West Bloomfield resident Rose Lesson was a ball of emotions during her 100th birthday party.
“It is wonderful because everybody is congratulating me and wishing me good things,” she said. “That is a blessing.”
The silver-haired centenarian blew out her candles May 10, among dozens of loved ones and friends who celebrated with her at Regent Street of West Bloomfield, 4460 Orchard Lake Road.
Displayed on one of the walls were photos of Lesson throughout the years, congratulatory messages, and a few notes from Lone Pine Elementary School students stating what they plan to do when they turn 100. Some said they plan to live at Regent Street when they turn triple digits. In total, the students sent in 100 responses.
“I feel overwhelmed,” she told C & G during the birthday party. “I feel kind of nervous. So much excitement. So much attention.”
Lesson said she is not used to the fuss because she has lived a very quiet life.
“Not much excitement, but everyday good living,” she said.
Lesson, born May 10, 1913, in Rochester, N.Y., was married for one month shy of 75 years; her husband, Sam Lesson, died at around 100 years old.
“When I was younger, I was a sales lady, then I got married quite young,” she said. “I got married at 19 years old. After that, everything was very quiet.”
Lesson is one of 12 children. Her only child, Edwin Lesson, died years earlier.
Lesson said she probably has lived to be 100 because she stayed on the “straight and narrow” and obeyed the rules.
Lesson said she did not feel 100 years old. Many people can attest that she doesn’t look it, either. Well-wishers told her during the party how young and beautiful she looked. She could easily pass for 80 years old.
“One day after another, it has come to this,” she said of her age.
Regent Street resident Anne Ross said Lesson, whom she calls her friend, is “absolutely precious.”
“I sit next to her at the dinner table,” Ross said during the party. “She is absolutely adorable. We have nice conversations together. She is the sweetest lady. She is an absolutely gorgeous lady. Sweet as can be.”
Lesson’s brother-in-law and West Bloomfield resident Al Rasof planned her birthday party.
“It gives them something to do,” he told C & G during the party. “In a place like this, that is very important. This is like an activity. It is festive.”
Rasof, who teared up several times, said he and his sister-in-law are close.
“I want to share my joy for Rose,” he said. “I have known her since 1942. She was very close to my wife. I feel it is important that Rose has been here. Rose has been here for 100 years.”
Rasof said he purchased a sound system for Lesson and students at Lone Pine Elementary School.
Regent Activity Director Cindy Kashdan said because the community is close, the party was more intimate and meaningful to Lesson and everyone involved.
“People can decorate and people can make a nice table and everything, but it is really these kinds of connections that make a meaningful experience for the resident,” she said.
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