XENIA — A positive outlook on life is one of those “keys to success” in aging for Millicent Bates, and she certainly has much to smile back on during her life travels.
Bates, a current resident at Legacy Village, will celebrate her 100th birthday on Saturday and reflected on life during a party held in her honor Thursday. She was joined by family, friends, and housemates during the afternoon get together.
“I’ve never had so many pictures taken of me or said ‘cheese’ so often,” Bates said.
She grew up in Sparta, Illinois, along with a sister and six brothers, four of which served in World War II. Her father was an Englishman and immigrated to the United States near her time of birth in the depression era. Millie is named after her grandmother.
After marrying Joseph Clark Bates in 1942, the two were frequent travelers of the world, which was primarily accomplished through usage of their own plane which they flew together. Stops to visit her heritage in England, visiting Canada or the Bahamas, living for several years in Australia, and flying over most of Europe made up her time before eventually settling in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Millie came to Ohio in 2007 to be near one of her daughters when Joseph died due to pancreatic cancer after 58 years of marriage.
She now likes to write poetry and is known for her puns, referring to her current residence as the ‘punitentiary’ which drew laughs from two of her favorite nurses.
With encouragement from family, she has also written her own memoir, compiling nearly 250 pages with detailed information of her heritage and pictures from her life. It was placed on display by her daughter during Thursday’s celebration for those in attendance to look through.
Also on display were congratulatory wishes from Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and Lt. Gov. Jon Husted on reaching 100 years of age, as well as notes on 20th century innovations and 1922, her year of birth.
Bates said she is looking forward to her family celebration on Saturday and noted how she is ready to have a glass of champagne which she frequented because there’s always something to celebrate. She plans to read a prepared poem that is sort of a saga of her life.
She believes self attitude has much to do with ones current state and is most grateful for her mental health. She said with no complaints of her wonderful life, she is able to count her blessings with her family at the top of a very long list and looks forward to more time spent being happy.
“I’ve always tried to be an optimist and look on the bright side of things,” Bates said. “My father has a saying that the difference between optimism and pessimism was droll. One will see the donut and the other sees the hole. I think a sense of humor and a positive attitude will carry you a long way down the road.”