Top News

Local woman celebrating 107th birthday


TRURO – If someone told you they'd completed high school 40 years ago, you might assume their age is 60 or so.

Jeanette Brown received her high school diploma 43 years ago - when she was 63.

When Brown was born, the First World War was little more than a blip on the global radar. Neither the Titanic nor the Bluenose had sailed and Canadian women had yet to be given the vote.

Brown was born in Truro in 1909. She celebrates her 107th birthday on Thursday.

"I met a lot of people in my life," she said. "I met a lot of good people and I met a lot of bad people, and they all affected me somehow."

One of her earliest memories is of a young man who returned from The Great War. He swore a lot. She didn't think that behaviour was appropriate for such a nice looking man.

When she was five or six years old her family moved to Sydney. She didn't start attending school until she was eight. Although her grandmother felt education wasn't important for girls - because they would "only get married" - Brown was determined to be among the best when it came to earning marks.

"I decided I wasn't going to be third or fourth, I was going to be first or second," she said. "I went through my entire life that way."

She had one teacher who made a big impact on her and is still remembered fondly.

"Muriel was a teacher who was like a breath of fresh air," she recalled. "She took us bathing and picking apples. I loved her. I didn't have a second name so I said my second name was Muriel."

In tribute, she still uses Muriel as her middle name to this day.

Although she doesn't remember any shortages of food or clothing when she was young, toys were a rare commodity. One Christmas, when she was about eight, she received a particular gift that stands out in her memory: a rag doll filled with sawdust.

"It had no arms or legs but I had the best Christmas ever on account of that doll," she said. "I loved it."

Brown left school in her teens but years later, returned to her studies, completing high school at the age of 63.

"I told girls, ‘If I can do it at 63 why can't you at 18?'"

Brown was living in Truro again when she married Charles Paris at the age of 16. By the time she was 19 she was the mother of three children but her marriage ended in divorce.

She lived and worked in the U.S. for awhile, and during the Second World War, was employed in an ammunition factory in Montreal, inspecting casings.

In 1958 she married her second husband, Lewis Brown. She recalls "he wasn't very old" when he died in his eighties, in 2002.

Brown has been living at Wynn Park Villa for the past few years. She feels a healthy diet, going to church and not worrying about what others think have helped her enjoy a long life.

On Thursday, cousins from Boston will join local family members and help her celebrate her birthday by going out to dinner.

lynn.curwin@tc.tc

 

 

Jeanette Brown received her high school diploma 43 years ago - when she was 63.

When Brown was born, the First World War was little more than a blip on the global radar. Neither the Titanic nor the Bluenose had sailed and Canadian women had yet to be given the vote.

Brown was born in Truro in 1909. She celebrates her 107th birthday on Thursday.

"I met a lot of people in my life," she said. "I met a lot of good people and I met a lot of bad people, and they all affected me somehow."

One of her earliest memories is of a young man who returned from The Great War. He swore a lot. She didn't think that behaviour was appropriate for such a nice looking man.

When she was five or six years old her family moved to Sydney. She didn't start attending school until she was eight. Although her grandmother felt education wasn't important for girls - because they would "only get married" - Brown was determined to be among the best when it came to earning marks.

"I decided I wasn't going to be third or fourth, I was going to be first or second," she said. "I went through my entire life that way."

She had one teacher who made a big impact on her and is still remembered fondly.

"Muriel was a teacher who was like a breath of fresh air," she recalled. "She took us bathing and picking apples. I loved her. I didn't have a second name so I said my second name was Muriel."

In tribute, she still uses Muriel as her middle name to this day.

Although she doesn't remember any shortages of food or clothing when she was young, toys were a rare commodity. One Christmas, when she was about eight, she received a particular gift that stands out in her memory: a rag doll filled with sawdust.

"It had no arms or legs but I had the best Christmas ever on account of that doll," she said. "I loved it."

Brown left school in her teens but years later, returned to her studies, completing high school at the age of 63.

"I told girls, ‘If I can do it at 63 why can't you at 18?'"

Brown was living in Truro again when she married Charles Paris at the age of 16. By the time she was 19 she was the mother of three children but her marriage ended in divorce.

She lived and worked in the U.S. for awhile, and during the Second World War, was employed in an ammunition factory in Montreal, inspecting casings.

In 1958 she married her second husband, Lewis Brown. She recalls "he wasn't very old" when he died in his eighties, in 2002.

Brown has been living at Wynn Park Villa for the past few years. She feels a healthy diet, going to church and not worrying about what others think have helped her enjoy a long life.

On Thursday, cousins from Boston will join local family members and help her celebrate her birthday by going out to dinner.

lynn.curwin@tc.tc

 

 

Jeanette Brown will turn 107 on Thursday.

Recent Stories