It is not very often that one can say they have reached the century mark. However, Dorothy Armstrong, a resident at Drury Place, can proudly say that she has. Today is her 100th birthday.
For her it is not something she planned, it is not a goal she finally accomplished, and it is not a milestone she finally reached. For Armstrong, it is another day, another quiet celebration, another year of her life.
“I never expected it,” Armstrong said. “It never even dawned on me, but you know, you don’t make a whole lot of plans at this age.”
Armstrong lived in Topeka for 96 years before coming to Lawrence and graduated from Washburn University in 1932. She describes her life as very simple and common — nothing to make a big fuss about. Sure she has traveled the world, raised a family and created countless friendships, but ask her how she feels about turning 100 and she will just wave her hand and respond with gentle modesty. Perhaps it is because a lot of her friends were not so fortunate.
“My friends are gone,” Armstrong said. “I have three people coming from Topeka and that’s all that’s there after all these years.”
Turning 100 did not feel any different for Armstrong, except perhaps for the fact that others made such a big deal of it. Her only future goals are to stay healthy and take each day as it comes. She hopes nobody will waste presents on her.
“I don’t need anything and I don’t want anything,” Armstrong said.
Today, she will have a small family celebration and spend time with loved ones. Her son, Chris Armstrong, said his mother was never one to make a big fuss of things.
“When you’ve had 99 other birthdays, one more isn’t that different,” Armstrong said. “We feel very fortunate to have her and we just want her to enjoy life.”
The birthday girl did hint to one small preference: “If we’re going to have cake, I choose chocolate.”