NEW HAVEN — The year Margaret Flowers of New Haven was born (1914), World War I began, the Panama Canal officially opened, and the world’s first red and green traffic lights were installed in Cleveland.
Flowers marked her 102nd birthday July 15 and was surprised Tuesday by friends at the Mason Senior Center with a party.
Flowers joins the seniors at the center for lunch each weekday and is the oldest participant in the county. She is also active in the center activities, including bingo and the “Still Kickin’” exercise group.
Citing no secret beauty regimen or healthy eating habits, Flowers chalks up her longevity to “always trying to do what’s right” and “helping others.” She stated she has cared for eight of her family members before they passed away, including her mother. Flowers’ mother lived with her in later years until she died at the age of 91.
Flowers has one daughter, Janet Bumgarner, who also lives in the Bend Area. Being a homemaker most of her life, Flowers said she finished nurses’ training in 1966, but did not work in the profession for very long.
Still active, Flowers said she drives the 13 miles to church when she feels like it. Although she put in a large garden last year, Flowers said she cut up the seed potatoes for a garden this year, but left the planting to someone else.
Being independent is important to Flowers. Noting a recent doctor appointment, she said she was told not to go up and down the basement steps of her home any more to do her laundry.
“The doctor told me I can’t go down the steps to do the washing,” Flowers said. “I was told I can’t do this and can’t do that. I said, ‘I might as well be dead.”
But while Flowers complained about her new restrictions, she did admit she struck a deal with her daughter.
“She took my washing home for the first time,” Flowers stated. “She told me if I would let her wash my clothes, I could do her ironing. My ironing board is already set up.”
Friends at the senior center presented Flowers with a birthday cake, party hat, cards and plenty of hugs.
Mindy Kearns is a freelance writer for Ohio Valley Publishing who lives in Mason County.