Bouquets of pink, purple, and yellow balloons floated above several tables as residents at the Franciscan Care Center of Sylvania gathered to wish Lynda Myers a happy 100th birthday.
During the party, residents sang a couple of rounds of "Happy Birthday," and Stanley Jankowski, 81, a resident at the care center, followed up the singing with some harmonica playing in Mrs. Myers' honor.
A resident of Woodville in Sandusky County for most of her life, Mrs. Myers glanced around the room at the fresh flowers, decorated cake, and ice cream.
Wearing a rose corsage, she posed for photographs with friends and family. She smiled, and shook her head. "I just can't fathom it all. I just can't fathom it," she said. "This is the biggest party I ever had."
Her daughter, Mary Deak of Sylvania, said her mother wasn't expecting much of a celebration. "She didn't think anyone was going to come, and we weren't going to have a party for her birthday," Ms. Deak said.
Born May 5, 1907, in Woodville, Mrs. Myers attended school in the community, and later was a piano teacher. After taking typing and shorthand classes at a business college in the Toledo area, she worked many years as a secretary at local companies. She retired in 1965.
Today, her mind is sharp, and she easily recalls details about everyday life decades ago. "I grew up in the horse-and-buggy days," she said.
Her father was a farmer; the family moved into Woodville when she was a young girl. However, she said, her family often visited relatives, including her grandmother, who lived on nearby farms.
Mrs. Myers, whose son Ralph Myers died in 2004, has five grandchildren, including Trent Scholler and Pam Szabo, both of Sylvania. A resident of the care center for about 18 months, Mrs. Myers also has five great-grandchildren.
On this sunny afternoon, Mrs. Myers' blue eyes twinkle with merriment after greeting several relatives who live out of state.
"So this is my whole big family?" she asks. The look on her face tells visitors that she knows the answer, and she's tickled pink that they are all here - for her.
Asked if she could explain why she has lived to be 100 years old, Mrs. Myers replied, "I think it is because I lived a very simple life." Her eating habits might be helping to keep her looking and feeling young. "I never ate junk food. I ate plain food," she added.
And when it comes to her proudest achievement, it's not a surprise when she points to her loving family. "Just to have a family and they love me and they can all get along together," she said. "That is a wonderful accomplishment."
A devout Christian, Mrs. Myers is an avid reader and pays close attention to local news and world events. She says news today is troublesome. It worries her what kids today are learning - and what they're not.
Mrs. Myers, who begins each day with prayers and Scripture reading, was active for many years in Solomon Lutheran Church, Woodville.
Festivities last Friday were followed by another birthday party on Saturday at the care center, where relatives treated Mrs. Myers to another birthday cake plus cards, gifts, and touching tributes, including a special list of 100 favorite memories about Mrs. Myers and her life.
Those 100 memories include a recent one.
As Mrs. Myers' 100th birthday approached, the family scheduled an appointment for a formal portrait of her.
New outfits were purchased, and she was asked to try on the clothing and pick out her favorite to wear in the portrait.
Mrs. Myers tried on the first outfit, and it was OK. She tried on the next one, and it was OK, too. When she tried on the last outfit, she frowned.
"I don't know about this one," she remarked. "Does it make me look old?"