Florence celebrates her 100th with a card from the Queen

Full of spirit on her birthday, Florence “really liked the message from the Queen”.

 

ONE HUNDRED-year-old Florence Evelyn Cummings celebrated reaching her century on May 27 at a family birthday lunch in the café at her residential home, Mater Christi in Toormina.

And what a century it’s been.

Born in 1921 and married at 18, Florence was a mother of two sons and a daughter by the mid-1940s, a wartime period of uncertainty and hardships.

Living in Sydney as a child, Florence and her husband Edward moved north, settling in Coramba when their children were young, living a simple life in the countryside.

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Norm Cummings, her younger son, speaking on Florence’s behalf, told News Of The Area, “I remember mum always around the home, working.

“Monday was washing day; she’d haul the sheets into the copper to boil, which was outside on a timber fire.

“She’d turn (stir) the sheet around with a broom handle which had become white with the bleach.”

The washing went on the wire washing line and a prop, “No moving parts so it didn’t break,” laughed Norm.

Flo, as she’s fondly called, has never driven a car nor smoked a cigarette, but she could whip up a tasty wild-caught rabbit fricassee and make a mouth-watering sponge cake with a secret winning ingredient…duck eggs.

“In the country in those days us boys learned to handle a rifle at ten years old and we’d shoot a rabbit.

“Mum wouldn’t skin it – that was our job, and she’d do the cooking.”

Latterly Florence was known for her prolific knitting and would supply her community with wool and get them knitting for all kinds of charitable works, “Mum knitted the trauma teddies for the hospital until not so long ago.”

An evening’s relaxation in the early country days would see, “Mum and the old man sitting on the veranda watching the sunset, playing organ music of the time – the ‘50s on the old 33 1/3 rpm vinyl records…he’d have a Scotch and she might have a shandy.”

Florence received cards and telegrams from The Queen of England, The Governor General of Australia and of NSW, Premier Gladys Berejiklian, The Prime Minister, the local National party and Gurmesh Singh, Member for Coffs.

 

By Andrea FERRARI

 

Florence’s best friend, Betty Sara (also 100 years old) – “They play cards every day – they can out gun Wyatt Earp,” quipped son Norm.

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