For the last 14 years Margarett Holmes has been a resident of Careage of Newton nursing home. On April 10 she celebrated her 92nd birthday there with the many friends she has made there and with her oldest daughter, Nancy Annee.
“You’re having a card party this afternoon,” Annee said to her mother. “Your sister, your daughter, your daughter-in-law and your niece, they come every Wednesday to play cards with you. And then you are going to have a pizza party on Sunday.”
Annee and Holmes rave about the care Holmes receives at Careage and reflected on her early days at the facility.
“When she first came out here, if there was somebody who was sick, they would take her back to their room and Mama would hold their hand and comfort them,” Annee said. “She was just like a little goodwill ambassador. When new people would come to the nursing home, mama would take care of ‘em.”
“Mama sort of took care of everybody,” Annee added. “She made sure they were OK, went and visited with them and made sure they were happy.”
If the amount of smiles residents and staff have pointed at Holmes inside of Careage are any indication, then Holmes still seems to be making people happy. This is a pretty easy feat when you consider yourself a happy person, like Holmes does.
“I don’t remember unhappy times, I was always happy,” Holmes said.
Besides Holmes’ apparently cordial nature and it being her birthday, people at Careage seemed to notice Holmes’ absence, she had just recently returned to the facility.
“I’m glad I’m back,” Holmes said. “I enjoyed it at the hospital. I enjoyed every bit, they were very good to me. I’m just glad to be back home.”
Although Holmes calls Careage home, her visit to Skiff Medical Center was also a homecoming of sorts. She worked as a baker in the kitchen back when it was known as Skiff Hospital.
Holmes also worked in the old Newton Mall at Hessen’s Ice Cream Store, as a housekeeper for many people and at the Progress Industries Group Home.
Holmes’ faith is ever present when you talk with her.
“If it wasn’t for the good Lord, I wouldn’t be here,” Holmes said. “I want to thank the good Lord for loving me, for helping me and for helping other people.”
Holmes is a long-time member of First Assembly of God in Newton. She served as a Sunday school teacher and as church secretary in the past; her late husband was even on the deacon board. Her strong faith has been passed down to her children, which Holmes said she got from her mother.
“(Grandma), she was kind of the type of person that when the church doors were open, the family was there,” Annee said.
While Holmes’ mother kept the family in the church all day, Annee said her parents had something else in mind for them after church.
“We went to Hesson’s Ice Cream Store every Sunday night after church,” Annee said.
As Holmes prepares to find a way to blow out 92 candles, she thanks the one person she credits for her long life.
“I’m thankful I’m alive,” Holmes said. “I know the Lord and that He takes care of me and my family and all of my loved ones.”