108-year-old is ready for Mexico.


COLUMN: From the Deck

Elizabeth T. Gauthier leaned forward in the chair in the living room of her home in the Rockdale part of Northbridge where she has lived for 50 years and made it perfectly clear she is doing just fine.

"My health is good," she said. "But my hearing is bad."

And that's not surprising, seeing that she turned 108 June 5.

That's right, 108 - and plans are already under way for this year's trip to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

Mrs. Gauthier, who shares her home with her son, Edgar A. Gauthier, a mere 76 years old, was honored with a proclamation recently at a selectmen's meeting.

"It was an honor," she said.

"This has been more like birth month," said Edgar, who was a French and Latin teacher and head of the upper school at Worcester's Bancroft School, as well as interim headmaster, before retiring earlier this week.

Mrs. Gauthier has been serenaded by choruses of "Happy Birthday" at many places during the past week or so, including after Mass last weekend at St. Peter's Parish in Rockdale - or as they say in that part of town, "Rock-a-Dale."

"I don't miss Mass and I go to all the Holy Days of Obligation," she said proudly.

Mrs. Gauthier also received about six pounds of Godiva chocolate for birthday presents.

"Nobody loves chocolate the way I do," she said.

She broke her hip in November 2007 and uses a walker, and Edgar acknowledges there were, shall we say, some risks involved when surgery was needed to fix the damage. He said he apprised his mother of the risks and she said, "I'll take my chances. If God wants to bring me home, I'm old enough to go."

Mrs. Gauthier goes to the Valley Beauty Salon in South Grafton every other week, and owner Arlene J. Kasper says she and her other customers are always happy to see her come through the front door.

"She's an amazing lady,' said Ms. Kasper. "She's an inspiration to all of us."

Ms. Kasper said that even though Mrs. Gauthier is 108 she's still on top of her game.

And so she is.

She voted for the first time in November 1928, after having seen Democratic presidential candidate Al Smith in New York City the month before while on her honeymoon.

When asked who her favorite...

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