Monday, January 4 was not just another Monday at the Gladys Lemmons Senior Center. It was a day, which marked the 107th birthday of Oakdale resident Vera Piccetti.
The celebration of Piccetti’s birth has evolved over the years to a bit of a tradition spearheaded by Oakdale Recreation Supervisor Linda Royalty. According to Royalty, the celebration was originally begun by a friend of Piccetti’s prior to her reaching her 100th birthday.
For the past seven years Piccetti has enjoyed a hot lunch followed by cake and gifts as her friends and peers help her not only ring in a new year, but to celebrate another birthday.
Born January 4, 1903 in South Dakota, Piccetti tipped the scales at three-and-a-half pounds at birth.
In a 2003 Oakdale Leader article, Piccetti shared that at the time of her birth, hospitals were not equipped with incubators for premature babies. Her parents would place her in the oven to keep her warm and act as a pseudo-womb for the infant.
“So I’ve always said I’m half-baked,” she stated in the 2003 article. “Now look what they (hospitals) have - everything.”
During that interview just prior to turning 100 she also said, “I don’t believe I’m 100 yet. My neighbor said he doesn’t believe it. He thinks they made a mistake on my birth certificate.
“But they didn’t have birth certificates then,” she added.
Seven years later, at 107, Piccetti still gets around with a little help from her walker. While she may have given up driving at 97, she still makes it to the Senior Center each week. She enjoys lunch at the Senior Center every Monday, followed by a good game of Bingo.
This year Pastor Phil Rohrer of River Oak Grace Church and Mayor Pro Tem Kathy Morgan were among the many well wishers who turned out to celebrate Piccetti.
Pastor Phil offered a prayer and led the group in a chorus of Happy Birthday. Mayor Pro Tem Morgan presented Piccetti with an Oakdale Certificate of Recognition to mark the historic day.
“I want to thank everyone for what they’ve done,” the birthday girl said to the group. “I love them all.”
And as with every year, she beamed with pride as she looked at her cake and encouraged everyone to help themselves to a little dessert.