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I’ve noticed at Fred Meyer that you can get greeting cards for big birthdays up to the 100th. Yesterday I was looking for a 95th birthday card, and found one. It was for our dear former neighbor Esther Simmons, who now lives at the Cambridge Terrace assisted living center in Albany.
When Nancy and I stopped by with the card and flowers for Esther, we found her observing a man who was piecing together a jigsaw puzzle. After giving Esther a hug, I glanced over at the man and realized it was George Andrus, a guy we’ve done many stories on over the years at the Democrat-Herald. George helped maintain the Takena Landing Trail, removing ivy and cutting back brush, into his early 90s. He is now 96.
We learned that George and Esther knew each other at Albany High School. George was in the Class of 1935, Esther in the
Class of 1934. George figured there’s only a handful of his classmates still alive.
It was wonderful visiting with these two sweet people who have aged well.
Before going over to Cambridge Terrace, we attended the memorial service at our church for Ella Bolles, a wonderful lady who died May 24, two days shy of her 101st birthday. Ella worked for many years in the Linn County clerk’s office. I had the honor of driving her to and from church once a month in recent years. Even after she had reached 100, she could still easily get into and out of the car and walk briskly on her own.
Later Saturday, I called my friend Pam McGinn who was celebrating her 90th birthday at her home with family and friends in the hills of Oakland, Calif. After that I called my mom, Dottie Kislingbury, who turned 89 March 1.
Today, I drove another longtime member of my church, Clarice Scheffler, from church to Mary’s House in the Mennonite Village where she now resides. Clarice is 91.
I got the calculator out this afternoon and totaled up the ages of all of these people, including the century that Ella lived. It came to a combined 561 years, or an average age of 93 1/2.
People are living longer, and I’m just glad my life has been touched by the six mentioned here.
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