Kelly, Martha

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                                          Keep Fit By Hard Work – And Live to be 99
                                                       By Bonnie Sweeney


“If you want to live to an old age, keep yourself fit by working hard,” Says Martha Kelly of McFarlane Street, Chatham Head. She should know – she celebrated her 99th birthday on Tuesday. Still active around the house, she admits she doesn’t get out walking as much as she had. However, on occasion she and friend Ricky, age 4, take walks together.

Most of her time now is spent with Ricky whom she “can’t stand to be away from very long.” “Children are good company, I enjoy being with him and I know he enjoys spending time with me.” she says.

The Chatham Head woman resides with Clara and Ricky, but was born in Derby.

                                                        Enjoyed Farm-work

She worked hard during her lifetime, doing housework for other people but enjoyed looking after animals and doing barn work best. “There were good times and bad times in my life,” she said and in a quivering voice told of the death of her father, mother, three brothers and three sisters, only one member of her immediate family remains alive, a sister Emily, who resides in Boisetown, the baby of the family.

“I recall my father (Patrick) coming to me one morning and telling me not to bother watering the horses that he was going on the “drive” and would do it himself. He was killed on that drive a few hours later.” Both Martha’s parents had died and her sisters and brothers had moved away while living in Derby.

“It was hard to find a person to stay with me as there wasn’t much excitement there in those days. I took in Charlie ____, who also lived in Derby and brought him up. About 30 years ago I moved to Chatham Head and now reside with Charlie’s daughter, Clara.” Martha has walked with a cane since she was seven. It was at this age she and her younger sister Emily were playing ‘horse’ on the kitchen floor. She injured her kneecap and her left leg never grew from the knee down since that time.

“While growing up and before I lost my leg completely, my big toe could just touch the floor.” After the loss of her left leg, she reverted to using crutches and still does today manoeuvring very well.

How does she plan to celebrate her 100th? “I might not be around by that time but then again no-one likes to talk about passing away.” However, if she lives to be a century old, she guarantees wherever she is, Ricky will not be far away, she says. Hearing this, Ricky plants a birthday kiss on her cheek.


Source: Miramichi Leader – October 01, 1982

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