Greg's daughter Gracie.

Now if you associate a ninetieth birthday party with a sedate afternoon tea, with a nurse or two hovering round to make sure the guest of honour does not get too tired from all the excitement, then think again!

Greg, who turned 90 on Sunday, and Paulette, whose birthday was Wednesday both had BIG parties, with lots of merriment. After all, they are both still prominent in this community, and have lots of friends and family and admirers who would want to be included.

Paulette and Greg are still leading busy, active and productive lives. Paulette would have the biggest and most colourful flower garden on this island, while Greg, who has been a farmer all his life, is not ready to retire for a while yet!! I might add that both have done a lot of other things in their lives too. Greg has been well known as a politician and an auctioneer, and is truly a Jack of all Trades. But Paulette can rightly be called a Jill of all Trades, and her practical skills and abilities would put many DIY men to shame!

Greg's celebration was held at Governor's Lodge on Sunday afternoon. A large number of people had travelled to the island specially for it, which will indicate the regard in which he is held.

Silly hat and silly present - but Greg is a believer that life was meant to be fun, and his wonderful sense of humour and hearty laughter are his trademarks, and lighten even the most serious of occasions.

Greg surrounded by a large extended family

Greg has lived on the island all his life, and loves this place and its people with a passion.

Meanwhile, Paulette's family hosted a dinner for 100 people in the Parish Centre on Wednesday evening. Paulette is a real 'people person', and she has a wide circle of friends who all love her wit and her cheerfulness, and her 'life be in it' attitude.

Paulette is French. She was born in Noumea but spent most of her young life in Vanuatu, where, among other things, her family grew cocoa and copra. It was here she learned to be resourceful. She came to this land nearly 60 years ago, married a widower, and his family have become her own, and they love her dearly.

As usual, plenty of good things to eat!

Here Paulette's son-in-law Barry talks about her fascinating life. Paulette sustained an injury to her leg when she was a young girl, and it became infected. It did not heal properly for over 50 years, when she had a successful skin graft. Now that is fortitude!

Both Paulette and Greg have had their fair share of health problems, but the idea of slowing down, becoming an invalid and losing their independence has never occurred to them. They have both worked extremely hard all their lives, but consider that ninety is far too young to start slowing down.

Now it occurs to me that one of the real bonuses of living in a small community is that you get to see how how people like Greg and Paulette deal with life, and you can draw inspiration from their wonderful example.

They are truly "National Treasures."


Anonymous said...

I had a grandmother who was very active up until the end and I'm a firm believer that being active leads to a longer full-filled life.

I think you're right about the smaller community and getting to know people as well. I've seen that in the churches I've attended. The people are more close-knit in a smaller church whereas you get lost in a bigger one and don't really get to know everyone.

marilyn said...

Hi Mary,

I'm sure you don't remember me, but you were kind enough to provide a great deal of information about making a fabric book when I questioned you a year or so ago. I did complete the book, and I'm quite happy with it, though it's not nearly as beautiful as yours.

I wanted to tell you once again how much I enjoy your blog. It's so beautifully written, and I so enjoy seeing all the photos. How lucky you are to live in such a wonderful place!

Thanks again, Mary.

With warmest regards,
Marilyn Lynch
Lincoln, RI (formerly Riverdale, NJ)

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