On March 12, 1916, Adeline G. was born to a German family and grew up on a farm in Essex. She decided to leave the farm and travel to Chicago in order to attend business college, where she remained for one year until she landed a job at in insurance company.
On March 12, residents and caretakers at Symphony of Joliet, where Adeline, or “Addie,” now resides, threw a birthday party to celebrate year 102 of life. Addie donned a happy birthday crown in her long white hair and sat at a table with a large sheet cake, balloons, cards and a sign to wish her happy birthday signed by the staff.
At 102, communication can be a struggle for Addie, but activity aide Lisa Gibson asked how she lived to 102.
“I don’t know,” Addie said. Gibson then asked if she had good genes and she replied, “Yes.”
Gibson also asked her if she made a wish for her birthday and Addie smiled and said, “Nothing much.”
As soon as the staff and residents arrived, they all wished Addie a happy birthday and she beamed from ear to ear. They sang “Happy Birthday” to her and then she was ready for cake. The residents who attended received a piece of white or chocolate cake and Addie knew she wanted white cake with her favorite vanilla ice cream and chocolate milk as accompaniments.
Addie not only has vanilla ice cream on her birthday, but also at lunch and dinner every day, and chocolate milk has to be at every meal. Gibson wondered if maybe that was her secret to longevity – chocolate milk and vanilla ice cream.
In August 1990, Addie came to Symphony of Joliet and staff knew she was a firecracker from the start. Gibson said Addie knows what she wants and when, and does not want to be fussed over. That determination has kept her independent into her 100s and just last year at 101, she was able to walk and use a wheelchair on her own. Staff knows and allows Addie to do what she can on her own.
She has a sweet demeanor and a youthful light in her eyes and spirit, which was evident in her smile and expression when anyone would wish her a happy birthday.
“If I walk up to her with my arms out, she will give me a hug, not many of the residents will do that, she loves hugs,” Gibson said.
Gibson said now she mostly has become a people watcher, but she does love music and always participates when they have a guest singer or when someone plays the piano.
In order to have entertainment for the party, Symphony of Joliet coffee barista Kevin Nepomuceno came up to the party room and played “Happy Birthday” and a variety of songs from different generations for Addie and the guests at her party. Although by this time Addie was ready for a nap, with her eyes closed, her toes tapped to the music.