Ethel Evert called it her "rehearsal" for her 100th birthday. Ethel turned 99 on New Year's Day. A few days earlier, on Thursday, Dec. 29, 2011, family and friends hosted a "99" party for her in the Life Enrichment Room of The Terraces at MapleCreek. Ethel cut the cake, and Cottages resident Elizabeth Druckey held the plates. When asked what she remembered about being a little girl, Ethel told about remembering a great fire at a brick factory within walking distance of their house. She and her father went to watch the action ."The draught horses the business used to haul bricks died in the fire. I think I was about six."
Ethel was an only child. "My parents were married 10 years when I came along, so I guess they were glad to have me." She remembers riding on the Interurban, a streetcar rail system that people could ride over great distances in West Michigan, going from Grand Rapids all the way to Kalamazoo, Holland and Muskegon. "We rode on a high trestle bridge up over the Grand River, and I was so scared," she said. "I also remember my Father taking me to the Fair, maybe in Comstock Park. We rode the Interurban for that, too."
Mrs. Lou Miller turned 102 on Friday, Jan. 6, 2012. In her mailbox was a letter of congratulations from Willard Scott of the "Today" show. The Terraces staff surprised Lou at lunch by entering the dining room clapping their hands, surrounding her table and singing "Happy Birthday" to her. Lou was deeply moved, but quickly recovered and began showing her usual good humor. In addition to a little cake, the staff gave her a can of beer for a little celebration on her own later. "I think first I'll put on my pajamas, get in bed, and then drink it," she joked.
Lou will tell you that the secret to long life is to always have a positive attitude. "I used to get up in the mornings, jabbering away and singing, and mother would say, 'Who put a nickel in you?' And I'd say, 'I don't know, Ma.' I guess I've always been this way." Her upbeat outlook on life has carried her through many difficult times in her life, including being widowed after 17 years of marriage and working and raising her children on her own, then caring for her dear aging mother. Still, she'll always say, "I guess I've had a good life. You take what the Lord gives you and do the best you can. But I really love it here. This really is the best place for me. Everyone is so friendly and kind and helpful, and they'll do anything for you."