WACO, Texas (KWTX) It was a bash of a party Tuesday in the foyer at Quality Care of Waco's retirement center Tuesday as one of the residents celebrated her 108th birthday.
(Photo by Paul J. Gately)
Evelyn Hughes was born 108 years ago today in Sunny Side, a few miles west-northwest of Houston, and she said she lived and worked in those parts for most of her life.
She spent her working life as a highly-skilled bookkeeper, using a new, fancy, 100-key adding machine, keeping track of sales and payments and the like.
"I loved that job, just loved it," she said, "and I worked hard for many years, a long time," but she couldn't quite remember just how many years.
"I can't remember how many years, a lot," but, she did recall that her boss “was kind of a jerk. I had a rotten boss."
This point is now essential: She speaks her mind, loudly and with force and doesn't really care what anybody who hears it thinks.
Several staff had gathered in the entryway to take part in the festivities Tuesday morning where they'd arranged a big birthday cake, balloons, holiday decorations, of course, and a special corner for Mrs. Hughes.
When staff wheeled her into the foyer for the surprise, her first comment was: "What the hell's all this?"
It took a minute, but center manager Jonathan Moore explained to Mrs. Hughes that everyone was gathered there Tuesday morning to celebrate her birthday.
"Do I get a cake?” she asked.
"How old am I, anyway?"
Mrs. Hughes may use a wheelchair and she has a lot of trouble hearing, but she has no trouble being the life of a party at all.
Moore explained there was a cake and told her she could have anything for lunch she wanted.
No contest there,
Whitney Jester, one of the administrators at the center said, "She absolutely loves hamburgers and a coke. It's her favorite thing on earth."
Can I have a hamburger and get a coke," she asked Moore, immediately after which she said more emphatically, "I'll have a hamburger… and a Coke! Can I get that right now?"
To sit and look at her or hear her speak, one would think she was 30-years younger.
Her eyes are bright, her hair, though quite gray, full and well kept, it hard for her to hear these days, but other than that she could run a race.
To think when she was 1 year old, the first Indianapolis 500 ran, then when she was 2 the Titanic sank and Hellman's mayonnaise was invented.
When she was 19, the Congress passed the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which gave women the right to vote, something she says she's done every time she had the opportunity since she turned 21.
"When do I get that hamburger," she blurted loudly during a lull in the party. "I'm ready for it now."
Moore already had dispatched a worker to Tom's Burgers, one of her local favorites, and was on the way back with lunch.
Those gathered all said it was immense fun and a high honor to have been able to celebrate 108 years with Mrs. Hughes, in spite of the fact that some of them were the targets of her humor.
Those gathered sang an impromptu "Happy Birthday" to Mrs. Hughes, although they told her they were singing because they weren't sure she could hear it.
She caught on pretty quick, and at the end of the song said: "Where's my hamburger."