It’s not every day that a 105-year-old woman will sing you a song in Hungarian.
But on Friday afternoon, Aurelia “Dolly” Scott sang during her birthday party at Nye Square in Fremont.
Family and friends gathered to celebrate.
Scott was clearly impressed.
“I’m just flabbergasted that this many people showed up,” she said as well-wishers flowed into the sunny, multi-windowed room. “It’s amazing. I think it’s about the nicest thing that’s ever happened to me.”
What’s the secret to living so long?
“I tried to be a good lady and I ate my veggies like my mom said,” Scott mused.
Scott’s sons, Jeffery and Doug, who came from Colorado to celebrate their mom’s milestone, think her reason for long life could lie in her genes. Her mother lived to be 102 and her dad until he was 95. A sister lived to be 96.
She didn’t smoke or drink.
And, apparently, she got some exercise.
“My brother and I would get into it and she’d get mad and chase us around the dining room table with a wooden spoon seeking retribution,” Doug said, smiling.
Their mom did mention that discipline is a key to raising good children.
How did her children turn out?
“Perfect,” she said.
Scott seemed to think her party was perfect, too, as she ate chocolate cake and visited with family.
Nearby, guests meandered past a table filled with photographs of Scott in younger days.
Scott’s father, Mathias, and mother, Rose, came to the United States from Hungary. Her dad was a barber and her mom, a homemaker, states data from Nye Square.
Scott was born in Chicago on April 14, 1913 — the year Woodrow Wilson became president and thousands flocked to observe the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg.
She was a little girl when her mother taught her a song in Hungarian — the song she sang for some guests at her party.
Growing up, Scott played games like hopscotch and hide and seek. She had a doll and her brother, Joe, had a bicycle, but wouldn’t let Aurelia or their sister, Anne, ride it.
Scott walked to grade school with her siblings and later would pay 7 cents to ride a street car to high school.
Ruth Kuhn, who works for Home Instead Senior Care, also said Scott has told stories of growing up in Chicago during the “bad old days” of gangsters.
“She said you had to be very careful and watch the streets and it wasn’t always safe,” Kuhn recalled.
Scott joined the Girls Athletic Association and enjoyed playing basketball, volleyball and field hockey.
“I loved athletics,” Scott said in a 2015 Tribune article. “I was pretty good, come to think of it.”
Scott graduated from high school in 1931, but said she didn’t go to college, because she wanted to make some money.
Her first job was as a secretary, typing, filing and taking dictation.
She worked in Chicago at Perkins Products. Edwin Perkins had invented Kool-Aid when he lived in Hastings, then moved his production from Nebraska to Chicago in 1931.
Like many people from that era, Scott enjoyed listening to the radio and her favorite show was “Fibber McGee and Molly.”
In 1936, she married Ernest James “Buster” Scott, but they couldn’t afford a honeymoon during those economically tough times.
The Scotts did enjoy fishing and liked riding horses through Jackson Park.
They had two sons, Jeffrey and Doug.
“She was a great mother,” Jeffrey Scott said. “She loved her family and took good care of us.”
Scott also would spend much of her life volunteering for organizations, including Goodwill and her church.
One of Scott’s most exciting moments occurred when she received an Apostolic Blessing from Pope John Paul II in gratitude for her 25 years of faithful support of the Benedictine Mission in Schuyler.
“We pray frequently together,” Kuhn said. “Her religion is very important to her.”
Scott moved into Nye Square in 1993. She is the oldest person there and the one who’s lived the longest at Nye Square.
She still lives on the independent living side of the building.
Scott also is known for having made kolaches, which she formerly baked at least twice a week to share with Nye Square tenants.
She remains bright and alert. She enjoys listening to the news and having a caretaker read the newspaper to her.
Scott can complete newspaper puzzles quickly.
Although Scott cannot see, a caretaker will read a crossword puzzle, telling her the number of letters. She can quickly tell the word.
“She seems to have a Wonder Woman vocabulary,” Nye Square information states.
Scott also has many “loves” — like John Wayne movies, root beer floats, food from Burger King and Dairy Queen and dogs, especially dachshunds and Katie the Comfort Dog, the latter of whom visits regularly and came to her party.
During the party, Scott bent over to pat Katie on the head as party guests took photos.
Guests also passed by a table where a large cake, decorated with pink and purple roses, read: “Happy 105th Birthday Aurelia.”
Kuhn smiled while talking about Scott.
“She is the most wonderful client you could ever work with — extremely polite and very smart, an amazing sense of humor and every once in a while you’ll get a fun, little tale from her,” Kuhn said.
Jeffrey Scott wondered if his mom is the oldest person in Nebraska.
He doesn’t know if that’s the case, but does have a theory about something else:
“I have a hunch she’s going to keep setting longevity records,” he said.