Marie Roberts, a resident of Rand Aid Ron Smith Care Centre celebrated her 99th birthday on August, 27. Her birthday came as a blessing after she contracted COVID-19 not just once but twice.
According to Rand Aid, “Aunty Marie” as she is fondly called at RSCC, contracted COVID-19 in the first and third wave, and is now renowned at the care centre as a “very strong lady who sailed through her second infection.”
“She didn’t have many symptoms during her second infection,” says Leanie Bessinger, charge professional nurse at RSCC. Marie contracted COVID-19 before she was vaccinated, but has received her first vaccination since, with her second shot due in September.
“Her love of music carried her through, the first and second time. She had her small radio with her and entertained us in the isolation unit with her music every day. Aunty Marie has a very positive outlook on life and a very sharp sense of humour, which both helped her through her Covid-19 experience,” she adds.
Marie was born in the one-horse town of De Putten near Zeerust in 1922.
“My father was a school teacher who came to South Africa from Scotland. I grew up with six sisters and two brothers and attended a farm school for the first 10 years of my life – which is where I learnt to speak Tswana. We used to go to school on a donkey cart,” says Marie.
“During the depression in 1932, we moved to Johannesburg where I attended Commercial High School. My first job was working for Roistone Motors,” she adds.
Marie met the love of her life, Lawrence, at a local roller rink in Malvern. “When he came swooping up behind me and whisked me around the rink a few times, I was smitten. We married shortly afterwards, when I was 19, and were married for almost 72 wonderful years. He died in November 2013, and I still miss him very much,” she says.
Marie and Lawrence had two sons, William and John, seven grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. “I am most proud of the fact that after retiring as a company secretary for an oil company, for which I worked for 25 years, I raised a second family – including my two young grandchildren who lived with us for 15 years. I am so proud of how they turned out,” says Marie.
“Lawrence and I shared a love of music. I used to play classical and jazz on our baby grand piano, and he used to play the drums in a band. I can sit and listen to music for hours,” she adds.
Her favourite colours are blue and pink, Marie loves dark red rose and her puddings are her life – especially bread, sago and fruit salad.
“My faith is very important to me. I have been very blessed to be part of a big, loving family and to have always had sisters to be my friends,” she says.
Picture: Facebook / Aggie Hatrick / Rand Aid Association