Centenarian’s secret to a happy marriage

Never sleep away from home, even when you have trouble in your marriage, is the motto Elizabeth Haupt, who turns 100 years old this month, lived by.

The Surrey Estate resident, who will celebrate her birthday on Monday July 31, was married for 67 years.

She grew up in Goodwood with her parents and five brothers but her father died when she was three years old.

Ms Haupt attended St Mary’s Primary School and later Wesley Training College in Salt River Road.

She left school in Grade 8.

She then worked part-time at a sweet factory in Woodstock and looked after children as well.

In her early 20s, she started working at Sirmington, a factory in Maitland, where she made underwear.

During that time she got married to her late husband Ernest Alexander Haupt, and had her first child a year later, followed by six more children.

The couple was married for 67 years before Mr Haupt passed away.

When asked what her secret was to such a long and successful marriage, she said: “I never slept away from home, even when I had trouble in my marriage. When I got married I told my husband ‘do not lift your hands for me and do not swear at me’ and he never did,” she said.

She described her husband as strict but also very soft.

“He was very protective over his family but he set a good example. He wasn’t a man of many words but he lived in a good way,” she said.

Her daughter Elizabeth Damon, 63, said that one thing that she will always remember is that growing up her parents never argued in front of their children.

She said that they meant everything to their father and although they didn’t have a car, he always entertained them.

“He would come home with a projector and we would watch movies and he would have special treats for us.

“I remember that we always had to say our prayers and my mom would stand behind us with a belt because we would giggle,” she said.

She said that her father was very “prim and proper” and that his faith was important so there was never an excuse not to go to church.

Ms Haupt said when her husband died she felt extremely lonely as there was no one to look after and all of her friends had passed away as well.

She said that she now lives for her grandchildren.

When asked what she was fond of doing and how she occupied herself in her later years, Ms Haupt said that she loved looking after children, knitting, and volunteered at the church bazaars.

“But I am old now, I can’t do those things anymore.

“I can’t walk properly and
see properly. I have to understand that my life is finished now, I have to just sit and wait,” she said.

She said that she was also very fond of reading and she would read for hours on end, until her eyes sometimes turned red and her husband would tell her to stop but she continued.

“My children must go on now, they must take some of me and take it with them. I still advise my children and my grandchildren,” she said.