A GREAT grandmother of 12 is celebrating her hundredth birthday today (Friday).
Lilian Whitehouse was born in Smethwick on 8 March, 1913, the sixth of eight children, and grew up without the mod cons we all take for granted.
“Our milk and bacon used to come by on a horse and cart,” said the mother of three, who lives in Haslucks Green Road.
“It’s a different world now, a lot for the better. I don’t yearn for the ‘good old days’. We have lost that security, you could go anywhere at any time of night, but there were no free doctors. It could be very expensive. We have a lot of things now we didn’t have.
“We were married 13 years before we had a fridge. And 30 before we had a freezer and washing machine. Life was much sparser then.”
The keen knitter, who even had her own wool shop, was married to engineer Eric, who made tanks and tools throughout the Second World War. The couple bought their first home in Olton in 1936 and spent many happy years together before Eric passed away 21 years ago.
Her daughter Rosemary Bird, aged 62, and son-in-law Terry, aged 65, have helped care for her mother ever since.
“I have the best daughter in the world,” said Mrs Whitehouse.
The centenarian, who also has seven grandchildren and 12 great grandchildren, said the secret to long life was “contentment”.
“It’s about being happy with what you have.”
The great grandmother has almost 30 relatives coming from all over the UK to toast her 100 years said she was looking forward to slicing the cake, which would be missing a few of the hundred candles.
“There would be too much heat,” she said.