The COVID-19 pandemic meant there would be no birthday party for Ruby Plegge this year. But the virus didn't stop some of her family from stopping by to celebrate. “A few of us visited with our …
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The COVID-19 pandemic meant there would be no birthday party for Ruby Plegge this year. But the virus didn't stop some of her family from stopping by to celebrate.
“A few of us visited with our masks on,” said Plegge's granddaughter, Jeanie Collins. “And then she just had a lot of birthday cards and flowers and cake. I think it was a good birthday considering that she was not able to have a real party.”
It was also perhaps fitting that such an unusual celebration came in a year in which Plegge was celebrating a most extraordinary birthday: her 105th.
It's a number that awes, but perhaps doesn't surprise her family, particularly since Plegge still lives at home with her son and continues to enjoy hobbies like quilting and crocheting.
“You kind of just can't believe it,” said Collins. “It's kind of like wow 105, what she must have seen over the years as far as technology and all of that. Trains, planes and everything.”
That long life span also means Plegge, who grew up in Arkansas but has lived in Golden since 1945, is no stranger to serious diseases that can the world upside down. Although Plegge was only three during the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic, she recounted to her son how she her whole family got sick with a serious influenza in 1948.
“At one point she thought it was going to wipe them all out,” she told him. “But she had it and still took care of her grandchild.”
Although Plegge no longer sees well and needs some assistance to walk, Collins said she remains as sharp as ever.
“Oh yeah she remembers stuff,” Collins said. “I can give you the month but she knows it to the day.”
That seems particularly impressive given that Plegge has three children, 12 grandkids, nine great-grandkids and five great-great-grandkids.
So what's behind Plegge's longevity?
“I think to be honest with you it's having my brother living with her to help her get around and having that interaction daily,” said Collins. “Plus, she's active.”
Whatever Plegge's secret, it goes without saying that making it to 105 is a rare and impressive feat. So rare, in fact, that Collins called the Golden Transcript wondering if Plegge might be the oldest living person in Golden.
Although there's no way to know for sure, the paper called a few of Golden's elderly facilities to try and find anyone olderThe search turned up some pretty old residents. At the Golden Pond Retirement and Assisted Living Facility, the oldest resident is 101. At Accel at Golden Ridge, it is a 102-year-old. But none of the facilities that responded to the Transcript reported someone as old as 105.
Plegge, however, isn't letting her age go to her head. Collins said that when Plegge's son asked her how she felt about turning 105, she simply replied “old.” When they then asked her if she felt she would make it to 106, she simply said “no.”
However, the family has been asking her that same question every birthday since she turned 100, and that has always been her answer. So far, she's been wrong every time.
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