By Hayley M. Cook
WILLIAMSON – A longtime resident of the Williamson area recently celebrated her 90th birthday.
Mary Sayers lives in her quaint red brick house, and celebrated the joyous occasion Thursday among friends and family.
Sayers has lived in Williamson since 1959, when she was 35 years old. During an interview with the Daily News on Wednesday, she talked about some of her most treasured memories in life. While holding a wicker basket filled with 30 birthday cards from loved ones, Sayers smiled as she looked through the cards and said her birthday had been going very well.
Her caretaker, Brenda, picked out two different cards that stood out – one with a funny poem about the joys of turning 90 and another card featuring a dollar bill folded into the shape of a dress wrapped around a cutout picture of Sayers’ face.
“Have you ever seen a dollar bill folded like that?” Sayers said, smiling. “I had never seen such a thing before.”
Sayers sat, wrapped in a delicate shawl adorned with crystals, in front of a large collection of porcelain red cardinals, which she said is her collection.
When asked about memories from her childhood, Sayers was tight-lipped, but said she has fond memories of being part of a large family. With 11 siblings, she was always surrounded by brothers and sisters.
Her parents migrated from Hungary, and then went on to live in Pennsylvania. Sayers said, “My family has always been very important to me,” while reminiscing about her parents and siblings.
“My favorite memories, however, are when my children were born and when my husband-to-be returned from the Army. I was elated to see him again.”
Sayers graduated from Williamson High School in 1943, and married her husband Charles three years after he returned home from the service in 1946. Their wedding date was June 30 of that year.
Charles Sayers, who passed away in 1991, was president of the National Bank of Commerce and had a very close relationship with his wife and daughters.
“He was the most generous, gentle gentleman I have ever known,” Sayers said. “He loved me and the girls dearly, and we loved him, too.”
When asked about her daughters, Sayers described how proud she was of both women, but would not reveal their ages. Asked when her daughters were born, she responded, “Oh, I’m just 39 so that would make them awfully young, wouldn’t it?”
Sayers said one of her closest relatives is her sister, who is two years older than she and lives in Florida.
“I’m very close with my sister, Helen, who is 92 and lives in Florida. Some of my favorite trips were to visit her down in Florida. A lovely place to visit, but I wouldn’t live there,” Sayers said.
Of her home in Williamson, Sayers said, “It has been a lovely little town” and mentioned that she loves her church (First Presbyterian).
“I’m an elder of the church and a member,” Sayers said. “I do love to attend.”
When asked how it feels to be 90 years old, Sayers smiled and responded, “I am very excited to be turning 39. Of course I am.”
Always nearby during the interview was her rambunctious dog, Sissy, who Sayers said is very spoiled and has brought plenty of joy to her life.
“Oh, she has made me very happy, but she does have a tendency to bite or pull at your clothing when she wants your attention,” Sayers said. “She has been a delight in my life, though.”
The Williamson Fire Department crew stopped by on Thursday to wish Sayers a happy birthday and other close friends gathered to celebrate as well. Sayers’ daughters, Rosaland Carpenter and Deborah Burke, are set to come in over the weekend to see their mother and celebrate with her then.
Sayers’ daughters have a goal of getting their mother 90 birthday cards for her 90th birthday, and have managed to reach a third of that number thus far.
Mary also has a granddaughter, Amanda Dudley, who she said she loves dearly and tries to see as often as she can.
When asked what she is most grateful for on her 90th (or 39th) birthday, Sayers said, “I am thankful to God that he brought me this far with fairly good health. I am appreciative of the love and care that my friends and family have given to me. I would most like to say that I love all of the people who have been there for me over the years.”