COX'S COVE, N.L. — “Working hard won’t ever kill you.”
Lillian Wells knows what she’s talking about when she says those words.
The Cox’s Cove resident recently turned 106 years old.
She grew up in Gillams as the oldest child and the only daughter, with four brothers, in the Blanchard family.
Although she learned to become a fantastic cook by closely watching her mother, Margaret, do her own magic in the kitchen, she also learned the value of hard physical labour from her father, Edmund.
Wells would often accompany her dad into the forest to cut wood, hauling it back out by oxen.
“That was only sport,” she quipped.
She did many other chores too. Later in life, she worked in the herring store and ran her own convenience store and operated a boarding house.
One of her favourites memories of her father was whenever he was preparing to leave for a long time away from the family.
“He would come to my bedside before he left and tell me that I was the boss while he was gone,” she said. “That made me feel top shelf.”
The descendants of 106-year-old Lillian Wells of Cox’s Cove:
- 6 children
- 4 step-children
- 23 grandchildren
- 33 great-grandchildren
- 20 great-great-grandchildren
- 1 great- great-great-grandchild
She said she never had to put her foot down, though, because her mother treated the family well and she got along great with all of her younger brothers.
She has seen a lot of changes in the way of life in the outer Bay of Islands. She’s obviously seen her own life changing too as she gets older.
She moved to Cox’s Cove as a young widower with four children and had two more children with her second husband, Benjamin Wells, who had four children of his own at the time.
Wells remained quite active until only recently, but still lives in her own home with the help of family and a caregiver. She was 98 before she had to hand over the reins of caring for her disabled daughter, Cindy, who is now 60 and still lives with Wells.
It was only three years ago that she stopped going out to play cards and bingo.
She still enjoys going for drives in the car on warmer days and loves it when people come to visit her.
“It brightens me up,” she said when someone drops in to see her.
She had lots of visitors when she celebrated her 106th birthday in her house Dec. 6.
When asked if she ever thought she would live to be 106, she was quick with her trademark wit.
“I figured I’d live ’til I died,” she said, with a devilish grin.
Her daughter, Donna Blanchard, said she has never seen her mother angry or in a bad mood and believes that could be a significant factor in her longevity.
Now that she’s gotten this far in life, Wells would like to see 110. Because she has no major health concerns and not even an ache or a pain to talk about, she thinks the possibilities are endless.
“I might live to be 1,000 if I still feel good,” she said.