100th birthday brings back memories

Windsor Park rest-home resident Molly Hobcraft with sons Brian (left) and Michael Hobcraft...
Windsor Park rest-home resident Molly Hobcraft with sons Brian (left) and Michael Hobcraft celebrate her 100th birthday.
When Molly Hobcraft was growing up it was a very different world; it was a world of Model T Fords, radios and leaving school at the age of 13.

The Windsor Park rest-home resident recalled memories of her school days and early life as she celebrated her 100th birthday yesterday surrounded by her family. One of the highlights was receiving a message from the Queen.

Mrs Hobcraft was born at Lowburn in Canterbury into a farming family and the farm was the scene of her first driving lesson. Her father owned a Model T Ford, the vehicle also sharing her birth year of 1908.

‘‘Women weren't allowed to drive in my day, I used to get in [the Model T] and have a drive around the farm,'' Mrs Hobcraft said.

When recalling her school days she told a tale involving discipline. ‘‘If I didn't hang my schoolbag up properly I got a smack,'' she said.

She started her schooling at Lowburn and finished it at Waimate. Her schooling was cut short when her mother needed her help to run a boarding house. She left school at the age of 13.

Recently Mrs Hobcraft met with one of her old school friends, also 100, who is a resident at a resthome in Winton. Even though the pair hadn't caught up since they were 13, the memories flowed.

The recollection of a fairy tale romance brought a smile to Mrs Hobcraft's face. She was a frequent attendee at dances and had seen a young man at those dances, but when she left the district to work at Roxburgh she lost contact.

That dashing young man looked for her for a long time and his persistence was eventually rewarded.Mrs Hobcraft attended a dance at the Dunedin Town Hall and ‘‘he walked in''.

That young man was Samuel Hobcraft and became her husband - a marriage that spanned 68 years and produced two sons and two daughters.

Samuel was a railway worker and the family moved around quite a lot, living in the Ida Valley, Millers Flat, Christchurch and Dunedin.

Mrs Hobcraft was a bowler of note and her son Brian said his mother bagged many prizes through her bowling expertise.

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