Two Victoria women reminisced on a century of living from their home at The Wellesley.
Speaking to a room of their peers who were eager to learn their secrets to longevity and celebrate their age on Nov. 10, Eula Johnson and Eleanor Pattison shared their experiences as centenarians.
At 105, Johnson credited her age to exercise and a focus on wellness, as well as moderation with all things.
Both women spoke of their passions for physical activities and sports, including everything from bowling and golf, to basketball and baseball, even just going for frequent walks.
“I walked everywhere – one man on the road told me I was going to wear the road out,” Johnson said.
Both women are still quite active, with Johnson exercising daily and 103-year-old Pattison walking every day with her good friend, who also happened to live until she was 100.
Along with staying active, another common thread that weaves the two women together is their preference to go with the flow, rather than plan their lives out.
Neither had any particular goal of being in a specific occupation and instead opted for the opportunities that came their way. Johnson was a typist for the majority of her life, while Pattison was a call operator. Taking care of themselves and their families, however, topped both of their lists.
Spontaneity and adventure also connected both women with their husbands.
Johnson couldn’t recall exactly how she and her husband became a couple or why she chose him over her other boyfriends, of which she had many.
As for how Pattison decided her husband was special enough to marry?
“He asked me, I guess.”
Johnson and Pattison have lived at The Wellesley for nearly nine years and in their time at the home have seen friends come and go, but still credit the people as being the best thing about living there.
As with life, bad times accompany the good.
As for the downsides of living for over 100 years, the two spoke of the difficulties of being without those they loved.
“I was 94 when I came here,” Johnson said. “I can’t say one favorite thing about it, but I just enjoy being here. The people were great, but they’re nearly all gone.”
For what helped them get through the tough moments in their lives – from the depression to the COVID-19 pandemic – the duo had different answers based on their different experiences.
Pattison, whose husband died quite early in their marriage, which propelled her into life as a single parent said simply, “guts, I guess,” as if pure nerve catapulted her to 103 years old.
For Johnson, it was the people she met along the way that kept her grounded and focused.
Of course, the lows in life are defined by the highs and luckily, both women had to search their minds to come up with just one unforgettable moment.
“Just getting through life, I guess, is one of the best things,” Pattison said.
While the ordinary day-to-day of life seemed to be what they treasured the most, both women agreed they had very clear memories of the moment they heard of the end of the Second World War.
“I was having a baby,” Johnson recalled. “It was a great feeling when the war was over. We had lost an awful lot of people in our town.”
Pattison, as well, expressed her relief that most of the boys she knew returned and paused to reflect on the ones who didn’t.
From getting married – which both women agreed was “so-so” – to having children (and finding a good babysitter for them), Johnson and Pattison sifted through their enumerable memories to find a nugget of wisdom they could pass down to other generations.
“The most important thing I learned from life? I’d tell them to do what they’re doing – they’re doing fine,” Pattison said.
As for what attributes these two women have developed through their time on this Earth, they can be credited with incredible senses of humor and gumption.
When asked what the title of the book of their lives would be, Pattison said “Goodness Knows” while her friends from the audience chimed in “Eleanore: A survivor”
As for Johnson, her book would be titled “Go for it.”