‘I went through the thick and thin of life’

Doris Kallend makes a wish before cutting her birthday cake.

At 100 years old, Doris Kallend, formerly of Edgemead, has lived a life filled with gratitude, love and a touch of humour, say her family.

Born Doris Moore on October 6 1920, she grew up in Plumstead, where she lived most of her life with her late husband, Harry Kallend.

Last month, she became a greatgrandmother for the ninth time, and last year she became a greatgreat-grandmother for the first time, to Jackson Bennett, born in Australia.

Doris’s four daughters celebrated her birthday with her.

She spends her golden years at a frail-care facility in Welgelegen.

Due to Covid-19 restrictions, her family spread her birthday celebrations over a few weeks.

Her party on Tuesday October 6, with a cake that had “Doris 100” piped on in icing, was followed by another party, and more cake, on Wednesday October 28.

Doris chatted away as her eldest daughter, Dorothy Klopper, placed a pink tiara on her head.

“When I reached 90, I thought, ‘God, I’m 90.’ I couldn’t believe it. Now I’m 100. I went through the thick and thin of life, and here I am,” she says.

Picking through her presents, she is delighted by a gift bag filled with hand creams, bathing goodies and talc. “I like nice hands. I’ve always been fussy about my hands and my face, and I’ve been using creams since I was young.”

She surveys the table and asks if there are any sweets. She must have a sweet to suck on before bedtime, she says, and calls it a “bad habit” she’s had for years.

Doris is the oldest resident at the frail care and the first in her family to reach this milestone.

Lockdown restrictions have confined her to the home, and she misses going to the shops, she says.

When she was young, she enjoyed going dancing with her husband and remembers dancing nights at the Blue Moon Hotel in Lakeside.

A true testament to her age is her favourite actor, Gene Autry, “the singing cowboy”, who gained fame in the early 1930s.

Although her memory is touch and go, on a good day she can astound her family with her recollections of the past.

On Wednesday she recited her daughter, Brenda’s address, a place she has not visited in 20 years.

“The doctor said to me, ‘Where do you come from, living for so many years?’ I said, ‘The same place you came from,’” she jokes.

Her granddaughter, Mandy da Matta, says she is proud of her witty and highly intelligent grandmother.

Living to such a ripe age has not affected her mischievousness and sense of humour, she says.

When it’s time to cut her birthday cake Doris says: “I made a lovely wish. I want everyone to live in peace and for me to live out the rest of my days in peace until God places his hand on my head and comes to fetch me.”