Rich, Addie

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                                             ADDIE RICH
                                            By Gail Savoy


TABUSINTAC – January 22nd will be a big day for Miss Addie Rich. The resident of the Tabusintac Nursing Home will be celebrating her birthday. But this will be no ordinary birthday party. She will be celebrating the fact that she is turning 100 years old.

Addie was born in 1901 in the former town of Chatham. The youngest daughter of Charles and Catherine, she fondly remembers growing up in the family home on Sherriff Street. In an interview at the nursing home she spoke a bit about her life with her family. “We were all close,” said Addie as she spoke of her family which was made up of one brother, Harry, and five sisters: Fanny, Sarah, Gussie, Annie and Sophie. Addie is the last surviving member.

“We walked to Grammar School to get our schooling. After school there were chores to do but we did have time for fun.” Addie recalls playing such games as marbles, tag, hopscotch and skipping.

After her school days were over, she took a secretarial course and moved to Montreal where other family members had settled. A niece who still lives there was able to help fill in the gaps of Addie’s life. “My aunt obtained work at Eaton’s in the office,” said her niece. But her new life in Montreal did not last long. Addie’s parents were elderly and as her niece put it, “She was needed at home.”

Living in the family with Charles and Catherine was Addie’s sister Annie, her husband and their family of which the niece was a member. “My mother ran a dress shop down on Water Street. In addition to caring for my grandparents, Addie helped my mother in the shop.” She recalls Addie going down every day at noon to relieve her mother so she could come home for lunch.

Addie also spoke of the afternoons she spent working at the dress shop. When asked about the changing fashions throughout the years she gave a little chuckle. “Sometimes they were long, sometimes they were short,” she said of the dresses.

Life devoted to extended family

As a spinster, Addie chose to devote her life to her extended family. “Our aunt Addie was around us for a lifetime. She was a very special person to us all,” her niece said. “We are a large supportive family and we are very fond of her.”

This fondness was also expressed by Addie. Throughout the interview she spent a great deal of time talking about her many nieces and nephews and the successes they made with their choices in life.

Later in her life Addie began doing a lot of volunteer work with various organizations in the area. She raised lots of funds for many worthy causes. “Aunt Addie would leave no stone unturned to get money for a project,” the niece said.

Addie remained in the family home on Sherriff Street until well into her eighties. At that point health problems forced her to find alternative care. “I was always healthy,” said Addie. “I hardly ever went to the doctor in my life. My problem is my legs.”

After leaving the family home, Addie went to live in a special care home in Black River Bridge. After a number of happy years there she was transferred to the Tabusintac Nursing Home. This is where she will be on Monday celebrating her special milestone by enjoying a huge birthday cake and spending the day on the phone with her extended family.

“Unfortunately we cannot be there with Aunt Addie but we will keep her spirits up with numerous phone calls,” said her niece about her cousins who are spread across the country.

When Addie was asked about the changes she has seen in her lifetime she just shrugged and said, “I’m satisfied.”

It is a simple statement everyone could benefit from.


Source: Miramichi Leader Weekend – January 19, 2001

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