After 109 birthdays, Sophia Hardman says she’s reached the point in life when she stopped counting the candles on her cake.
“It feels like every day. I don’t feel any different,” Hardman said. “I’m just happy the way I am.”
Hardman was born on a farm near Lemberg, Sask., on May 15, 1910. She was the second oldest, with two brothers and a sister.
Hardman dropped out of school in Grade 8 to help her mom with the chores. While Hardman says she was really good at math, working on the farm gave her a great work ethic.
She was a telephone operator in Dysart, Sask., for 25 years, connecting callers with one another. At the time, she says she could have listened into any conversation she wanted to.
“I could listen, but I never bothered to because you can get into trouble if you ever let it out,” Hardman said. “I’ve learned to keep my mouth shut.”
Over the years, Hardman has lived through both World Wars and the Titanic. She’s as old as the Saskatchewan Roughriders and she’s two years older than the Saskatchewan legislative building, but she doesn’t remember much of the history she’s experienced.
“I was so busy on the telephone, I don’t remember nothing,” Hardman said.
READ MORE: Sask. woman Canada’s oldest living person
Hardman’s time at the telephone office turned into a family affair. The office was open from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m. every day, so Hardman’s two sons pitched in.
“At nine years old, I was pushing plugs on the telephone and we did that just so she could have some time off to make all of the good food she used to make,” said Roger, Hardman’s son. “We always had perogies and we always had cabbage rolls.”
Like her last name, Hardman is a hard-working woman. She only moved out of her house when she turned 100, and now she keeps busy at the nursing home in Cupar – cleaning, playing bingo and watching curling. Hardman says that’s the secret to her long life.
“I keep busy all the time. I’m never sitting idle,” Hardman said. “When I get tired I have to sit down and go to sleep,” Hardman said.
Hardman says she’s lived a full life. Having two sons, six grandchildren and 12 great grandchildren, she says her family has always been the most important thing.
“Everything is good the way it is,” said Hardman, adding she’s already forgotten her birthday wish. “I don’t need anything else.”
While Hardman doesn’t have any more goals in mind, her grandson, Darcy, isn’t letting the 109-year-old throw in the towel yet.
“I’m trying to convince her to skydive, to become the oldest skydiving person,” Darcy said.
But until that happens, Hardman will have to settle for being one of Saskatchewan’s oldest living residents.