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Born on the Fourth of July -- 100 years ago

July 01, 2010|By LUCIA TAYO
  • Pauline Schlotterbeck of Williamsport will celebrate her 100th birthday on July 4, 2010.
By Colleen McGrath/Staff Photographer,

Her family sat in the living room of their Hagerstown home, patiently awaiting for her to arrive. When Pauline Schlotterbeck came into the room, a red, white and blue flower in her hair and patriotic necklaces gave testimony to preparations for her 100th birthday on Independence Day.

"I guess I'm glad that I was born on the Fourth of July," she said.

Her son, Earl Schlotterbeck Jr., said this birthday is "a moment to celebrate bringing the family together, the country and celebration of her life."

He described his mother as bright, innovative and fit for her age. He said she goes to Ravenwood Lutheran Village, a nursing care center, three times a week to participate in activities that help her maintain an active lifestyle.

"I went to get her today and they were dancing to 'YMCA,'" he said.

Pauline grew up in Hagerstown and attended college in Towson, Md. After college, she taught at Broadway School and Pangborn Elementary.

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She and her late husband, Earl Schlotterbeck Sr., had three children, Earl Jr., Kirk and Karl Schlotterbeck.

Jessica Schlotterbeck, Earl's wife, recalled special moments at Pauline's previous birthday parties.

"She would do a trick every birthday, something someone her age wouldn't do," Jessica Schlotterbeck said.

Earl Schlotterbeck said that when his mother was in her 80s, there was a time when she was outside doing cartwheels, and another time, she was found hanging upside down on a conversion machine.

For her 90th birthday, he said, Pauline took a motorcycle ride.

Earl said that to celebrate Pauline's birthday this year, the family will go to Antietam National Battlefield for the Maryland Symphony Orchestra's Salute to Independence on Saturday.

There is to be a party Sunday at which the decorations will have a patriotic red, white, and blue theme, and family and friends from across the country will attend, Jessica Schlotterbeck said.

During the party, she said, Pauline will sit at the organ as the guests sing patriotic songs.

"I hope she remembers the love and care her family has put in for her because she doesn't get to see them but once a year. Everybody that will be here wants to celebrate her life," Jessica Schlotterbeck said.

Jessica Schlotterbeck said that in observance of reaching the century mark, her mother-in-law received a birthday card signed by President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama.

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