December 3, 2009

USA: One of Maine's oldest residents, Lebanon woman, celebrates 106 years

. LEBANON, Maine / Foster's Daily Democrat / Lifestyles / December 3, 2009 One of the state's oldest residents celebrated her upcoming 106th birthday with other local seniors at the Lebanon Fire Station Wednesday afternoon. In 1903, The Ford Motor Company introduced the original Model A, the Boston Americans beat the Pittsburgh Pirates in the first modern-day baseball World Series, and on Dec. 4, Marion Morris was born. She is still going strong 106 years later. She arrived for her party from the Newton Center at Goodall Hospital in a wheelchair with her Boston Post cane in tow. She received a special meal of lobster stew, while her party guests munched on pizza. Of course, everyone had cake for dessert. The Dorcas Society also provided gift bags for all who attended. Marion Morris looks over a state proclamation citing her as the oldest citizen in Lebanon, Maine, as she celebrates her 106th birthday with friends and family at the Lebanon Fire Station Wednesday. John Huff/Staff photographer State Rep. Joan Nass, R-Acton, attended the party. She said she believes in the importance of holding community events for seniors and wishes young people would spend more time with the elderly. She said today's youth are not taught to embrace their ancestors and consequently, they miss out on both the knowledge and camaraderie of their elders. "These people are friends," Nass said. During the party Nass presented Morris with a framed proclamation from the Maine Senate and House of Representatives. Morris, just as she did with a birthday card later in the party, peered intently at the proclamation for a few moments, carefully reading it over. "Wow," she said upon reading it. "She was impressed," Nass said. Marion Morris celebrates her 106th birthday "Wow" was also Morris' 74-year-old daughter, Lucille's, reaction to celebrating her mother's 106th birthday. The event was less momentous in Morris' mind; Lucille said that to her mother, it was "just another year." She said her mother is a "lovely lady" who "loves the Lord" and used to enjoy playing the role of hostess. She has always been an independent woman — "I guess you have to be to reach 106," Lucille said — who loved to serve dinner to company. Morris also was a devoted wife; her husband, Charles, passed away in 1970 and was blind for 10 years before his death. Morris never remarried and cared for her husband in those 10 years "She took very good care of father," Lucille said. Others who have known Morris for years described her sharp wit and memory of history. Nass, who also attended Morris' 100th birthday celebration, said, "She's still pretty sharp... She still has a wit and a sense of history, and she shares it." "She has so many great stories of growing up in town," Selectman Jason Cole said. He said he has heard her stories about living in a farmhouse in town and how she remembers gas being 25 cents per gallon. "She had a lot of neat stories she shared," he said. Kelly Desruisseaux of the Newton Center said she works with Morris most days. She described her as "very outgoing" and said "she goes 100 miles a minute" in her wheelchair down the center's hallways. "Her mind is better than mine," she said. Morris quietly ate her meal Wednesday and had few words. She had no particular advice for aspiring centenarians. "Just keep going," she said. Her perseverance gave the other seniors in attendance something to strive for. "I hope when I'm 106 I can fill a room like this," said 79-year-old Isabelle Coleman, who organizes weekly meals for local seniors. Judging by her level of activity, as she bustled about serving pizza and cake to the guests, she may have what it takes. [rc] Copyright © 2009 Geo. J. Foster Company.