KLIPSAN — Eunice Bossman is a woman of few words. So, I was so thrilled when she agreed to do an interview with me for her upcoming milestone of a birthday! We had a wonderful time going down memory lane together, and I laid in bed that night smiling at the thought of Eunice as a small girl climbing those big maple trees in the woods.

If you know Eunice, then you know that she is friendly to all, and that her smile lights up the room. Eunice claims she’s had a good life, with its celebrations and its sorrows. After all, it would be hard to live 99 years without at least a few sorrows. Whether losing a child or friends, or saying goodbye to a home or a simpler way of life … she’s shown that through it all, you can still laugh, you can still smile, and you can keep on shining bright… likely her secret, to a long happy life…

Golden Sands is celebrating its very own Eunice Bossman as she approaches 100! Eunice Root (sometimes referred to as “You nice”) was born on June 28, 1917. Even though it was many years ago, she has fond memories of her childhood, living in a log house and picnicking with her family on the Brazee Creek near La Center, Wash.

She describes her home with the rope and pail well on the back porch, and a knotted rope hanging from a big limb of the tree in her front yard. “We would grab it and swing out into nothingness.” That is, when her three overly protective brothers would let her. She remembers things like riding horses, (her brothers’ horses), going on carefree solo adventures into her backyard woods that was between her house and the West Timber sawmill, climbing big maple trees, and helping her mother clean the chimneys of the oil lamps that lit up their home.

She happily reminisces of the time she saw one of the first planes, a biplane, when she was very young.

“He flew right over me and wiggled his wings as if to wave at me; it was such a thrill!”

Eunice graduated from LaCenter High School in 1935 and married Howard Johnson one year later. They had three girls: Dee, Gail and Kay. She worked for many years including for Alcoa and Great Western Malting, both in Vancouver, Wash. Most memorable however, were her many years of volunteer service for the Salvation Army, which was the “best training for life.” She recalls being rushed into action providing emergency services in the early wake of the Mount St. Helens eruption in 1980.

She says she did a lot of great things along the way, and that its sad when so much is gone.

“I’m lucky I can remember what I can,” she laughs and flashes me her famous Eunice smile! Playing the piano and camping with her family were two of her favorite memories. But, a long-awaited vacation to Hawaii after the sale of her house was a trip she’s never forgotten! Eunice planned out the trip and surprised her two girls, and her girls’ girls, with a dream family vacation.

Eunice beams as she boasts on her two daughters. She says that “Kay is so gifted she can make anything … and Gail does everything she can to keep me going; I’m so lucky!”

Eunice says she can’t think of a reason why she’s made it this far.

“Oh my, I can’t imagine it, I just really like people!” And people really like her. Over the years she has been regularly seen waiting at her neighbor’s door to walk to and from meals together. At 99 she still has a full agenda, rarely does she miss an outing to Okie’s Thriftway to pick up essential snacks and see old friends. She still attends resident council committee meetings, birthday parties, bingo and socials.

The staff adores Eunice because she’s a friendly “kidder.” “Goodie, goodie, goodie” she responds sarcastically when it’s time to take her medications.

“I like to give her a hard time,” says maintenance man Dennis Forest, “because she smiles and gives it right back!” As for me and the rest, we’re just glad to know her and to call her our friend. Happy birthday, darling friend!

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