Few live for a whole century, and even fewer can remain active after so many years of living. Looking into the eyes of Ruth Waxter, it’s easy to see why the little girl who once climbed her dad’s barn just for fun is still around.
This week, Forsyth County Senior Services highlighted a milestone as one of its own, Ruth Waxter, born on Dec. 16, 1917, celebrated her centennial birthday. She did it in style, with candy, cake and a slideshow highlighting her life and the history that she has lived through.
“A 100th birthday is a major milestone that calls for a celebration,” said Ruthie Brew, director of Forsyth County Senior Services.
“She has lived such an amazing life, and she is extraordinary even among her peers, 20 years her junior.”
The centerpiece of the event was a slideshow put together by Waxter’s family, chronicling her life.
One story told of how a young Waxter scaled her father’s barn to straddle its peak like she would have ridden a horse.
“She saw her daddy coming and scampered to climb down the ladder only to trip and fall, but she was caught at the last moment by her dad,” said Lois Folkenberg, Waxter’s daughter. “She really was a rascal.”
That rascal-like energy is what many suggest is the reason of Waxter’s longevity.
“She’s always been a strong person as a character and physically strong. She could out-work me in the garden until she was almost 85,” Folkenberg said. “She’s still able to walk on her own, she climbs stairs to her bedroom, and when you think about that she’s still quite mobile.”
When asked what her secret to a long life is, she explains that being happy, loving everybody, and being adventurous is the only secret she has.
Even into her 90s Waxter lived an adventurous life. At the age of 93 she traveled by motorcycle down the Tail of the Dragon, a winding 11-mile stretch of mountain pass famous for its 318 curves.
“Oh I love to go motorcycle riding,” Waxter exclaims when asked about her trip. “I would do it again today if somebody let me.”
Today, Waxter is a regular at the Charles Place Forsyth County Senior center, attending nearly every day to see her friends.
“And she’s good at it too. That’s the farm girl in her.” Folkenberg said.
The Charles Place center is open to seniors 60 and up from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. The center and its congregate program focuses on the fitness and wellness of its members by providing exercise classes, nutritious meals and activities to strengthen mental acuity.
“Really, senior centers are about celebrating life,” Brew said. “This is a place to have fun, so we celebrate life every opportunity we have.”