Monday, April 22, 2024

100 years and full circle for Pera Evelyn Vine

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Pera Vine has just celebrated her 100th birthday.

Pera Evelyn Vine (nee Yelcich) turned 100 years old on February 21.

She was born at Waiuku Hospital. Her parents separated 18 months later after her sister Colleen was born.

Colleen will be 99 this year. Ninety-six years ago the world was a different place with not a lot of help on offer for a single working mother with two girls to support.

Pera’s mother decided to place the girls in Star of The Sea, a Catholic Orphanage in Granger Road that had been built a few years previously, so that she could work.

Pera was only four-years-old at this time but still recalls the sisters taking her down the track to Howick Beach and her doll being broken by the older girls.

The two sisters were moved to St Michaels, a Catholic Convent in Rotorua, for a further nine years.

Her mother then remarried a farmer from Te Aroha and the girls finished their education at the local high school.

Her father, a Croatian gum digger, passed away from tuberculosis when she was 12. She only met him twice.

During World War II, the two girls moved back to Auckland, living above a dairy in Customs Street with a relative. They then moved to another aunt’s home before flatting together.

While working as a machinist making powder puffs, she met her future husband at a dance at the Orange Dance Hall in Newton Road.

She and Lewis Vine were engaged after eight weeks and married after six months. She said her wedding day was the best day of her life.

Together they had five children and lived in the Blockhouse Bay area. She has nine grandchildren and many great grandchildren.

Pera played golf and bowls and spent a lot of time in her garden and the gardens at Blockhouse Bay Bowls Club.

She attributes her long life to keeping active, not smoking, eating good food and not too much alcohol.

When her husband died, Pera bought a three-storey house at 86-years-old and began refurbishing it.

Then she landscaped it herself, carrying pavers and stones at the age of 90 and firewood up from the garage every day in winter.

After 10 years in the house, Pera moved into a Ryman Village in Lynfield, taking most of her garden with her in 50 pots for her deck.

Pera stopped driving a few years ago and three of her five children have left Auckland.

It was decided it might be best that she moved closer to her son in the Howick area.

In October last year Pera came back to Howick, 96 years later she’s gone full circle.

She now resides at Rymans Bruce McLaren Village where she celebrated her 100th birthday.

Her younger sister Colleen is in Blockhouse Bay and turns 100 next year. The girls have always stayed very close.

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