Cheers and goodwill at Senior Center as Hanson salutes newest centenarian
It’s not every day the town of Hanson salutes newest centenarian. With a room filled with friends at the Hanson Multi-Service Senior Center Tuesday, Barbara Meiggs of Hanson smiled with her entire face as everyone shouted “Happy Birthday!”
At 100 years old her silver hair and sapphire eyes sparkled like the starry, night sky. She walked with assistance but, as thrilled as she was by the birthday attention, she was equally modest and thankful for the many greetings she received.
The petite centenarian took her throne, an armchair decorated with a purple fleece throw, and she was wrapped in a shawl scattered with rhinestones.
Celebrating a 100th birthday is quite the occasion staff members told her. She was quick to reply that she was still 99, as her birthday falls on Oct. 27.
She was born in 1915 and raised in Whitman.
In the year she was born, World War I had begun. Newspapers cost one cent, a movie ticket was seven cents, and steak was 18 cents a pound.
Meiggs recalled several historic milestones and answered aloud before Director Mary Collins could read the short list she had prepared.
Meiggs has a sharp memory and, up until her 95th birthday, she was still working at the Jordan Hospital in Plymouth.
She logged over 7,000 hours of service in administration, office work, and answering phones. She did it all, she said.
“I think that is why I am still here. I helped many people,” she said.
Then when she “retired” she volunteered to answer the phones at the Hanson Senior Multi-Service center. She’s been independent from the start.
At age 6 she recalled being scolded for leaving her yard through a wooded path to visit her grandmother’s house. She was in trouble for scaring her mother, she said.
“My mother couldn’t find me and had to get the police,” she said.
She was very close to her grandmother and adored spending time with her. Meiggs said one of the greatest gifts she ever received was a hand-sewn dress that her grandmother had made her.
As a graduate of Whitman High School class of 1933, Meiggs went on to marry her husband Carlton — they were wed for 65 years.
They raised two sons, one of whom became the first Hanson police sergeant and the other a teacher at W-H. She has seven grandchildren and 14 great- grandchildren.
Her recipe for longevity has been going to church, loving her husband — even though she said she would sometimes not speak to him after an argument, but they would always make up — and enjoying ceramics for many years.
She didn’t play sports but she did learn to knit and crochet, which she said she was quite good at.
As she sat in her decorated arm chair Dody Whooten, 95, of Hanson approached her and dropped down to one knee. He professed his fondness for her as all the guests in the room, witnessed his gesture. Meiggs quickly told him she that reached 100 years because she was married only once and she intended to stay that way. She also said he was too young for her.
Whooten kissed her hand and then had a helping hand raising himself off the floor.
Barbara took the proposal in stride as her guests teased that even at 100 years old she was still getting marriage proposals.
View more photos on the Whitman-Hanson Express Facebook page.