She is up early, makes her own bed, still enjoys good food and was filmed – dancing – by delighted family members, just last week.
Known locally as Aunty May, May Gomesz is about to turn 100 years old on Wednesday March 3 and she still does not take any medication.
“What for?” she asks. “I don’t feel old.”
Her lifestyle has always been healthy – her husband was a fisherman so there was always fresh fish; she walked, she home-cooked meals, and she was raised on the idea of using herbs to supplement health.
The two she remembers using most are rooibos and buchu. “They are very good,” she stated emphatically.
Aunty May is a third generation Kalk Bay resident and has lived in the fisherman’s cottages where she was married to Lorenzo Gomesz, since she was married.
“It’s nice living here, so far,” she says.
Neatly dressed with stockings and shiny shoes and eyes, Aunty May shares snippets of memories of her younger years.
While she and her husband never had children of their own, children have nonetheless formed a huge part of her life. She has raised generations of her family’s children and even now, they come to visit her and do their homework while she watches her favourite TV programmes, or watches the tides of the ocean from her lounge window.
“I used to be a waitress in the hotels in the area, but I also was asked to look after the children who were with their parents on holiday. They mostly came from London, then. Very nice people,” she says. “I wonder if they are still alive?”
Part of her healthy lifestyle was that she also became a chef and cooked in the local hotels. This she really enjoyed and she has retained an appetite for good food now – even if the stove is off limits now.
Her niece Margaret Baker says Aunty May likes to make herself tea and the occasional sandwich but she is not allowed to cook anymore, for safety sake. Instead her niece is on-hand to make her meals, and says the family is astonished that Aunty May also eats enjoys chocolate and sweets with abandon – and that this has had no ill effect on her.
They laugh and say she loves mostly sweet things: flowers, children and chocolates, but that her other love has always been the sea.
From the cottages, the endless skies meet only with the ceaseless sea in her window frame, and the blue is broken only by the fishing boats riding the swells. “This is a good life,” she says, smiling.
Aunty May says that she has reached this age through the grace of God and that church has always been an important part of her life – a foundation which she says has kept her life blessed.