PLATTSBURGH - When Lorena Weldon was born, the automobile was a relatively new invention, electricity and indoor plumbing were far from being found in every home, and women having the right to vote was another decade away. However, when Lorena celebrated her 100th birthday Sept. 3, she reflected on how different the world is today.
Lorena was born in Saranac Lake, the daughter of Philmore and Ellen Bressette. However, her stay in Saranac Lake was short-lived as she recalled her parents moved to Saranac the following year, taking up residence in the Centennial House, a house which still stands today on Ganong Drive.
"I was probably a year-old when my family moved there and I lived there almost all my life," recalled Lorena. "Saranac was a wonderful little town."
Lorena married in 1939. Lawrence Weldon was her husband for 31 years and even still she thinks back of him with fond memories.
"I had a wonderful husband," said Lorena. "We got a long very good together. He was so good."
What has Lorena's key to a long marriage?
"We were always together," she said. "We were happy."
Though Lorena and her husband never had any children of their own, that didn't keep her from caring for children. Lorena spent a great deal of time caring for the children of a Plattsburgh couple, who remember her caring for them and still keep in touch to this day, said Lorena.
Lorena's main career, however, was working in the cafeteria for the Saranac Central School District, a job she held for 24 years.
Over the years, Lorena said she's witnessed many changes, most of which she considers "wonderful."
"There were a lot of changes. There are so many I can't remember all of them," she said.
One that does stand out is when she was finally able to turn on a switch for a light, rather than fetching the kerosene.
"It was wonderful when we went from lamp light to electricity," she said.
Inventions like the washing machine also took a lot of back breaking work out of household chores.
"Oh, that was wonderful," Lorena said of the washing machine. "That was better than using the scrub board."
These days, Lorena lives at Meadowbrook Healthcare and spends much of her time reading, playing cards and going to bingo.
"If I could walk around, boy, I'd do something," she said. That doesn't mean Lorena's not active, however. Among her activities at Meadowbrook, Lorena is a regular during exercise classes.
Is that the key to her longevity?
"I have no idea," Lorena said, laughing.
As for her plans for the future, Lorena said she's leaving that up to a higher power.
"I'll stay as long as God leaves me here," she said, with another laugh. "When he calls for me, I'll go."