A GRANDMOTHER of 19, from Northfield, has revealed the secrets behind reaching her 100th birthday.
Jennie Wood, who will be celebrating her centenary on Monday (August 18), has labelled determination, a mischievous sense of humour and a love of fruit as the key ingredients to a long and happy life.
For her birthday Jenny will be enjoying a party with her family and friends at The Beeches Residential Care Home where she has lived for four years.
Jennie, who was born in Aston, was the second eldest of ten siblings – she left school at 14 and went to work in a jam factory for several years before she met her husband Reggie and got married in 1935 and had three children David, Ken and Sheila.
When the war broke out Reggie was called to serve his country and spent five years fighting in the Middle East under General Montgomery.
Jennie said: “It was awful when the sirens went off.
“Little David was really scared and would scream.
“Reggie had built us a tin bomb shelter in the garden so we used to hurry down there.”
Jennie added how she did not know when or if her husband would return but she recalled going to bed one night when Reggie suddenly made a very unexpected and welcomed appearance.
Sadly Reggie developed lung cancer and died in 1954, when Sheila was just three-years-old.
When asked her secret to reaching such a great age Jennie said: “I’ve always liked fruit and like to eat well.
“I’ve worked hard and have a lovely family and lovely brothers and sisters – I can’t believe I have reached this big age with all that’s happened.”
Sheila said: “It was tough but we had some lovely times and couldn’t have asked for a better mum.
“Her family was her life and she cared for us so much and always put us first.”
Bryan O’Connor, the home’s manager, said: “Jenny has a wonderful sense of
humour – she is always telling a joke and is a very funny lady.
“She is often telling you a story and then half-way through you realise she is pulling your leg.”
Reggie and Jenny on their wedding day. (s)
Little David with his dad and Jennie with baby Ken just before Reggie was called up for service. (s)