AMHERST – Kathleen ‘Kay’ Smith may have turned 100 years-recently, but the century old Amherstonian is still sharp as a tack.
“I play bridge (almost) every week,” she said. “I’m not as lucky as some of the other girls but (I win) once in a while. It’s a wonderful game. I love it.”
Her daughter Margaret was quick to add that even when schools were closed due to the weather, her mother and her card playing friends would still meet up to play cards, most times anyways.
Smith was born the year before the First World War. One of her earliest memories, she said, was from when she was six-years-old, not long after the First World War had ended.
“I remember, it’s one of the first things I can remember, standing on the table and there was going to be a concert and they wanted me to sing,” she said. “I stood on the table with a flag in my hand and sang ‘We’ll never let the old flag fall.’”
During the Second World War, Smith said Amherst was busy, sending their boys overseas and the women working to provide for their families and working on the home front.
“It was a busy, busy time,” she said. “I worked and did the best I could at the IODE and my hubby went overseas while I stayed here and looked after my little girl.”
After the war, Smith also helped re-establish the Girl Guides program. She said with the war going on, it was hard to keep it going but with a little help from some other local ladies, Smith managed to bring it back.
“I didn’t realize how much it took to become a Guide leader,” she said. “I just thought we looked after the kids and played games with them. But there was a real program and I was given a book of the rules and regulations. I took the course and I loved it.”
Smith said she still belongs to the Girl Guides as a Trefoil Guild, a Guider, either active or retired, who is over 30 years of age who wants to remain associated with the program. To this day, she can still recite songs she taught her Brownies, songs she learned while in school of course.
Smith’s children may be all grown up with children and grand children of their own, but she said her children still obey their mother.
“She said to me a mother can always tell you what to do and when to do it,” said her daughter. “You’re always her child so you more or less have to get used it. It’s a mother right.”
“A mother gives them life so if they’re still around, they get to tell them,” added Smith.
Turning a century old wasn’t the only accomplishment Smith has made recently. Smith was one of the ones honoured at a reception in Fox Harbour when she was presented with the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal.
Because of the last weekend’s storm, Smith had to cancel the party her family had planned for her. She said she had relatives come to visit from Ottawa, Maryland and Atlanta. Rescheduling may have to wait until warmer weather rolls in.
“We were talking today about whether we’d bother getting the ladies down to the shore, rent a hall and have the party or what we would do,” said Smith. “I look forward to maybe doing that and seeing my friends again. I haven’t seen them in a few weeks now because of the weather.”
Some may wonder what Smith’s secret is to reaching such a prestigious milestone and no one said it better than the lady herself.
“I just grew,” she said. “I just loved everything that I did.”