Fred May, 90, with another resident at the home, Susan Alexander, 84. The secret to longevity is healthy living, says Heideveld’s Fred May who turned 90 last week. The Oakhaven Place resident celebrated his birthday on Tuesday January 22, with many well wishes from staff and fellow residents at the seniors home.As a baby, Fred was adopted bya family in Welcome Estate. Whenhe was 3, he went to stay with his adoptive father’s mother in Kensington. Growing up, there was hard, he says. His grandmother owned a laundromat and he and the other children in the house had to wash clothes every day after school while his mates played soccer. “I finished Grade 8, and then I went to work. I wanted to be independent, so I worked in a factory as a machinist for about two years. “I left my gran’s place after that and went to stay at different places on my own. “I then joined the building trade, and I remember working on different sites in Woodstock and Salt River, and I did that for 10 years. “I was the foreman of the labourers.”Later, in his 30s, he worked as an ambulance driver for 10 years before starting his own Vibracrete company, which he ran for 12 years. Later, he worked as a salesman in a Rondebosch shoe shop. In 1951, he married Julia Mayer, whom he had met at an Athlone church. The couple adopted a child who now lives in New Zealand. Julia died 20 years ago.“Julia was a very churchly woman, very quiet,” says Fred. “She never smoked or drank, and I didn’t either, and that’s why I lived so long,” he says.In his later years, he was a manager of a Strandfontein holiday house and, in his 70s, he was a caretaker at a Heathfield school. He lived in Athlone after retiring, but in 2014, he moved to Oakhaven Place. “It’s lovely to be in a place where we can chat to each other andspeak about our experiences. Totalk to people your age who understand what you are saying is wonderful.”Fred has long enjoyed playing the saxophone and still belts out melodies at various church services throughout the week. “I have always enjoyed playing gospel music and I always wrote my own music,” he says.
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