Walking to 100

Pinelands resident, Pearl Brand, will celebrate her 100th birthday on Friday September 22.

Still wearing short heels with her legs crossed at the ankles, she sits poised in the sun room at Brown and Annie Lawrence Home in Pinelands.

She mulls over Scrabble pieces while a caged parrot caws at her shoulder. Ms Brand will be turning 100 this month and she is still as sharp as ever, although she admits her memory is not what it used to be. But she still has her health and plenty enthusiasm for her favourite activity: walking.

“I don’t smoke and I don’t drink, but I like my chocolates,” she chuckles.

She says she has walking to thank for her clean bill of health today.

She spent her youth walking to where she needed to be and she has never driven a car.

“She walked all the way from Plumstead to Hout Bay when she was young and up until last year, she would spend most days walking with her sister,” says Ursula Laverty, Ms Brand’s daughter.

“When my stepdad was alive, she said she couldn’t wait for him; she would be up and to the stores and back before he was ready.”

Although Ms Brand could not recall much about her youth, her daughter said her aunt would tell her about the early days when she and her mother were young during World War II, when the ships would come in with the soldiers and their parents would entertain them because they were far from their family.

“My aunt would say that there were always guys to dance with. My mother had three brothers and they were three sisters. She would go out with her sister every weekend till last year when her sister passed on.

“In her mid-70s she still wore high-heel shoes, very elegant. She was an auburn head, so she had a fiery personality. She was never demanding and always pleasant, happy and smiling. All she ever wanted to do is give, she never took,” said Ms Laverty.

Although, she is close to making it all the way to 100, Ms Brand feels that it’s just another day. However, her daughter and their family as well as Brown and Annie Lawrence Home staff plan to celebrate her day with lots of cake.