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Friends, family join Hagerstown woman in celebration of her 108th birthday

February 16, 2013|By ALICIA NOTARIANNI | alnotarianni@aol.com
  • Ida Kate Grimes, 108, of Hagerstown, right, celebrates her birthday Saturday with caregiver Marianne Cline and Cooper Cline, 10, at her West End home.
By Alicia Notarianni/Herald-Mail Reporter

Ida Kate Grimes sat contentedly in a recliner early Saturday evening, chiming in from time to time as family and friends shared stories and memories of her life.

There were plenty of volumes to share, as Grimes was celebrating her 108th birthday.

Born in a house on Vermont Street in Williamsport, Grimes eventually moved to another home just across the street. Nine months ago, she moved to the West End home of Marianne Cline, 57, who has been her caregiver for nearly six years.

About 20 friends and family members stopped by Cline’s house throughout the day. When they lighted the candles and sang “Happy Birthday,” Grimes sang along. Then, she enjoyed some chocolate cake, chocolate ice cream and cheese puffs.

“She loves her sweets,” Cline said.

Bouquets of flowers and greeting cards covered the end tables and armoire near Grimes. She received gifts of chocolates and some new pajamas and sweat shirts.

Grimes spends much of her time listening to country music and praying, her family said.

Shirley McFarland, 77, of Williamsport, said she was born and raised in a home right next door to Grimes.

“She used to say she changed my diapers,” McFarland said. “My parents lived next door to her for 74 years.”

McFarland said she is not surprised Grimes has lived to such maturity. While she had three brothers who passed away at moderate ages, she also had three sisters who lived to be 100 and another who lived to be 99.

“She always said she would live to be 110,” McFarland said.

Grimes never married despite a couple of proposals, McFarland said, saying she needed to care for her sisters and would not let them go to a nursing home.

McFarland said Grimes went to what now is known as Frostburg State University and taught school for 45 years, first in a two-room schoolhouse on Pinesburg Road in Williamsport, then later at Surrey Elementary School in Hagerstown.

Grimes still reminisces about her days as a teacher. She recently told Cline about a young man who persistently taunted her and made fun of her hair.

“She told me he would say, ‘Look at that ugly red hair,’” Cline said. “One day, she got two of his friends, one held him by the hands and the other held him by the feet, and she paddled him.”

In general, though, friends and family said Grimes always has been very kind and loves children. Cline’s grandson, Cooper Cline, 10, of Hagerstown, has known her for years and thinks of her as a grandmother. He fondly calls her “pretty lady” and spends time just talking with her each day.

On Saturday, Cooper knelt next to Grimes, holding her hand and chatting about her birthday celebration.

“This is exactly what I wanted,” Grimes said.

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