Changes and similarities for two people separated by 100 years

Christopher and Julia Lousich welcomed Monique into the world a month ago.
SIMON O'CONNOR/Fairfax NZ

Christopher and Julia Lousich welcomed Monique into the world a month ago.

Their birthdays are less than a month apart, but there's more than a century of change separating Monique Lousich and Alma Gilbert.

Gilbert was born on April 30, 1915, when the world was at war, the airplane was still a recent invention and the Eiffel Tower was still the tallest structure in the world.

Fast-foward nearly 102 years, when Christopher and Julia Lousich welcomed daughter Monique into the world on April 16, 2017.

Alma Gilbert celebrated her 102nd birthday a few weeks ago with a few glasses of wine surrounded by friends and family.
SIMON O'CONNOR/Fairfax NZ

Alma Gilbert celebrated her 102nd birthday a few weeks ago with a few glasses of wine surrounded by friends and family.

World-wide communication happens in an instant, information is available at the push of a button and owning a car has become the norm rather than the exception.

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While birth and death are a fact of life, the former is more than one-and-a half times more common than the latter in New Zealand.

The annual release of statistics around Births and Deaths from Stats NZ shows there were 1473 births in Taranaki compared to 981 deaths, with more people living longer: a girl born in the past year is expected to live to 83 years old.

The number of births was the lowest in 10 years, with 1455 in 2006 and more than 1500 every year in between.

However deaths were the highest since 2003, except for 2015 when there were 1008.

Monique was born on Easter Sunday, nearly 102 years after Alma.
SIMON O'CONNOR/Fairfax NZ

Monique was born on Easter Sunday, nearly 102 years after Alma.

While the details of her life have dimmed with age, Gilbert still has her wits about her.

She had a few glasses of wine to celebrate her birthday, and still has one a day.

"My memory has got so bad lately and I'm almost blind, but I'm still going," she said with a wry smile.

"I've seen a lot of changes, yes.

"I've seen a lot really. We had a lot of fun really."

Christopher, a registered nurse at a rest home, and Julia, a school teacher, said they were quite aware of how different the world would be for Monique from the one they grew up in, and completely different from Gilbert's childhood.

Christopher and Julia said they expected Monique  to grow up in a world quite different from what they grew up in.
SIMON O'CONNOR/Fairfax NZ

Christopher and Julia said they expected Monique to grow up in a world quite different from what they grew up in.

"On the weekends it would be going out and playing soccer or rugby or softball with friends and wouldn't even think to sit in front of the TV let alone a computer," Christopher said.

Social media would likely play a big part in Monique's life.

"We had a lot of school bullying back in our day but it was completely different," he said.

"It was more face to face stuff," Julia added.

"Along the way we'll learn more about her as a person and if it's sport or academics we want to provide as much support as we can so she can be mature in whatever she wants to pursue."

Whatever came, the couple said they were aiming to bring her up with good strong family values.

Alma Gilbert said she couldn't remember much from her life, but "we had a lot of fun".
SIMON O'CONNOR/Fairfax NZ

Alma Gilbert said she couldn't remember much from her life, but "we had a lot of fun".

"So she's got the character and the supports around her and the ability to cope with whatever's in the future for her," Christopher said.

Working with the elderly and coming back to look after a baby had some similarities.

"She's crying because she can't communicate that well and a lot of the residents at work don't communicate as well once they hit 80 or 90," he said.

"They both require a certain level of care and support."

 - Stuff

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