Life at the Beach Awash in Food, Fund-Raising Events

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Byline: Jackie Rooney, Shorelines columnist

From April 21 to May 21, the sun passed through Taurus; it's a sign I understand well. I married a Taurus despite astrological advice warning against a Taurus-Leo union. It was the only marital contraindication my mother-in-law didn't think of.

After 37 years of wedded bliss, I think it might work out. After all, The Coffee Table Book of Astrology, edited by John Lynch, describes Taurus as steadfast, persistent in the face of adversity and one who "works best when . . . inspired by the love of others, especially of his wife." Nevertheless, the last time I gave my Taurus an inspirational honey-do list, opposing astrological forces seemed to be at work.

The astrology book also said Taureans excel in commercial undertakings and are "very successful in agricultural pursuits." It doesn't mention agricultural mishaps (see reports in past Rooney Bins -- What? You don't save them? -- of lawn disaster, poison oak incident and finger snipping.) Could the stars be wrong? Unless Niccolo Machiavelli, born the same day as my Taurus, had a secret herb garden, I saw no famous farmers on the list of illustrious Taureans, including Oliver Cromwell, Catherine the Great, Harry Truman, Fred Astaire, Bing Crosby, Salvador Dali, Ella Fitzgerald, Margot Fonteyn and Vicar's Landing resident Eva Young.

-- Young, a Taurus born May 18, 1904, received birthday greetings from President Bush on the occasion of her 100th birthday. She celebrated with a large cake, red roses and special visitors. Her nephew, Harold Moyer, and his wife, Edna, niece Mae Goodhart and her husband, Lloyd, and great-niece Kay Weitzel made the two-day drive from Reading, Pa., to be with the family matriarch on her special day. Her good friend Ellen Covey, who has attended Community Presbyterian Church in Atlantic Beach with Eva for 44 years, was there, as were special guardian angels Sandra and Harvey Sharron, who drove from Gainesville with a scrapbook of photos and anecdotes telling of Eva's eventful life.

Eva was a flapper from Kutztown, Pa., who met her husband, Charles, at a dance in Atlantic City, N.J. She tripped and fell at the dance. Harvey recalled that Charles liked to say, "She fell for me the first night."

The lively centenarian took another tumble four weeks before her 100th birthday and had a hip replaced. She was determined to walk to her party, and she did.

"She may be 100, but she has the mind of a 60-year-old; we call her Forever Young," said GiGi Baglioni, assistant activities director at Vicar's.

I have the mind of a 60-year-old, too, but it doesn't work half as well as Eva's. She remembers her life in detail. During the 1930s, she taught elementary school, which she "didn't like at all." Then she was a Pennsylvania Welfare Department social worker, which she "didn't much like either. . . . My best job was working at the post office. I was my own boss, but only when the Republicans were in," she joked, and concluded the secret to a long life is, "Don't think about it."

The Youngs moved to Atlantic Beach in 1945. Their only child, John, graduated from Fletcher High School. Charles died in 1979. John died in 1992, but his best friend, Harvey, promised to look after Eva. A few years ago, the Sharrons took her on a Panama Canal cruise for her birthday, and in 2001, just prior to 9/11, she celebrated her 97th year dining at Windows on the World atop the World Trade Center in New York City. Next year she wants to go to Las Vegas, and "we'll take her," Harvey said.

-- Eva doesn't go back as far as the first recorded birthday celebrations in Egypt, in 3000 B.C. But if she did, I'm certain she'd recall the details. In ancient times, birthdays weren't celebrated for women, with the exception of queens. That was before Botox and facelifts, making it difficult to lie about your age; so why celebrate it?

The Greeks baked birthday cakes and held monthly parties to honor the gods. …