Jean Dyet: A life well lived
Jean Dyet lives at the Carinity Cedarbrook aged care community on the Gold Coast and recently celebrated her 100th birthday.
What are your memories of growing up near Newcastle?
We had to get up at four o’clock in the morning to feed our cows, horses, ducks, chooks and geese. If you didn’t feed the animals, you didn’t get any dinner. When I was six or seven, I learned to milk the cow. We had a wonderful orchard with every fruit you could imagine. I remember my sister being born in the house. A lady came in with a beautiful white gown and a white cap and the next minute I heard a baby crying. That was a good memory.
You didn’t attend high school but instead began a live-in job, 150km from home, when you were 13.
I worked at a doctor’s home and surgery. I did general housework and I’d also work in the surgery and take the doctor’s calls. My very first job was to answer the phone, and I’d never used a phone in my life. I did it very ‘ockerly’ and I was hauled over the coals very fast. Within three months I spoke very posh! I used to send my pay home every other week. Money was very tight in those days.
You have witnessed a lot of changes in our society during your lifetime. What are the major changes you have seen?
There’s been so many. Probably mobile phones and children being spoilt. My first joy was when my parents bought a radio and we all sat around in front of it on the floor and listened to Biggles, Dad and Dave and other wonderful shows.
What have been your favourite hobbies?
I enjoyed bike riding. When I played golf I got a hole-in-one. I hit the ball, I bent down to pick up my tee, stood up and everybody was clapping. I started Tai Chi in my 80s and still do Yoga. It’s kept me as agile as I am.
What are some cherished moments from later in your life?
The greatest thing for me later in life was being gobsmacked by my family giving me an around the world plane ticket for my 70th birthday. That was absolutely brilliant. For my 80th birthday some very good friends bought me a ticket to climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge. It was a great experience. Because of the movement of the bridge, when you come down and started walking on the street you feel like a drunk!
What is your philosophy for life and advice for others?
Enjoy helping other people that are in need and appreciate what you have. Don’t tell lies, be honest and respect others. Also take each day as they come. I love the song Que Sera, Sera: whatever happens, you’ve got to deal with it. It’s a good policy.
Read more stories from Belong: Summer 2022 | Edition 24