Great-grandma turns 100 years old
Being healthy enough to enjoy spending time with family and friends was the most important thing about reaching the century mark for a Penryn woman.
Altha Trivett celebrated her 100th birthday at the “biggest, best party” she has ever had with 135 guests, including her five children, 12 grandchildren, 25 great-grandchildren and great-great grandson, at Sunset Whitney Country Club, on Nov. 26.
“She did figure-eights in her walker for weeks ahead of time to make sure she’d be strong enough to go to the party,” said her granddaughter, Tiffany Greenhalgh.
Altha Trivett attributes her longevity to staying busy working, trying to help people and caring for her family. Although she uses a walker now, she stayed active by tending her garden and walking a half mile daily until about a year when she fell trying to reach something in a closet and broke two vertebrae.
“You stay young by trying to do and be as much as you can. You don’t give up. I miss not being able to get up and do the things I did before,” she said.
Rick Trivett, Altha’s youngest son, said his mother is a product of the Depression, and was a great mom and role model who lived the advice she always gave young people – “to work hard and play hard and save your money.”
Altha Trivett spent her first 30 years working on a farm in Kansas, doing chores, milking cows by hand and shooting squirrels and rabbits with a .22 rifle to put meat on the table.
In the summer of 1942, she packed her three sons, ranging in age from four months to five years, into a 1936 Plymouth and drove crosscountry via Route 66 all the way to Santa Monica, Calif. There she joined her husband, Wilmer, who had gotten a job with the North American Aircraft Co. when World War II broke out.
Her husband worked days while she worked nights throughout the war. Trivett continued to work on blueprints through the Korean and Viet Nam wars with top secret security clearance.
She retired from the Northrop Corporation when she was 65 and moved to south Placer County with her husband. She helped care for her grandchildren, and became the “team grandma” by baking cookies for all their soccer, baseball, softball, basketball and volleyball teams.
Altha Trivett lost her husband in 1985 and lived independently until the age of 95, when she moved in with Rick Trivett, and his wife, Margaret, in Penryn. She said she decided to quit driving one day after witnessing a car accident.
“I got upset and thought I shouldn’t be driving anymore. So, I drove right straight home, gave the keys to my son and told him to sell the car,” Altha Trivett said. “I was lucky I never got in any accidents and decided to quit while I was ahead.”
These days Altha Trivett spends a lot of time in her favorite chair in the family room, attended by the family Labrador retriever, Cooper, and four generations of family members and the many friends who frequently drop by for a visit. She said having her family around, especially the little ones, keeps her going.
Altha Trivett said the two most important inventions of her lifetime were modern medicine and the airplane. She said the biggest change she has seen is the way people travel a lot more than they could when she was young.
“When you’re 100 you look back and think, ‘I can’t really be this old,’” she said. “You just want all your family to be O.K. and be happy.”