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MARILYN HAGERTY: Birthday distinction: Grand Forks woman will be 101 on 11/11/11

She was born Nov. 11, 1910. And this coming Thursday, Cecilia Adams of Grand Forks will be celebrate her 101st birthday on 11/11/11. There will be a celebration, of course, but probably not as big as last year on her 100th birthday. At that time,...

She was born Nov. 11, 1910. And this coming Thursday, Cecilia Adams of Grand Forks will be celebrate her 101st birthday on 11/11/11.

There will be a celebration, of course, but probably not as big as last year on her 100th birthday. At that time, friends and family made her Queen for a Day and celebrated at her home church of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Reynolds, N.D.

Among others getting ready to celebrate Friday is Jordan Robles of Grand Forks. He's a fifth grader at Ben Franklin school and will be 11 on 11/11/11. He shares his Nov. 11 birthday with his grandmother, Nancy McKay of East Grand Forks. She will be 53 on 11/11/11.

When he grows up, Jordan would like to be in a band and play the drums. He likes to play soccer. He likes to eat tacos.

He doesn't know Cecilia Adams but is impressed with her longevity. She lives quietly in her own apartment at St. Anne's Guest Home and takes one day at a time. She makes afghans for grandchildren and watches the "The Bold and the Beautiful" on television.

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It goes without saying -- most of her old friends have died. Her daughter, Elizabeth Ann Adams, and others come to visit. "Sometimes," Cecilia says, "they bring meals. Something like Kentucky Fried Chicken."

Sundays, she eats in the dining room at St. Anne's. The rest of the week she fixes her own meals with groceries her daughter brings in. She eats a little of everything and especially likes vegetables and lettuce. And she says, "I'm not much for sweets."

A year ago, Cecilia Adams was going out for walks of eight blocks around the St. Anne's neighborhood. Now she stays inside and gets her walking in the hallways. She has had a problem with swelling in her legs.

She finds comfort when she attends Mass at 9 a.m. each morning in the chapel. After that she goes to the recreation room and hears current events and does exercises. In the afternoon she likes the dice and card games.

Cecilia Williams was one of 12 children born to John and Margaret Beitze Knipe on the family farm near Reynolds. She remembers World War I, but her father was not called from the farm.

She walked a mile and half to school but never had a chance to finish the eighth grade. That, she said, was because the teacher had sleeping sickness. She helped her dad on the farm -- three quarters of land where they raised wheat, oats, barley, flax, corn and potatoes. She enjoyed working in the fields and riding horses long before tractors came into use. Her mother kept a large garden.

She was married 82 years ago in St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church of Hillsboro, N.D., to Fred Adams. He also was a farmer near Reynolds and they had two children: Elizabeth Adams, who kept her maiden name when she married an Adams, and a son, Raymond Adams, who has stayed on the farm.

Work was a way of life for Cecilia Adams. At one time, she was baking and decorating cakes for weddings and anniversaries.

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These days, she never thinks about age. She used to think 50 was old. Now she just keeps going and figures, "What will be, will be." She finds it hard to read because, she says, "the print disappears." She can see well enough for most activities.

"You can sit in your room if you want to," she figures. But she likes to get out. "We play bingo. You don't get lonesome if you get out and be with other people."

And at 101 she doesn't think about the bad things that have happened. "No use worrying about that, and you can't do anything about it."

Reach Hagerty at mhagerty@gra.midco.net or (701) 772-1055.

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