90-year-olds celebrate birthdays in Antelope Valley | RecordCourier.com
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90-year-olds celebrate birthdays in Antelope Valley

by Selma Calnan

Spring was making a timid appearance outside the Antelope Valley Senior Center on Wednesday, March 14. Snow was evaporating in the noon day sun and noisy birds were chattering at the window feeder. Inside the colorful dining room, 33 guests were chattering and it was clear that spring was firmly fixed in the hearts of the four 90 year olds at the “Table of Venerables:” Dorothy Palmer, 96, Marion Nelson, 95, Vera Brandrup, 97 and Eleanor Davis, 96.

Everyone was enjoying the second monthly birthday luncheon hosted by Site Director Sid Hayes. Across the room from the Lady Venerables is the Bachelor Table, that evolved between 1993 and 1997. That’s where men sit to read the newspaper and discuss sports and hobbies in peace if not quiet. No one arranged seating that way. Like most senior congregate meals, the guests took charge. Who wants to argue with senior sages?

Dorothy Palmer was keeping an eye on the other March birthday guests: Pat Gansberg and Sissy Guffee. She worried whether they were getting enough attention. As a charter member of most of the clubs in the valley, she is always involved in programs.

Kenny Arnaiz, chief cook, had prepared a special birthday cake, Sandy Rustan and Florence Smith had decorated the walls and windows and put special floral decorations on each table. John Cecil, Mono County Supervisor, brought greetings from the board and special lithographed birthday cards for the four eldest. That wasn’t enough by her standards. After all, Mrs. Palmer had started “pitching in” during World War II, working as a plumber at Lockheed, installing oxygen and de-icing tubes in the B-17. (Remember that March IS Women’s History Month). As a proper finale for the birthday luncheon she had brought a large box, professionally gift wrapped at Dianne’s Flower Shop. She conducted a drawing by the other honorees. Eleanor Davis won and everyone helped undo the bright wrappings. The prize was an afghan, knitted and donated by Dorothy Palmer herself. In 1998, the last time she stopped to count, she had guessed 75 afghans and she has been knitting ever since. She explained, “I like to keep busy.”

Hayes expressed his thanks to all the participants and set the next birthday luncheon for Wednesday, April 11. He would like to add music next time. For more information call 495-2323.