Living a happy life at 95
John is a resident at Jericho Court, our over 55s scheme in Aigburth. He’s lived at the scheme since 1997. He has recently turned 95 and his friends at the scheme held a party for him to celebrate. We went down to learn all about his life and to get some tips on how to live a happy life at 95.
First of all, Happy Birthday John! Have you lived in Liverpool for all for your life?
Oh yes, I was born in a place called Northumberland Street; I won’t tell you what the houses were like there! I lived in a house that had five families in. My parents paid 11 shillings for two rooms. People were very poor back in the 1920s, so five families would move into one house so they could split the rent. We even had to pawn our shoes and things like that!
How has Liverpool changed since you were growing up?
Well, Jericho Court wasn’t here, this was a farm! You can look out to the garden outside of that window, they used to have horses there. That park over the road was great too. Everybody went there, it was a beautiful park back then but I don’t think it’s used too much now.
What do you like most about Jericho Court?
I’ve lived here for over 20 years now! It’s a good roof over my head. I like Rita (Scheme Manager at Jericho Court), she’s very nice.
What did you do for work?
I worked on the docks when I come out of the Navy. I was at Gladstone Dock and then they closed part of it down so I moved to Harrington Dock which was closer to home. I done well better there, I managed to get a job as a bit of a boss there, had to work hard to get it though. I liked that job, that was a good job. I did that for about 29 years. It was all about making sure you put the cargo in the right order, so everything going to India was at the bottom of the ship and everything going to a more local port was nearer the top. After that, I got a job as the caretaker of a high-rise block in Croxteth.
Can you tell me your memories of the second world war?
I was in it yeah, 1942. I was in Russia for two years, it wasn’t a very nice time. I was in the Navy for six years, I finished up in Japan. I’ve been looking for my pictures but I’m not sure if my kids have them.
How old are your kids?
I have two boys, one is 68 and the other is 64. They’re good lads, one of them is a lovely bass guitar player and the other one was a teacher until he was 42. They’re clever boys, the two of them went to university. I’m just made up they both had it better than I did when I was a kid, I left school when I was 14.
Can you tell me about your wife and when you got married?
I got married in 1940, I was 26. We met at a dance. She was a very good Mum, yeah. It’s been 36 years now since she passed away. That’s the picture of us on our wedding day up there.
What’s the secret to living a happy life like your own?
I’ve always been friendly which helps. I’ve always got on with my family, I never have any trouble with them. I like to see them all getting on and I was made up when I seen them going to good schools and getting good jobs. Music is a nice thing too, I like playing my piano, as long as you have something on your mind like that you’ll be okay.
What advice would you give to someone young growing up now?
Don’t drink too much!
What are you most proud of in your life?
My boys. They don’t know it but I’m made up with them because I had nothing. When I saw them walking up for their graduation wearing their caps, that made me proud.