Still young at heart

May 11, 2018

The News is sharing the stories of residents at Shepparton Village’s Hakea Lodge to give our readers some insight into their lives, both past and present.

This week, News journalist Ash Witoslawski sat down with 89-year-old Zelia Dryden to learn more.

Tell me a little about your life.

I was born and raised in Shepparton with my brother and sister. We used to walk from one end of Shepparton to the other in the rain and frost to St Brendan’s School. I completed my schooling at Notre Dame College and decided to be a hairdresser. I met a red-headed boy at the dances and he swept me off my feet and I was engaged within a few months and it was the best thing I ever did.

Zelia was engaged to a Shepparton boy named William ‘Bill’ Dryden and the couple was married when she 22-years-old. At 24, Mrs Dryden had her first child Debra, followed by Rodney, Lyndell and Rowan. Unfortunately, when Rodney was 18-, he died from a brain tumour. The family lived in Mooroopna until Bill and Zelia moved into Rodney Park Retirement Village. When Bill died almost 10 years ago, Zelia became the longest-living resident in the village, spending 25 years at the residency. Mrs Dryden also has grandchildren and great-grandchildren living around Australia.

What are some life lessons you can share with younger people?

Try not to worry about things, just try and do your best and be happy with what you are capable of doing.

What advice can you pass on to parents?

Show your love to them and always be there for them. No matter what they do, always make allowances and know that you still love them.

Do you feel your age?

My body feels my age, but in my mind I don’t feel 89.

I’ve had a happy life, happy marriage and happy children, so I’m very contented that way.

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