Marian Clark has seen and experienced a lot in a century of life.
The resident of the Langham Senior Citizens Care Home turned 100 years old on August 7. A birthday celebration in her honour was held at the home on August 10.
What’s the secret to her long life?
“It’s simple. Just keep on living and breathing,” said Clark in an interview at her residence. “And have a good ‘home base’ with a nice family.”
Aside from a little trouble with her hearing and some mobility issues, Clark’s health is good, and her wit remains as sharp as ever. She was always physically active her whole life, taking long walks, and for many years was a competitive bowler.
But it’s only recently that she’s had to give up her favourite pastimes: eating out at restaurants and travelling by taxicab.
Born on a small farm near Netherhill, just east of Kindersley in 1917, Clark’s family moved to Saskatoon in the early 1920s, just when she was about to begin Grade 1.
She went to Westmount School and later Bedford Road Collegiate before embarking on a career as a secretary. She worked for a law firm and a real estate agency in Saskatoon, but also did a tour of duty in Washington, DC during the Second World War years.
“I knew I didn’t want to be a farmer, that’s for sure,” said Clark. “I remember when I was very young, my mother sent me to the butcher shop to buy some meat. They had an adding machine in the shop, and I saw that and I knew I wanted to work on some kind of a machine like that when I grew up.”
Clark’s mother owned a boarding house on Avenue A (now Idylwyld Drive) in Saskatoon, and among her boarders was a young lad named Harry Bailey. Bailey was a legendary competitive swimmer who was later inducted into the city and provincial sports halls of fame, as well as the Canadian Aquatic Hall of Fame. The Harry Bailey Aquatic Centre, built in 1976, is close to where the boarding house stood.
“Harry was a nice boy,” said Clark.
She saw a lot of changes in Saskatoon during the 95 years she lived in the city, but always felt it was home.
“I loved Saskatoon,” she said. “I was lucky. I got to travel a lot and I had a good career, and I always had a loving family.”
While she did get married and had two step-children, she never had children herself.
“I love children, but I didn’t want to raise them myself,” she said. “I don’t know if I should admit it or not, but it’s the honest truth.”
She is satisfied with her accommodations at the Langham care home, although admits she was sad to leave Saskatoon. She considers her niece’s family as her ‘home base’.
“I’ve had a good life,” she said. “I have a good family. Not everyone can say that.”