March 27, 2021
Want to know the secret to a long and healthy life?
I was born on October 18, 1920. I lived in Aroostook County in the Town of Island Falls. I met my high school sweetheart, Herschel, on the basketball court at the high school. He was a senior when I was a sophomore.
We were married in Biddeford, and he went to work as a first class machinist at the Saco Lowell Manufacturing facility. When the War broke out, I took on the role of a stay at home Mom to our son, Erwin. During the time Herschel was overseas, I was a part time nanny before eventually working at the local water company in Old Orchard Beach. Then, a few years later (1963), I went to work full-time for the State of Maine, at the Department of Motor Vehicles in Portland.
I knew working for the DMV was going to be a challenge. Back then, the closest thing to a computer was a calculator. Everything was done with the old right hand, pen and paper. I was apprehensive, but my boss believed in me, and I was a dedicated employee for 18 years before retiring as Manager on July 3, 1981.
One of the things that brought so much joy into my life was the trips my husband and I took together. He’d get on a plane just to fly, because he loved traveling so much. We’d been to Hawaii three times and to the beautiful island of Bermuda.
When Herschel passed, it was pretty lonely, and I really looked forward to the summers I spent with my family. I still do. I have two grandsons: Jarvis and Ryan, and three great grandchildren: Taylor, Cameron and Jacob. The whole family comes every July to visit for 10 days, and they cater to me. My son jokes, that’s the way it should be.
I used to knit often and made afghans, sweaters, mittens, hats and various other pieces for the Ronald McDonald House Charities, Milestone Recovery House, Church and even sent pieces to Europe too. Now, to keep my mind and social life active, I play bridge with fiends in Saco and South Portland. The virus has temporarily stopped the games. I am part of the Friends of Libby Library, and a member of the Blue Point Congregational Church in Pine Point. Believe it or not, I have an iPad and can play bridge with my son on-line, e-mail friends and family, plus I can FaceTime too.
When my hundredth birthday came around, I got quite the surprise. My son spent months organizing a drive-by birthday party for me. There were three groups who drove by my home. They included my church family, bridge groups and my friends from the library. The OOB emergency vehicles high-lighted the drive-by. I received over 100 cards from family and friends, the Maine Governor and State Senators, plus one from the President. A beautiful cake and numerous gifts were presented to me. The many balloons wishing me well, etc. were shared with others. A portion of the balloons held up through the holidays on my porch. The drive-by was so beautiful, and it made me feel so special.
The real secret to a wonderful 100+ years, like I said, is simply good living.
- Edrice Bates