My five-year-old daughter and I attended Ruth H.’s 100th birthday party this past weekend. It was just as Ruth H. had wanted – a big white tent in her side yard, teeming with people and finger foods, and there she was, perched on a high chair in the middle, receiving guests in a long-sleeve blue and white lace dress her mother wore when she celebrated her big day. A big sign at the entrance thanked the community for being so caring.
Ruth had wanted all of us to “get the word out” in any way possible. So email and paper invites were everywhere. In a town of 3,ooo, I’m guessing at least 10% showed up for this celebration. And many visitors came from out of town too. It was hot, and a wonderful low-key way to mark a rare and important day. Perfect for a woman who believes in giving back.
This same weekend, I read that the oldest woman in NY (the third oldest in the world) celebrated her 114th birthday. She also greeted guests on her home turf (the senior center where she lives), in formal attire.
How do these women do it? 1) Live that long, and 2) celebrate in the heat of summer!? They are models of resilience, that’s for sure.
The next morning Ruth was on her porch opening cards and gifts. It was a time of nostaglia; stories and memories. “I didn’t sleep at all last night, but I have the rest of my life to sleep!” she announced.
For more on Ruth H’s 100 years, and daily life, see my book, Aging Our Way.