90-YEAR partnership still going

2015-06-17 06:00
Twins Memie Woodhead and Lily Glen celebrated their 90th birthday on Monday, 8 June.PHOTO: Tania Sandberg

Twins Memie Woodhead and Lily Glen celebrated their 90th birthday on Monday, 8 June.PHOTO: Tania Sandberg

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TWINS Memie Woodhead and Lily Glen celebrated their 90th birthday on Monday, 8 June. Memie’s advice to those who want to retain their youth is “have faith, stay positive and when you feel ill, don’t mull on it”. Lily said that they have been blessed with good health, but said their longevity is due to their positive outlook in life.

The sisters say they had an active life when they were younger, roller-blading, ice-skating and riding bicycle. They painted rooms in their homes and Lily used to mow the lawn so her husband “could play bowls on the weekend”.

The sisters stay in separate units in Pointsettia Park and still do their own washing and cooking. Memie loves sewing, making crafts and reupholstering, while Lily loves knitting.

“I have been knitting since I was eight. I still knit every day for the Sailors’ Society,” said Lily.

Born in Lenfrew, Scotland, Memie immigrated to South Africa in 1948 and Lily followed two years later. Both originally settled in the former Transvaal. The sisters were always close and used to meet once a month in Johannesburg. They staggered their holidays to make sure they spent time together.

“It was easy for me because I was a housewife with three children, while Memie worked as a secretary,” Lily said.

Memie met her husband at the age of 21, while Lily met Jimmy at the age of 17. “We courted for two years and then got engaged. We would have gotten married had my mom not said she won’t give me a 21st party. So I had my 21st and my wedding in the same year,” Lily said.

They started school at the age of four and a half because her mom “could not put up with them”. Their mother, a widow at 29, bought up the twins and their two siblings by doing sewing during the war years.

“We had a tough life. I recall we joined a queue to receive rations. We never knew what we would receive that day, sometimes it was cigarettes. Because we did not smoke we would sell them to others at the end of the queue. But one day there were eggs at the church fête, so Lily’s husband went to collect the eggs. When I got to the front of the queue, they would not give them to me because they said my husband had already collected them,” Memie recalled.

Memie came to Amanzimtoti 1969 and Lily in 1989, and they are still best friends. “The secret is to live life every day as if it was your last.” Memie said.


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