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Happy 100th birthday to a woman who’s young at heart 

  • Sara Blue shares some of her life experiences on her 100th birthday at her home in Hopkinton on Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2018. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Elizabeth Frantz—Monitor staff

  • Sara Blue shares some of her life experiences on her 100th birthday at her daughter’s home in Hopkinton on Wednesday. Elizabeth Frantz / Monitor staff

  • Sara Blue receives a hug from her nephew, Rick Chergey, on her 100th birthday at her home in Hopkinton on Wednesday. Elizabeth Frantz photos / Monitor staff

  • Sara Blue sits at her daughter’s home in Hopkinton on her 100th birthday on Wednesday. She will celebrate Saturday.

  • Sara Blue in her sitting room on her 100th birthday at her home in Hopkinton on Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2018. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Elizabeth Frantz—Monitor staff

  • Sara Blue shares some of her life experiences on her 100th birthday at her home in Hopkinton on Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2018. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Elizabeth Frantz—Monitor staff

  • Sara Blue shares some of her life experiences on her 100th birthday at her home in Hopkinton on Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2018. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Elizabeth Frantz—Monitor staff



Monitor staff
Saturday, January 20, 2018

I was invited to celebrate Sara Blue’s 100th birthday on Wednesday, and I’m here to report that she looks and sounds great.

“God’s been good to me,” Blue said, and she was right.

There were birthday flowers spread around the Contoocook home of Jill Chadwick, one of Blue’s four surviving children. That’s where she’s been living the past five years, since moving here from her lifelong home in New Jersey.

While her “Joisey” accent, for the most part, is gone, her sharpness never dulled during an hour-plus interview. We spoke about the highs and lows of life, the great joy that her children have given her, and the darkness of losing her husband and a child at a young age.

She filled the living room with energy and laughter, talking about her love for dancing and reading, and her taste for a good stiff drink. In fact, the family had gone to a restaurant bar the night before we met. Blue drinks Crown Royal with a splash of water. Or maybe she’ll have an old fashioned.

“The fruit has to be muddled,” she told me. “I love sitting at a bar, with my feet on the brass rail.”

This column grew from an email sent to me by Rick Chergey of Bow, her nephew. He said family, lots of them, were congregating here for a birthday celebration on Saturday night at the Grappone Conference Center.

“Not to be self serving, but this woman is remarkable,” Chergey wrote. “When you meet her you’ll understand why. Such a positive attitude, about life, people.”

He was right. Her family told me one of Blue’s great contributions is the impact she has on young women. As her oldest daughter, Jane Blue of Delaware, told me, “She inspires them. They all want to be like her.”

I can see why.

We sat and talked, me, Chadwick, Jane Blue, Chergey and the star of the show. The birthday girl.

Blue sat on the couch, her hands demurely clasped on her lap. She wore a sweater of black, gray and white. She wore gray slacks. She wore a smile. She expressed appreciation for all the family members coming from as far away as France, plus from 14 states in all, including California, Georgia, the Carolinas and Florida.

“I knew we were going to have a party, but I never, never, never expected something like this,” she said.

Four of her children will be there. Gail, a first-grade teacher in the 1960s, will not. She died suddenly on Sept. 7, 1970, from an aneurysm at the age of 28.

Gail, the first college graduate in the family, “was the sweetest person,” Blue said. “She helped me out babysitting.”

She said Gail taught at Maple Meade School in North Brunswick, N.J., the same elementary school that Blue had attended so many years earlier.

She said Gail’s students drew stick figures with descriptions underneath, and that the school principal turned those drawings into a booklet for the parents. She said her remaining four children gave her the strength to move forward after Gail passed.

She said Gail’s husband, Freddy, was killed in a car crash two years later, leaving two pre-school children, Todd and Kristin, behind.

Sad, yes, but you know what? They’re both coming to Saturday’s party, Todd from Connecticut, Kristin from South Carolina.

She also spoke about her beloved husband, Ross Sr. She loved dancing with him in an American ballroom style called the Peabody. They loved to waltz, too. He died of heart failure 30 years ago after 50 years of marriage.

Blue was a homemaker who raised her children. She canned her own peaches, applesauce and jelly, and “I gave away 150 jars for Christmas presents,” she told me.

She helped build a library at her old grade school, dreamed of dancing with the Rockettes and is bursting with pride that her children have all done so well and stayed close.

“That’s a great woman sitting right over there,” Jane announced. “She just always was giving of herself and she asked for very little in return.”

“I got blessings in return,” Blue responded.

Near the end of our meeting, more flowers – red, white and purple – were delivered to the door. Blue left her cane behind and did what she called the “furniture walk” through the kitchen.

She read the card and said, “These are from old ladies from New Jersey.”

She’ll be honored Saturday night at the Grappone Conference Center. A band named Club Soda will play, to which Blue quipped, “Club Soda? I put that in my Crown Royal.”

The band will play and she will dance with Chergey. She expects her nephew to twirl her around a few times.

“As it’s coming closer and closer, I’m getting more excited,” Blue told me. “We’re going to eat, drink and celebrate. This is not going to happen again for a long time.”