There were balloons and flowers and no shortage of well-wishings from neighbors, family and staff at the Zelma Lacey house this week for Rose Walsh – a long-time Charlestown resident who turned 100 years old on Wednesday.
“Sometimes I feel much older than 100, but at other times I still feel much younger,” she said with a smile.
Walsh has lived at the Zelma Lacey since the doors opened 15 years ago, moving in with her husband George Walsh, who passed away not long after they moved in. An ace at Bingo, her favorite meal – which was served Wednesday afternoon – is a peanut, butter and jelly sandwich. She is also very religious and has taken care of the chapel at Zelma since moving in – keeping the figurines in place and the space in order.
“Rose is very organized and meticulous,” said Tabitha Jones, of Zelma. “She is a true lady. For 15 years she has always worn a skirt and blouse buttoned up all the way to the top. She’s also pretty feisty too.”
Walsh met her husband, George, on Revere Beach at the Spanish Gables at an ‘Old Timer’ dance on a Wednesday evening. Rose (Gaetani) was from Medford and George – fresh out of fighting in Germany during WWII – was a Charlestown boy. He took down her number on a matchbook in the lounge at Revere Beach and they went on their separate ways.
Walsh didn’t believe George would call her, but he did and they dated for two years before having a small wedding in Medford. They moved to Austin Street in Charlestown, and then to Salem Street where they lived for 53 years.
Walsh worked at Jordan Marsh for 35 years as a buyer, and retired from Macy’s. Her late husband worked for the Boston & Maine Railroad, and later the United States Post Office.
They were one of the first Charlestown couples to leave their home in the Town and move into the assisted-living at Zelma.
Since then, Jones said Walsh has been a vital and vibrant member of the community, even at the age of 100.
“Everyone loves Rose,” said Jones. “We are so happy to be able to wish her a happy 100th birthday.”