BY NICK DIAMANTIDES
The world has changed a lot since 1908, but it all happened so gradually that Trease Booth took it all in stride. The North Long Beach resident was born September 9, one hundred years ago in Salem, West Virginia. “We didn’t have a car when I was a little girl,” she said. “We walked everywhere we went, so I guess you could say life moved at a slower pace.”
During her early years, her family did not have a phone either, but nobody they knew had one so they didn’t feel as if they were missing out on anything. “We got a phone eventually,” she said, adding that in the early 1900s not everyone felt that a phone was a necessity.
This Saturday, Trease’s family is throwing a birthday bash for her in Huntington Harbor, at the home of her one surviving son, Lloyd. “We just think she is a remarkable woman,” said her daughter and caregiver Diane Booth. “We are throwing a party for her to celebrate her life and to show her how much she means to us.” Diane, who graduated from Jordan High School in 1953, retired after many years as a realtor a few years ago and has been looking after her mother ever since then.
According to Diane, Trease married William Booth while she was still a teenager and they moved to Arkansas soon after that. William later became a doctor of chiropractic. He and Trease eventually settled in Long Beach, where Diane was born.
“My mom got her diploma from Jordan High School after attending night classes for a while,” Diane said. “My mom was always active in the community and volunteered much of her time to help people; she even started tap dancing when she was 75.”
According to Diane, Trease became part of a dance troupe called the Senior Sensations that performed during many events in the Long Beach area. “The group was organized by the Weingart Senior Center in Lakewood, and they always introduced her and made her the star of the show because she was the oldest member of the group,” Diane said. “She performed at the Buffums Center in Long Beach when it opened, and performed in various malls and convalescent homes.”
Diane noted that the Senior Sensations were very well known and brought smiles to many faces. “It made a lot of people happy to see some senior citizens performing,” she said. “They wore their tutus and their leotards and their boas and they really looked cute.”
She noted that Trease is alert most of the time, but does have some difficulty with short-term memory loss.
Trease said that a century of living has not worn her out. “I feel fine. I feel good,” she said. “I don’t know what the secret is to living for a hundred years, but I never drank alcohol and I never smoked. I have always lived a good, clean life.”
She has experienced her share of grief however. “A couple of my children passed away when they were small,” she said. One her sons died in adulthood and one of her grandchildren also died. Her husband passed away in 1976, after 50 years of marriage.
Still, Trease cherishes her happy memories. “I always had a good family,” she said. “I had a good mother and father, good brothers and sisters and never went through any stress,” she said. “Then I had a wonderful husband and wonderful children and grandchildren. I have lived a good life.”
“My brother is going all out to make her birthday party a really good celebration,” Diane said. “We are very happy and excited that we can do this for her.”
BY NICK DIAMANTIDES