Langley senior John Kromhoff doesn’t think he will get the 100th birthday party he was hoping for on June 24.
“We’re under restrictions, because we have this virus,” said Kromhoff, who resides at the Chartwell Langley Gardens care residence in Walnut Grove.
Under current COVID regulations governing public gatherings, “we’re not allowed more than 10 people,” he noted.
Which is a problem, because the soon-to-be centenarian estimates his children, their spouses, along with his grandchildren and great-children, add up to 54.
“Unless something changes drastically,” Kromhoff has resigned himself to a quiet, scaled-down celebration at the residence.
Having said that, he is quick to praise Chartwell Gardens, and adds he fully understands why precautions must be taken during the pandemic.
“This is a very nice place,” he told the Langley Advance Times.
“I looked at six of them [care homes before I moved] and this was the best one.”
Kromhoff has lived in the Surrey/Langley area most of his life.
His family was one of the Tynehead pioneer families, owners of the Kromhoff turkey farm.
He was also a realtor in the area for close to 50 years.
Kromhoff likes to say he would still be working at his realty business if he hadn’t wound up in hospital at the age of 94.
“I felt great until I broke my hip,” Kromhoff said in a 2020 interview with the Langley Advance Times.
He made a full recovery.
When he was born in New Westminster, in 1921, Kromhoff recalled, “they had hard rubber tires on cars and no television, and the roads all used to have names instead of numbers.”
He grew up on a 40-acre turkey farm, and after his parents shut it down, he got into real estate when he sold off parcels of the family property for development.
“The average price of a lot at that time was about $300,” he recalled, chuckling. “We sold too soon.”
“I never did work for anyone else, except my own companies,” Kromhoff reminisced.
He started out building houses, then moved into real estate, and then, financing.
Granddaughter Melanie Shaw, speaking for the family, said her grandfather had hoped to have a big party to celebrate turning 100, “but the way things are going, it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen.”
So they took to social media to invite people to send him birthday cards.
“I told him [about the online cards appeal] but he thinks it’s mostly family that will send stuff,” Shaw confided. “He’s pretty sure no one else will.”
His family would love to prove him wrong.
For those who would like to send a card, the mailing address is:
c/o 8888 202nd Street,
A few, beautifully decorated cards, had arrived in the mail by the time Kromhoff spoke to the Langley Advance Times on Sunday, May 16.
“I’ve already got six,” he remarked.
“I’ve got to say I appreciate it. They’re very great cards.”
He remains doubtful about his family’s belief he will get lots of cards.
“My granddaughter thinks I would get as many as 300. I have no idea, because I have no experience [with the internet].”
He did take a look at social media, once, and concluded that he “didn’t care for it.”
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