You would think it was the Queen of England coming out to lunch, quips Evelyn Elizabeth Robertson with a twinkle in her eyes.
Betty, as she is known to her family, has turned 90 and is a bit amused with her daughter Jan Botherway who is running around to organise a high tea birthday celebration for more than 110 people at Our Lady Star of the Sea School.
Five generations of Betty’s family have attended the school which was then at a different location at Granger Rd, Cockle Bay.
“Wonder what my children are going to do for my 100th birthday? They may have to go through a lot more trouble to make it grander,” she says.
So what is she going to wear at the birthday party?
“A garter and a smile,” she jokes.
Her daughter promptly brings out a well-cut jacket and skirt that the birthday girl with 18 grandchildren and 16 great grand-children is going to wear on the big day.
Mother of Stephen, Denise, Jan, Allan, Grant and Peter, Betty says she is bossed around by family and is fortunate to have them around to help at all times.
Till recently she was actively involved with the Catholic Women’s League church group raising money, sending food packets to the islands and catering for funerals.
Betty says her then future husband Roy bought the house (which sits behind her current home) when they were engaged.
“When he came home (he was in the J Force), he bought the property next to the church. He organised to buy a section before he asked for my hand in marriage,” she recalls.
“He saw me crossing the road and fell in love with me. I used to work at Rishworth, the haberdashery shop on Picton Street and he came there on the pretext of buying a baby dress for his niece. It was just an excuse to see me,” she smiles.
The nonagenarian recalls that in those days no one had any money and all men helped each other to build a house.
“Everyone was poor in Howick. Our house was the first to be built on the street,” she says.
“My birthday is historically in Howick. It’s wonderful that my family has grown up in Howick and my great grandmother Margaret Smyth lived in Howick all her life.”
Her daughter Jan says that after the high tea with family and friends they continued the party at Howick Club.
“Then mum came home and we stayed up till 3am reading all her beautiful cards. She has been inundated with visitors since.”
Happy Birthday Betty!