At The Lawn care home, in Alton, Hampshire, resident Kathleen Baines, has been celebrating her landmark 95th birthday in true 1960s Flower Power style. Born on 1st April 1928, Kathleen made sure she ‘Twisted’, ‘Mash Potatoed’ and ‘Hitch Hiked’ on her special day at a 60s themed musical disco party put on for her by the care home team.
Kathleen, who moved to The Lawn in December 2016, grew up in Derbyshire during World War II and remembers how lucky she was to be living in the countryside during this time. “We were fortunate to live in a rural area, so we weren’t affected too much. I do remember when the air raid siren went off though, we had to go into the cellar, sometimes for hours and hours, with little food and not much to do,” Kathleen recalls.
“My father passed away before the war began, and it was hard work for my mother to bring up four children on her own. To give her a break, we used to stay with my grandparents who also lived in the countryside and I have fond memories of the great fun we had there,” Kathleen added.
“Despite the hardships of the time, I had a very happy childhood. I always wanted to use my mother’s sewing machine, but that was totally off limits in case I broke it – but she did let me help her when she was baking or cooking. She’d sometimes let me put the jam into the jam tarts she’d make, they were so delicious,” Kathleen continued.
Following the end of the war, Kathleen and her family moved to Southampton where she attended school. “My favourite lesson was Chemistry, as I found it so interesting,” Kathleen said. However, it’s the 1960s that Kathleen loved the most. “My favourite decade of all has been the 60s. I was grown up by then and could go out and enjoy myself. The ‘Swinging Sixties’ was a great time to be young. The music, fashion, art, innovation and even the toys were all so vibrant and colourful, it was wonderful,” she added.
Kathleen had quite a few jobs during her life including working as an Usherette in a theatre, being employed as a Shoe Fitter and even working for Rolls Royce as a Clerical Assistant, but her favourite role was working as a Florist. “I loved putting the flowers together and making beautiful bouquets and arrangements, perhaps that’s my link back to the 60s Flower Power,” Kathleen continued. “I’m very lucky as I can still do this at The Lawn. I’ve always loved flowers and gardening and the gardens here are just so beautiful. I think I have my mother’s love of baking as I still love to bake and get creative with my cake decorating. I’ve made quite a few cakes since living at The Lawn – I haven’t had any complaints about them, so hopefully everyone enjoys them,” Katheen added.
The Lawn care team know how much Kathleen loved the 1960s so made sure her special day was a ‘Groovy’ day she wouldn’t forget. Festivities included a 60s themed celebration day complete with a 60s disco, decorations, mocktails and, of course, a delicious cake for the birthday girl.
Alina Gutu, the Registered Manager at The Lawn said: “Kathleen is a joy to have living with us here at The Lawn. She loves to join in with all the activities and when she smiles, she lights up the room. Kathleen is great fun and is always up for trying new things – and she loves a good party and a dance, especially at our annual New Year’s Eve Knees-up.”
In closing, Kathleen said: “I’m so happy living here at The Lawn. The carers are so kind. I spend time with friends and I also enjoy time on my own in my room playing cards. The food is delicious and there’s always something to do. I never get bored, there just isn’t time.
“I don’t believe there is a secret to a long and happy life, I believe you just live your life to the fullest, every day, which seems to be working for me.”