A `wonderful' 100 years

Birthday: South Carroll center honors Lillian Adams, who will turn 100 on Sept. 26.

September 15, 2004|By Katie Martin | Katie Martin,SUN STAFF

Seated directly in front of the stage at the South Carroll Senior Activities Center, Lillian Adams tried to sing along with the other seniors' rendition of "God Bless America." And she moved her legs in time to the music as tap dancers performed to "Rock Around the Clock."

She smiled when approached by a photographer, extending her arm to grasp his hand, and she ate cake wearing a gold-colored paper crown.

Although the center observes birthdays every month, this was the first centenarian birthday celebration, according to senior center director Karen Larrimore. Adams will turn 100 on Sept. 26.

As part of the celebration, Adams' daughter, Irene DeMercado, 76, of Taylorsville, and seven other members of a tap-dancing class at the senior center performed a dance routine.

Wearing flowered hats, pink and red feather boas, and purple sequined vests, the dancers began their eight-song show by circling through the crowd. One senior even joined in, to the delight of the crowd.

The tappers broke out gold-colored hats and showed off with solos for the finale.

"Do you see how she's keeping time with the music?" said Ruth Anne Schlosser of Eldersburg, one of about 50 members attending the celebration. "I've never seen a 100-year-old person before."

Adams' son, Sid Arnold, and his wife, Gladys, who are on a monthlong visit from the family's hometown of Leicester, England, also attended the celebration.

Adams was born in Leicester in 1904 and lived there most of her life. She married Lawrence Arnold in 1923 and they had four children.

"She had a real hard life after my dad died," Arnold said.

He said his mother worked in a hospital and a boot and shoe factory, leaving Arnold and his siblings to take care of all the household chores.

After the death of her second husband, Jack Adams, Lillian Adams moved in 1960 to Carroll County, where DeMercado lived.

"Don't look at her and think she's just a little old lady - she's had a wonderful, wonderful life," said Marta Williams of Pikesville, DeMercado's sister-in-law.

"She has seen more of America than many Americans," said Arnold, noting how his mother loved to travel.

During the past 20 years, Adams became a regular member of the senior center, participating in various activities, including knitting and ceramics.

"She gives us a lot of pleasure. We have fun here," said Fran Magill of Eldersburg, one of the tap dancers.

Adams also received flowers from the staff and members of the senior activities center, as well as a certificate from the Carroll County commissioners, honoring her on her 100th birthday.

Adams has limited speaking ability and recently injured her wrist in a fall at the Bloom Valley Senior Care Center, where she resides.

But she never complains, said DeMercado.

"Whenever you ask her how she is, she says, `I'm breathing,'" said Larrimore.

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