February 7, 2008 Issue
Chestnut Hill Local
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Fairview resident celebrates 100th
Last Friday, Kristine Priedite sat in a typical waiting room chair turned birthday throne to celebrate her 100th birthday. A halo of gold and black paper stars formed a backdrop to Priedite’s tiny frame, and she wore a black gown speckled with gold and a necklace of stars.
Every month there is a birthday celebration at the Fairview Care Center, a retirement home on Bethlehem Pike, when all the residents with birthdays in that month are honored with cake, decorations and socializing. But the celebration last Friday was held exclusively for Priedite to celebrate her 100-year milestone on Feb. 1.
Florence Thorton, director of therapeutic recreation at Fairview, said every 100th birthday at the center is celebrated with a party, and in her 30-some years at the center, she has helped celebrate about 10. Currently, there are three residents over 100 living at the center, including Priedite.
At Priedite’s party, residents of Fairview gathered at tables decorated for the occasion and chatted while snacking on birthday cake. Priedite, of course, was the center of attention as partygoers leaned over to offer their congratulations to the centenarian.
“Hope you had a really nice day, Kristine,” said one resident.
Priedite was joined at her table by members of St. John’s Latvian Lutheran Church in Newtown Square, including the Rev. Leva Dzelzgalvis. Priedite, a native of Latvia, spoke to the women in their native tongue while turning to her friends and the Local to speak in English.
Priedite has been living in the retirement home for about three years, said Dzelzgalvis. She lived in Philadelphia and Glenside before that, living with friends well into her 90s.
Dressed for the occasion, the 100-year-old woman did not look as if she has lived through a century. Living to be 100 “was easy,” she said.
Priedite exercises every day, and when it comes to food, “eats everything that’s put in front of me.”
But to look at her small frame, it would be hard to believe that she is such a big eater. In her gown, she looked ready to party all night, even as guests began heading back to their rooms, leaving the colorful decorations put up by the therapeutic recreation staff at Fairview.
“Kristine is a lovely lady,” said Fred Williams, a resident. “Look how elegant she is.”
Priedite said that while exercise and eating normally has kept her alive this long, she also was grateful to God for having reached 100.
“Every night, I thank God, and ask for him to bless me every morning and evening,” said Priedite, as translated by Dzelzgalvis.