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Active Retirees : Active Retirees Feb-March 2012
Active RetireesTM | 51 MeMber profile What’s your secret to youth? I do a lot of cryptic crosswords, read a lot, exercise every day and have an extensive social life. I’m interested in people and I just don’t believe in getting old. It’s really just a matter of your attitude to life. It’s easy to sit down and feel sorry for yourself – especially when my husband died eight years ago. That takes a little bit to get over, but we do, and everybody moves on. Why did you join your local Probus club? I’m now in Queensland because my son, his children and my eight great- grandchildren are here. My husband was a member of the East Gosford Club so we went to all the social functions. When I came up here I decided that I needed to know a few people so I joined the Redlands Probus Club – they’re lovely ladies and very welcoming. We go on bus trips and have interesting speakers. What do you remember most about growing up in the Depression and war years? During the Depression we delighted in hand-me-downs from siblings and numerous cousins. We had one pair of shoes each that my father mended badly, and we always seemed to have holes in our feet from rejecting nails. In spite of all that, we had a delightful childhood. My brother made a lot of our toys and I’ll never forget the thrill of racing down our street in a homemade billycart. Our games were only limited by our imaginations. During the war I worked for the department of aircraft production at Mascot, probably motivated by the fact that I had recently lost the man I hoped to marry in a bombing raid over Germany. On the bright side, I met my husband Noel there. And your own family? Noel was a well-known singer and used to sing with Joan Sutherland. Covent Garden offered him a contract to sing overseas but it would have meant singing opera which wasn’t his chosen love. He preferred to be in Australia, but was still away for months at a time. I had to bring up two children in the meantime, and made a life of my own. I had studied art at night when I left school and always knew it was my chosen occupation, so I studied at the Royal Art Society and became a successful artist. My first love is oils and painting landscapes. My paintings are in collections worldwide and I had the honour of one being presented to then-Governor -General Sir Zelman Cowen. My husband died at the age of 78, on stage and ready to sing. It was very dramatic, just as he was in life. He was a lovely man and we were very proud of each other’s achievements. I have a very interesting life, and never consider age a factor. It’s how and what you are that matter. •• Redlands Probus Club member and prolific artist Jean Melvin talks to Ali Klaver about painting, singing, her family and her secret youth elixir. The art of staying young WendyChung
Active Retirees Dec-Jan 2012
Active Retirees April-May 2012