Reflections on a century of life, a lifetime of memories.
Pine Ridge of Garfield Senior Living
Clinton Township, Michigan
Helen Stoetzer, a Spectrum Retirement centenarian shares some sweet memories and sage advice.
What are the most important lessons you feel you have learned in your life?
Well, honesty for one. Behaving myself and always telling the truth.
What is the secret to a happy marriage?
Honesty, trust and love. We were together for six years, then married for 60 — that was a blessing.
What’s your first, most vivid memory?
Sunday dinners with my family. We lived in the city (Detroit) and most of my family lived in Utica and Mt. Clemens (suburbs). We had to take the train until my Dad got his first car — I was about 5 years old and it was a Ford. Sundays were always busy with our chores but we always spent at least two hours with family for dinner. My parents both came from large families, so I had plenty of aunts, uncles and cousins. Many of us didn’t have cars so we always had to pick up others on the way. It took an hour on the road (and it wasn’t that far) — there were no traffic lights then. In the city, it was policemen standing in the road directing traffic. In the country, you were on your own but people were really nice and looked out for each other.
What inventions do you most remember?
Electricity in my house! Gas lamps were what we had before. I was already in school before any of us had telephones.
What’s the most memorable family vacation?
Oh honey, probably Lake St. Clair at my aunt and uncle’s cottage. It wasn’t too far. And going to Boblo Island with my parents, friends from church and grade school friends. We would play on the swings, walk along the water and eat lunch.
What is the best thing about growing older?
I have had really good health my whole life — I’ve been very fortunate.
What have you liked best about your life so far?
Having good health and my two children. I now have grandchildren and great-grandchildren, some are even married and in college.
What is your happiest moment?
When we got married. It was at my church. We had dinner afterwards with our families at my parents’ house.