Myrtle Hodgkin’s 100 years of vivid Mitta memories

MYRTLE Hodgkin was born on the cusp of World War I, long before televisions existed.

The country was still getting used to the idea of Federation.

Mrs Hodgkin, from Mitta, turns 100 today.

“It’s been a long life — it has just skipped,” she said.

“I never thought I’d live to this age.”

The mother, grandmother and great-grandmother was surrounded by almost 50 family and friends in a rotunda at the Grange aged care home in Wodonga yesterday.

There was a table of her most precious things, including a dress she had made for a ball at Mitta when she was 22, little paper certificates that marked the prizes she won for her homemade jam at the Mitta Muster and photographs of the wedding cakes she had made for Mitta’s brides.

Another table was lined with framed notes of congratulations from high-ups, including the Prime Minister Tony Abbott.

“Goodness me,” Mrs Hodgkin said when she heard Mr Abbott had offered his congratulations.

She has had her share of sadness — her husband, Charles, died at 48 of a heart attack and daughter Merrlyn died four years ago from cancer.

Her surviving son Nevis, 70, said his mother had worked hard to raise him and his sister on the family farm after his father’s death.

“She wanted to keep it for me so she battled on,” he said.

“She loved the land and it doesn’t matter what she did, she did it well.”

Mrs Hodgkin, a poetry lover, said she had tried to keep happy no matter what.

She said the secret to her long life could be the early-morning trips to the creek at Mitta when she was young to cart water for her family.

“It must have made me strong,” she said.

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