© Guardian photo
Margaret Shaw turns 106 on April 1, 2014.
Margaret Shaw has fond memories from long life
Margaret Shaw, a resident of the P.E.I. Atlantic Baptist Nursing Home in Charlottetown, is celebrating her 106th birthday today. Here are some interesting firsts that happened in 1908, the year Shaw was born:
— First time the ball signifying New Year dropped at Times Square.
— First passenger flight in an airplane.
— First horror movie (Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde) premiers in Chicago.
— Henry Ford’s company builds the first Model T car.
— The first beauty contest is held in Folkestone, England
Margaret Shaw chalks up her longevity to clean living.
“Because I was so good,’’ says Shaw when asked what has been key to her reaching the attention grabbing age of 106. Her birthday is today.
“I didn’t smoke. I didn’t drink.’’
Shaw, who never had a serious illness at any time in her life, also believes she did well by living on a farm.
She grew up on one in Appin Road before going on to marrying a farmer.
“Farm life is a good life — a good, healthy life, I guess,’’ she says.
Shaw, who milked more than her share of cows, smiled at the recollection of the animals wrapping their wet tails around her neck.
She was the oldest of five children. One sister died at age nine of rheumatic fever, but Shaw did not say goodbye to her last sibling until 2011 when Annie Matheson passed away at the age of 95.
Shaw’s two children — Anita Smith and James Shaw — are both still living. She has four living grandchildren (she has survived two) and six great-grandchildren.
Shaw lived with her daughter and her son-in-law for 25 years before moving into the P.E.I. Atlantic Baptist Nursing Home in Charlottetown in 2013.
Shaw, who was born in 1908 — the same year that saw the first passenger flight — has gone her entire life without ever flying in a plane.
“No, the ground held me,’’ she says, a sharp wit still well intact.
Many years ago, she did travel with her late husband across the country to British Columbia. She also ventured to New Hampshire as a passenger in a car.
For the most part, though, she remained well rooted in Prince Edward Island, a province she lovingly describes as “one of the best’’ places in which to live.
Knitting has been a lifetime passion for Shaw, who left school at an early age to help tend the farm. She started at age five and still works the needles today but “not too much’’. She once won first prize at the provincial exhibition for a bed spread that she knitted.
The best prize she ever nabbed, though, was a man named Archie Shaw, who she recalls fondly as a wonderful husband who was simply one of the best.
“He says 'I’m yours and you're mine until death parts us.’’’
She has, to date, outlived the love of her life by 43 years.
A life-long Liberal supporter, Shaw has voted in every provincial and federal election for more than eight decades.
After quipping that embattled P.E.I. Senator Mike Duffy is the best politician ever, she turned serious in declaring Alex Campbell the best premier of Prince Edward Island under her lengthy political watch.
Shaw usually has breakfast in bed at about 8:30 in the morning before getting into her wheelchair to make her rounds.
She welcomes each additional year, but laments the fact that she was born on April 1, noting that during her school days “everybody was trying to April fool me".