At 103 years young, Elva Powers still has a valid driver's licence, but it expires Thursday when she turns 104. Believe it or not, she continued to drive up until just five years ago.
Powers was born June 13, 1915 and still lives on her own in an apartment in Westmount Heights in Bridgewater. She agreed to an interview, with her daughter Sharon (Nauss) June 7 after getting her hair done and catching her daily nap.
She is full of spunk and doesn't really believe that she could be that old.
"I can't believe it. I don't believe it. I think it must be a mistake," she said, adding that she still feels like she is "only 70."
She was born and raised in West Dublin. Her birth took place on a Sunday, which believes may have been a key to her longevity, she also shared a few other reasons that she could attribute her long life to.
"I remember my mother saying that if you were born on a Sunday you would live for a long time," she said. "I don't eat hamburgers and hot dogs, but if I wanted an apple when I was younger I would go get one off a tree. I drank milk, but not out of a carton. We had cows, and if I wanted an egg, I would go out to the hen house and reach under a hen and get an egg."
Powers was married to Lloyd Powers for about 30 years. He died in 1972 at the age of 55. They lived on the LaHave Islands for a time before moving to Bridgewater more than 70 years ago, living on Victoria Road and most recently (for more than 70 years) on Empire Street where she still owns a home. She moved into Westmount Heights in March 2018 after experiencing a rash of break-and-enters into her home.
The RCMP and the senior safety coordinator advised her to move into the secure apartment building for her own safety. Nauss said that she was very strong and wasn't afraid of anything and stayed on her home up until this point.
The couple had five children, three of which remain – Joan Getson, Sonny Powers and Nauss. Powers said that she mainly stayed home to look after the children as they grew up, but she did hold a couple of jobs, working at a fish farm as well as for 17 years at a home for disabled people in Dayspring.
Powers enjoyed playing ball, going to dances and taking her father's dory for a row once in awhile.
"There were no televisions, no radio growing up," Powers recalled. "But after I was married and lived on the LaHave Islands we did have a radio, but it wasn't electric. We didn't have things to play with like we do know."
There have been many changes over the years, obviously. She remembers driving on Highway 103 when it was being built. But the largest change she recalls was in the Town of Bridgewater.
"The biggest change is when they took all the trees away from the waterfront and they made the town more modern," said Powers. "People like to meet people and stand on the sidewalk and talk. Years ago you couldn't get through the people. It was so crowded. We used to come from West Dublin by bus to Bridgewater, especially on a Saturday night, because there was always so many people. To me, it just doesn't seem like Bridgewater."
She continues to enjoy shopping trips to the mall, doing word searches, meeting people and watching television. Powers said that she would also like to try knitting again if her hands let her.
Powers remains healthy, having to take just one pill a day. Her children come in often to check on her and she has home care four times a day and gets her meals prepared for her and needs some help getting ready for the day. She still walks, but needs a walker, because, "they don't want me to fall. I might break something," she laughed.
Daughter Sharon took some time to describe how she viewed her mother.
"I think our mother is a very elegant, independent lady. She likes to dress the part, she has her fingernails done every two weeks. She gets her toenails painted and has her hair done every week," she said. "That to me is someone that really takes pride in her appearance. Not being able to do these things on her own is really hard for her, but I hope, if I live half of her age, that I can have that much spunk."
On her birthday, her family members will host a get-together in the common room at Westmount Heights from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. if anyone wants to stop in and say hi.
As this interview came to a close, she shook hands with this reporter and we made a deal that I would return in five years time to do another story.