Real Lives: Isa doesn’t sit around too much, even at age of 100

Isa Dickson Deans advises a whisky before bedtime to reach 100
Isa Dickson Deans advises a whisky before bedtime to reach 100
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ART-loving Isabella Dickson Deans from Gorebridge is celebrating after reaching the age of 100.

Known as Isa, she was born on September 7, 1912 in Gorebridge, the daughter of George Rutherford, a self-employed saddler and shoe mender, and his wife Charlotte, a tailoress.

Isa was the middle sibling between the eldest William, who sadly died in infancy, and the youngest May, who was born in 1921.

She attended Gorebridge School, where she had a fondness for commercial studies in her teens.

After school, Isa went on to work at a local green grocers in Gorebridge.

Her mother Charlotte died when she was 16, and she left her job soon after to help her father around the house and look after her younger sister May.

Although there was a nine-year age gap between the sisters, they were very close, and were often seen around Gorebridge together throughout the years, until May’s death in 2010.

Before leaving school, when Isa was 14, the family made the move to new housing at Birkenside and it was there she met husband Tom, an accomplished artist, who lived upstairs.

The pair married just after the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939 at Stobhill Parish Church. Their daughter Margaret came along soon after on September 12, 1942 and son Douglas was born exactly a year later.

Isa did her bit for the war effort, helping to feed the troops at Newbattle.

In 1944, Tom was among thousands of men who fell at Normandy, leaving Isa to bring up their two small children. Although life was tough, she simply got on with things, working as a school dinner lady to support her family.

She later went on to meet John and the pair married in the mid-1950s.

Isa ran the family’s paint and wallpaper shop in the centre of Gorebridge, staying at the helm for over 25 years until her retirement.

Outwith work, Isa was heavily involved with the church at Stobhill, and often travelled abroad with it. She was also a member of its walking group, even after having both her knees replaced in her 1990s.

After her husband John’s death in 1985, Isa moved in with her daughter and son-in-law Jim.

As the couple lived in Dalkeith, Isa got involved in the local community, joining the carpet bowling club and attending art classes to improve her painting skills, a hobby she only took up in her 60s.

Isa has been staying at Pentland House Care Home for the last two years.

She has four grandchildren and six great-grandchildren, and has a few wise words when asked what it takes to get to the grand old age of 100.

She says: “Don’t sit around too much, enjoy yourself because you’re only here once, and a whisky at bedtime works wonders.”