Friday, September 24, 2010

The Oldest Woman in UK Rebecca Hewinson

Rebecca Hewinson 1947 with Andrew & Janette Miller(with bows)
 Rebecca Hewinson

The oldest man in the world has celebrated his 114th birthday with a slice of cake and few pearls of wisdom.

Just as in society at large women live longer than men, Mr Breuning is actually the fourth oldest person in the world, behind three women.The oldest lady in the world is Eugénie Blanchard from France, born on February 16, 1896.
Daily Mail

If I had only one claim to fame, not that I have any others other than being infuriating it would be that I lived next door to one of the oldest women who ever lived, Rebecca Hewinson, Nana, who lived at 50 St Andrews Drive Stanmore Middx.

This remarkable woman lived just ten days short of her 115th birthday. She outlived her daughter and her son in law and eventually died of old age in her home town of Grimsby.

There was nothing especially different about Nana except that she was a very hard worker, a scrubber in fact and I do not mean this is a derogatory sense. Nana knew how to clean a house. She lived with her daughter Violet and her husband Charles all her life and did everything!

When they Kett family eventually moved to Devon in the 1970s I remember I asked if Nana was still alive and Charles nodded and looked me in the eye. Charles never knew a day alone in the house with his wife. Nana was always there which was a 'good thing' for her daughter was not very strong.

I discovered that in her youth in Grimbsy Nana had worked on the docks gutting fish. This probably was why she was in such robust health. I have some sympathy for Nana because my own great grandmother was a fish wife, Granny Annie owned and ran the fishmongers in Glasgow and was renowned for the loudness of her voice and strong working class opinions that it appears I have inherited.

Every morning as I went to school  Nana would wash the doorstep  and she didn't stop until after dark. Starched sheets for the entire  family once a week before the days of washing machines and dryers. Nana had two grandsons David and Andrew who was one of my early playmates. Andrew taught me about sex at the age of six and I, a good convent school girl, didn't believe him. Nana also took me to Sunday School CofE, where I had to learn not to genuflect or cross myself. I never worked out the difference for years.

I  spoke to her every day of the eighteen years that I lived in that horrible semi detached. The Ketts hated semi living too. Like my Fishwife granny, I  and the Ketts were determined to move up, anywhere in fact than St Andrews Drive. The Ketts moved out first. The sad thing is after all that time 18 years, they left without a goodbye. I never saw or spoke to Nana again and now she is famous. Pictures in the Media every year and I expect a Times Obituary.

I loved her. Nana knew all about hard work. She deserved moment of fame.
Charles Kett, unknown, Rebecca Hewinson, Violet Kett.

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