Lydia Bauman Has Lived More Than 38,325 Days ... And She Still Looks Forward To Tomorrow
Lydia Ann Bauman turned 105 this past week at Fairview Home and Suites in Cambridge. Surrounded by family and friends, it was marked by a cake, balloons, and a few visitors from the local media. And oh yes, this year she was also joined by an uninvited guest that wasn’t at her 104th birthday celebration. Social distancing protocols were in place this year which took some of the physical closeness out of the event but not the warmth, love and admiration. However, social distancing has to be a first for Lydia, and when you’re 105, it’s not that easy to experience “firsts."
So, how does one live to be 105? It surely helps to have longevity in your genes but Lydia no doubt has a few secrets up her sleeve.
Her shy and quiet demeaner might not immediately reveal to others that a whole lot of living has gone into her purposeful life. And perhaps this is part of her secret? A sense of purpose. Combined with a sense of kindness, a sense of hope and a sense of humour. These elements have got to go a long way towards her extended journey of a lifetime.
It has been said that we can walk our way to a long and healthy life. Lydia wakes up and is appreciative for each day, and when she is able to, she takes a walk outside to enjoy the fresh air and sunshine. And when the weather doesn’t cooperate, she walks anyway, inside the retirement home. No excuses for Lydia. If it’s worth doing, it needs doing.
Lydia’s husband Howard was a preacher. He passed away 11 years ago at 94 years of age. They spent their lives together preaching God’s word, working closely with the people within the communities they served in the Elmira and district area. They spent a number of years serving a church and community in New York State but returned to Waterloo County to finish their careers serving the Lord.
Howard's sermons were quite dynamic. While Lydia may not have been part of the sermon planning process, she had opinions on most things. And although it may not have been the accepted custom for Mennonite women to speak out in public or in church, she was certainly able to do so at home with Howard. They were a close couple.
When Howard preached, he didn’t use notes very much. He knew the scriptures well and spoke from his heart, often using personal anecdotes and humour, but always sincere, and personal, not afraid to look people in the eyes when he spoke.
Lydia’s family admits that while she may not have had much in the way of formal education, she became very educated and engaged in the school of life. She has kept up with the world at large by reading the Waterloo Region Record daily, so you won’t be pulling the wool over her eyes on current events, including the behavior of US President Donald J. Trump.
It would not be surprising to discover that Lydia isn’t on Facebook or Twitter. She doesn’t need to be to know that she doesn’t think much of Trump’s policies, rants and political style. (Lydia—you’re not alone!) She does, however, think very highly of both President Jimmy Carter and President Barack Obama. Character is important to her. This speaks volumes.
She reads close to a book a week and enjoys it thoroughly. She is also still able to enjoy quilting. There is a huge mariners star quilt hanging at Fairview Suites on which she did a large portion of the quilting.
She has quilted throughout her life donating her time and talents on quilt projects which were often purchased to raise money for local community charities and fundraising initiatives.
She’s a gift that keeps on giving.
There was a time a few years ago when she needed to be hospitalized. The doctors told her that she had a choice. She could have a risky operation or take a more palliative, comfort approach. Lydia agreed on the comfort option because she felt she was too old for the surgery…and frankly, she wasn’t afraid to die.
But she didn’t die. Perhaps in her mind she felt that her work was not done, and to the surprise and delight of everyone, she bounced back.
Her son Charlie and his wife Carol Bauman think that what makes Lydia somewhat unique, is not that she has reached 105, but that she still has such good health and quality of life for her age.
All of the residents at Fairview Suites admire her greatly. Possibly because she’s such an inspiration to everyone she meets. And is it any wonder?
My father once said when he was in his mid-nineties, that the only people who wanted to reach 100 were the people who were 99. I laughed, and perhaps there is some truth in his statement. But Lydia has long passed this milestone. In fact, I question that she even considers the numbers game. One day at a time is working just fine for her.
Then, there’s the old German proverb “Vee Get Too Soon Olt Und Too Late Schmart.” This doesn’t apply to Lydia either. Clearly with 105 years under her apron she is both “olt” and “schmart.”
God bless you Lydia Bauman! Keep counting your blessings. And may you have many more years…if you want them.
One of the many quilts Lydia has worked on.
Lydia Ann on her 105th Birthday Celebration
Lydia's wedding day: From L, Her husband Howard, Lydia Ann’s younger brother Osiah, her good friend Alice Horst, and Lydia Ann.
A little more recent photo of Lydia Ann Bauman