Happy 100th Birthday To Marjorie Close
Published: May 23rd, 2024
By: Kelli Miller

Happy 100th  birthday to Marjorie Close One of Norwich's long time residents Marjorie Close, will be turning 100 on May 26, and will celebrate this weekend with two parties. She is a self-taught artist and stands in front of three of her oil paintings on her living room wall. (Photo by Kelli Miller)

NORWICH — One of Norwich's long time residents, Marjorie Close, will be turning 100 on May 26, and will celebrate with not only one, but two birthday parties.

She said one party will be on Saturday, May 25, at Peacock Park Manor; where she was once president and has resided for over 30 years and the second party will be on her birthday, May 26, at the Baptist Church where she is a member and taught Sunday School for 25 years.

Marjorie was born May 26, 1924, in Randallsville, New York and went to school in Hamilton. Her family consisted of two parents and nine children and she had three brothers and five sisters.

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She said her father was very smart man and at 16 years of age, his father died, so her father took over the family grist mill and ran the saw mill and planing mill.

“We grew up on that farm and helped with the mill, pulling lumber off the racks and things,” she said. “But it didn't seem like work because there were nine of us kids and it was a lot of fun.”

Marjorie said she never married or had children; along with her brothers, they too stayed single. She said her sisters married and had a total of twelve nieces and nephews.

When her oldest sister and her children visited from Pennsylvania, she enjoyed her nieces and nephews so much” she said. “They were so good to me.”

She remembered when World War II started and said they were on food rations, but never went hungry. She said her brothers John and Bill were both in the service.

“I came home and heard the war had started, it was awful,” she said.

“And years later, when I heard it ended, it was grand, we were so happy and we celebrated,” said Marjorie. “Everyone was so grateful they didn't lose their family members, because so many did.”

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Her first job was at the Box Factory in Earlville, where she worked for 11 years until she was laid off. She said that's when she came to Norwich and saw the beautiful city and the hospital and said 'this is the place to live'.

Shortly after moving to Norwich, she was employed by the shoe factory for 33 years.

“A lot of the industries are gone now but I sure had a good boss, they were so good to me,” she added.

She said one time the family had a fire at their house because of an accident that happened while they were burning wood for heat. She had to go home for a week to take care of things and help her sister that lived next door to the family farm.

“It was good she was there,” she added.

“I was going to use my vacation time to go and help my family, but my boss said 'you're not going to use your vacation' and he paid me for that week,” Marjorie said. “He was so nice.”

Marjorie has lived in Norwich for over 50 years and once lived in a house with a garden on Front Street. She is a charter member of Norwich Fine Arts and said she may be the only one alive that is a charter member.

I love Norwich, I can't imaging living anywhere else,” said Marjorie. “The people are so nice and I just love it here,” she said.

Marjorie is a self taught artist and her house used to be filled with many of her own oil paintings. She still has a few of them left on her living room walls, one being of their family grist mill.

She said she would buy her art supplies at Brightmans in Norwich on North Broad.

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“It used to be an everything store, including hardware and seeds,” said Marjorie.

She also enjoys gardening and has plants in her window and takes care of a little triangle plot of a garden on the grounds at the manor.

Her daily routine starts with a warm cup of tea but sometimes it’s a slow start.

“When I get up in the morning, I fill up my teapot and sometimes forget to turn the electric on,” she said.

“I'll go back to see what's going on and I realize I forgot the electric,” she added. “ I do that sometimes.”

“Maybe I did turn it on, maybe I didn’t,” she said. “But don't lose your sense of humor about it.”

Marjorie explained her eyesight is going and her balance is getting bad, so she's not taking as many walks as she used to. Recently, she had a tussle with her ironing board.

“When I put the board down, something in my shoulder snapped,” Marjorie said. “I knew I broke something, but the doctor didn't find anything.”

She continues to knit mittens and used to knit 30 pair every year for Head Start. She said last year was more difficult, and she only knit 19 pair.

“I should have saved one pair for myself, but I didn't,” she added. “I also knit pillows and every pillow has a different color and pattern.”

Marjorie loves all foods, and still bakes. She bakes brownies, banana bread, and recently baked a strawberry pie.

“The strawberries taste much better in a pie than on a biscuit,” she said. “I just love the crust with the fruit and can't wait for lunch to have another slice.”

Marjorie said she believes staying happy, having faith and taking care of others, has led to her long life.