“I know I will have a wonderful birthday today. It will be an extra, extra special one.”
A very special Kimberley lady, “Ouma” Meta Reed, is celebrating a milestone very few people ever achieve. Born on the 13/03/1913, Mrs Reed turns 106 years old today.
The still sprightly centenarian was born in Kimberley in 19 Compton Street, De Beers, the eldest of the 10 children of Thomas Peter Martin Reed and his wife Maria Elizabeth.
Speaking from Belgrave Lodge where she now lives, Mrs Reed said it had always been her life-long ambition to be a music teacher or school teacher.
“But as the eldest of 10 children that was not to be,” she said and instead as a 16-year-old, she started working at the Parkview Hotel in Kimberley.
“It wasn’t nice because it was never my dream,” she remembered yesterday.
Mrs Reed and her husband, Alan Michael, who was also a Kimberley lad, lived for many years at 8 Halkett Road before they were “put out of our home” under the Apartheid’s Group Areas Act.
The couple spent 16 years in the Cape, before coming back to Kimberley.
Mrs Reed’s two children, Derrick and Alan, also still live in Kimberley.
“My husband passed away 15 years ago. He was my first and only but I did have lots of boyfriends when I was young,” she says with a twinkle in her eye.
Asked about her memories of the days gone by, Mrs Reed said she remembers “too much about the war years but that is something I don’t want to remember”.
Today, however, she is happy. “I am so happy here at Belgrave Lodge. Here it feels like my second home. It suits my lifestyle. I have been happy since the day I arrived here.”
Even the food got a thumbs up. “This is homemade food – the type of food I cooked in my own home.”
As for her plans for her big day today, Mrs Reed was happy to take the day as it comes. “I don’t know what I am going to do. I am going to sit in my chair what must I do? It is just another day.”
She has, however, ordered a lemon meringue, her favourite dessert, to celebrate her birthday. “I know I will have a wonderful birthday today. It will be an extra, extra special one.”
Asked to share her secret to a long and healthy life, Mrs Reed had a few sage words of advice. “I have been through so many hard and difficult times. Sometimes I sit here and wonder why the Lord has kept me for so long. There must be a reason. When I hear people speaking about things, I realise that life for me has been totally different. I think I was something special.”
Despite being in the retirement facility, Mrs Reed still does everything for herself. “It’s just these two pillars (referring to her legs) that are tired. They have travelled a long journey and they need to rest now.”- Staff Reporter