It was on a Saturday night, when she was aged 14 and playing Postman’s Knock at a friend’s house when she had her first kiss.
“I can’t remember the boy, but it was good if you got a boy you liked. But if it wasn’t, then it wasn’t so good,” recalls the 103-year-old when interviewed in early 2013.
Mary, a former book keeper and mother of two, is a member of a prestigious, yet no longer so exclusive society:
the Century Club. According to United Nation estimates, there are currently around 343,000 centenarians worldwide, and by 2050 this figure is likely to increase ten-fold to 3.2 million. In fact, this is becoming the fastest-growing demographic in much of the developed world thanks to the aging baby-boomer generation.
For example, in the UK in 1917,
only 24 people received congratulatory messages from King George V on reaching their 100th birthday. In 1952, 255 centenarians received a congratulatory message, but in 2011, the secretary of Queen Elizabeth II sent out 9736 such wishes. By 2050, the secretary could suffer writer’s cramp as there are expected to be more than 82,000 people aged 100+ in the United Kingdom alone. However, according to experts, Japan will remain the nation with the most centenarians: in 2050; around one percent of its total population will be 100 or older.
As part of an occasional video series, PROJECT M is interviewing members of the Century Club to record brief vignettes of their lives and memories.
“Skype is what has got me”
Mary, who grew up in an outer suburb of an Australian city, keeps herself mentally alert by doing crossword puzzles and quizzes. She is still active and living independently having a full program of events involving her 12 grandchildren and, in September 2013, 29 great grandchildren. “Skype is what has got me,” she says in the brief interview when asked about the most dramatic changes she has witnessed during her life. “You get to see people in their loungeroom in another country and talk to them. I think that is just marvelous.”
Remember your first kiss?