The birthday girl is 99

| 25 Oct 2012 | 01:07

— In 1913, Woodrow Wilson was inaugurated as the 28th president of the United States. The Palace Theatre, home of vaudeville, opened in New York City, as did Ebbets Field, home of the Brooklyn Dodgers. The zipper was patented and Henry Ford instituted the moving assembly line.

And on Oct. 22, 1913, a little girl named Elsie was born on Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Now a resident of Bald Eagle Commons, Elsie Powers was the guest of honor at a party Monday evening to celebrate her 99th birthday.

“I’m like a kid again,” said Powers, sitting pretty with a sparkling tiara on her head surrounded by her friends and neighbors. “It’s so wonderful to be 99.”

And it is for Powers. She is in good health, gets around well and only recently needed help with some of her day-to-day functions in her apartment. That’s when her neighbor, Cathy Battaglia, stepped up.

“She’s my angel,” said Powers of Battaglia. “It’s a match made in heaven.”

“God knows what he’s doing,” said Battaglia, of the two women finding each other.

Powers is much loved in her Bald Eagle Commons building. Her friends, Blanche Luccarelli and Battaglia, put together the party because they said she deserves to celebrate her 99 years. Why wait until 100, asked Luccarelli, who has known Powers for many years.

Powers said her days are busy ones. Don’t call her between 1 and 4 p.m. on Monday - that’s her bridge time. And she doesn’t miss it. Tuesday she goes to Camp Hope to play more cards and Bingo and to have a little supper. She loves to sing, which she does with the Serendipity Singers on Friday. Back in the day, Powers also loved to dance and play piano, too

Of course, everyone wants to know what the secret to such a long and healthy life is. Powers has many. First, she said she married a “handsome, wonderful husband.” She and David Powers married in 1935. They lived in Brooklyn and had a cottage on Upper Greenwood Lake, where they moved permanently in 1979. David died in 1981 and Powers misses him terribly, she said.

Next, she had very little stress. Powers volunteered much of her life, in nursing homes back in Brooklyn, with her church and even as a classroom aide in Upper Greenwood Lake Elementary School up until she was into her 90s.

Finally, and most important, Powers said the secret is being happy and nice.

“You have to be nice to people. Then they will be nice back,” she said, her smile beaming.

And for about 40 friends gathered with her Monday night, she had some very nice words to say to them.

“You have all been so good to me. I love every one of you,” she said. “I’m so happy that God has given me this day. God bless you all.”

They clapped and blew kisses to their friend. It was nice - just like Elsie.