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Monday, 16 October 2017

A wonderful century of living

“She’s a wild one, this one.” New centenarian Dorothy ‘Dot’ Volk replied to son Robert with gleaming eyes and a cheeky grin: “If you say so”.

Rob, his brother Brian, other family members and friends joined Dot at Parkglen Retirement Community in Keysborough on Wednesday 6 September to celebrate her 100th birthday. She requested a dancing-themed afternoon tea and put on a song and dance for her guests. “I used to go dancing quite a lot,” she told the Journal. “I used to go Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays and sometimes Sundays as well.” It was at a dance in Highett that she met her husband John, known as Jack. “We used to dance together a lot,” she said. “We both loved dancing.”

Dot grew up in Hampton and before meeting John worked as a seamstress at Myer on the fifth floor. They raised their family in Cheltenham. “I have a wonderful family,” she said. “They’re the best.” John died about 30 years ago, and Dot moved into Parkglen. She spent 15 years in an independent unit before transferring into the assisted care area. There she met Arthur and then David. Her sons joked that “she had all these blokes” and had outlasted them all. Dot laughed. “I’ve had some nice friends,” she said.

During her century of life she successfully battled both bowel cancer and tuberculosis. Sewing, netball, golf and dancing have been her passions. “I’ve looked after myself,” she said. One key to long life is “being happy all the time and smiling”. Brian said his mum only got her driver’s licence at age 62, though hit the road in secret for many years before. She held a licence until 2015. “She used to pinch the car and go out driving in it without my father knowing,” Brian laughed. “It’s really terrific to think that somebody’s got to this age. It’s absolutely marvellous.” Rob relayed a tale of his mother’s driving, describing the day he was waiting for her outside her unit. “She went to swing into the garage but I’m standing there, she drives straight at me,” he said. “I said ’sh*t mum, what are you doing!?’ and she said ’the sun was in my eyes’. “She nearly took me out. She knocked the whole letter box down.”

Parkglen CEO Kerrie Lavery said it was wonderful to be able to celebrate such a milestone with Dot and her family and friends. “She’s got a fabulous sense of humour that keeps her young at heart,” she said. Dot has five grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.

By Casey Neil, from the Dandenong Journal

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