Fond memories at 99 years young

Tamra CarrGeraldton Guardian
Thelma Panayotakis celebrated her 99th birthday with her family and 16-year-old Riffy, the one-eyed dog.
Camera IconThelma Panayotakis celebrated her 99th birthday with her family and 16-year-old Riffy, the one-eyed dog. Credit: Tamra Carr, The Geraldton Guardian

Geraldton resident Thelma Panayotakis says one of her vivid childhood memories is deliberately poking the family horse with a prickly bush and sending the beast flying.

It was one of the cheekier incidents from her youth that earned her a reprimanding smack.

The mother of five has nearly a century of life experience and stories tucked under her belt.

Earlier this month she celebrated her 99th birthday with family at her daughter’s Spalding home, sharing stories about past jobs and her late husband, Peter Panayotakis, who died aged 90, some 20 years ago.

The pair were well known locals who lived on an 80ha property in White Peak, made popular by their sale of tomatoes, watermelons, rockmelons, onions, lettuce and cabbages to Geraldton shops.

In her time, Ms Panayotakis remembered horses lining Marine Terrace, getting milk and bread delivered to her doorstep and riding her push bike from Moonyoonooka to central Geraldton.

The elderly resident is fond of gardening and being outside in good weather.

She said she was looking forward to receiving a letter from the Queen next May.

Daughter Mary Cassin, aged 71, said her family fully expected their beloved matriarch to live at least another five years.

There are six City of Greater Geraldton residents aged 97 and older.

Ms Panayotakis has four surviving children, four grandchildren, one great-grandson and one great-great-grandson.

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