|Susie Saffell celebrates 103 years
(Daily Journal, Saturday, Aug. 31, 2002)
With 103 purple and white balloons, and 103 friends and family in attendance, Susie Saffell marked her 103rd birthday Thursday at St. Joe Manor.
"Oh, it's not such a big thing," said the birthday girl. "You know, I have nothing to do with how old I get to be. They just go to too much trouble."
Her eyesight may be dimmed and she's no longer able to walk, but Mrs. Saffell is still able to remember the days she drove a wagon into Bonne Terre from the farm where she grew up. She is still able to speak of the days when she and her husband Riley were raising their four children. Her son Vernon is now deceased.
She recalled those memories in a Daily Journal article when she reached her 100th birthday.
For her 103rd, her sister-in-law Joyce Nance recalled her own memories of the woman she says is "always in a good mood."
"I guess I've known her all my life. I married her husband's brother Raymond Saffell in 1937," she explained. "And we used to go over to her house and eat popcorn. Why, we made pigs of ourselves eating so much popcorn. They grew it themselves. We had some good times."
Mrs. Saffell was widowed many years ago when Riley was killed in an accident on the job.
Thursday, she was treated to guitar music played by her nephews and when she made her grand entrance, dressed in her favorite color of purple, the crowd cheered.
"We counted and there were only 98 people there, so we went and found five more to come so we could make it 103!" said Claire Wroblewski, St. Joe Activity Director.
One-hundred and three balloons filled the room. The cake bore sparklers rather than candles.
"You know, they ordered that cake from Sam's and when Sue (Vogel) went to pick it up, they said, 'No Charge,' because Susie was 103," a niece explained.
Her children, Sue Vogel, Bill Saffell and Neoma Aubuchon were on hand to see their mother enjoy her day. She tapped her fingers to the music they played and grinned from ear to ear.
They asked her what her favorite song was and she told them, "Alexander's Ragtime Band." So, they had the words written up for her to sing along. She did.
They sang, "One Day At A Time," a gospel song that could well be a testimonial to how Mrs. Saffell greets each day -- one day at a time with God's help.
"There were gifts and lots and lots of cards," said Nance. "She's such a sweetie. I love to go see her because she always lifts me up."
Early Thursday morning, Williard Scott had wished her happy birthday on the NBC Today Show.
"That's what they tell me, but I didn't see it," Susie said.
As the reporter who first met her on her 100th birthday greeted her again, she offered her usual farewell with a hug, "I can't see you, honey, but I love you."
"That's the last thing she always says to me when I visit," said Nance. "She's just real special."
DonnaHickman/Daily Journal Staff Writer
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