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So You Want to Live to Be 100?

Alice Dobson can be your role-model

Miss Alice, as she's known, will turn 100 this month. She still works full-time as owner / manager at her hotel, the Best Western Evergreen Inn & Suites in Federal Way

Yes, another centenarian is in our midst. In July, Alice Dobson will reach that special age in the decimal system: 100. A rare breed—those who have persevered through one hundred years of life. According to today’s statistics only one in twenty-six people will do so.

We look to those who have reached the age of 100 for advice. Is it exercise, diet, a calm demeanor? What contributes to such a long life? I always contend that it is the genes you were born with. But I do look to people like Alice to lead the way into the future.

Anyone who has reached that milestone is always queried about their lifestyle. When Alice is asked she replies, “Be ready for whatever comes. Don’t harbor thoughts of getting even; it burns your heart and soul. Before you go to bed at night, let go of anger and count all the good things on your fingers. Appreciate the simple things in life.”

I did not meet Alice until after I had known her sister, Chris, for a year or so.

Chris and I were Rosie the Riveters, although Chris always felt she deserved that title more than I did…she actually riveted during WWII while I drilled holes in wing panels for the B-17 bomber.

I remember the first time Chris drove me to her sister Alice’s hotel for lunch. For many years Alice lived in Seattle’s Georgetown neighborhood and took the bus four days a week to her hotel, the Best Western Evergreen Inn & Suites in Federal Way, where she remains manager and principal owner. When asked why she didn’t live in the hotel in those earlier years, Alice said she enjoyed visiting with the people who rode her bus every day. And she enjoyed taking care of her home and garden. Alice also has fond memories of living in the now-famous town of Walnut Grove—the early home of the Wilder family of old. You can still tune in to their life by watching the Little House on the Prairie TV series every day.

Imagine all the years that Alice commuted to her hotel, where she is known as “Miss Alice.” She finally moved in last year so she can still be on duty.

“I’ve been working here for 15 years, ever since it was built,” she says. “When I used to commute here, I worked 6 hours a day. Now that I live here, I’m working even more! I’m in good health. I can still walk, I can still work.”

When asked what it was like to move from her home of many years to the hotel, Alice replied: “In my life I’ve always done what I had to do, whatever was necessary or needed to be taken care of. If I had to move, I made up my mind that I was going to enjoy it. Same with work or anything else. I’m still here at my age, and I make up my mind I’m going to enjoy it.

Alice’s advice for climbing the ladder of success is to “prepare for every opportunity and make the most of it without any fanfare.”

Let’s celebrate with Alice as she reaches that milestone, 100 years of age. Her family’s annual picnic gathering will be extra special this year as they celebrate one of the rare centenarians of our time. Imagine the stories Alice can tell about the old days.

No, you don’t have to overachieve like Alice to live to a ripe old age. Alice says, “Just live well, exercise often and reach out into community. And feel fortunate that you were born with long genes.”

Georgie Bright Kunkel is a freelance writer who can be reached at 206-935-8663 or gnkunkel@comcast.net

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