Northfield seniors look back on 90 years

  • Eveline MacDougall and Douglas Reid of the duo Fire Pond lead a group of Northfield residents in a sing-along during the Northfield Senior Center’s second annual “Gay 90s Party” on Friday, Sept. 15, 2017. Recorder Staff/Shelby Ashline

  • Eveline MacDougall and Douglas Reid of the duo Fire Pond perform during the Northfield Senior Center's second annual "Gay 90s Party" on Friday, Sept. 15, 2017. —Recorder Staff/Shelby Ashline

Recorder Staff
Published: 9/16/2017 5:02:20 PM

NORTHFIELD — Before playing the 1940 classic “You Are My Sunshine,” Eveline MacDougall of the duo Fire Pond asked the group of seniors “Who remembers 1940?”

“Most of us!” replied Mary Lyle, as chuckles spread through the Northfield Senior Center.

For the second year, the Senior Center brought together residents turning 90 or older for music, food and socializing through its by-invitation “Gay 90s Party.”

Council on Aging Director Heather Tower came up with the idea last year, envisioning an event that would foster a unique fellowship among Northfield’s nonagenarians, while honoring them as an important part of the community.

“We’re all in the same boat,” resident James Dinsmore, 94, said at this year’s recent gathering. Then, quoting his late wife, Rosa, he added “It’s an adventure and we’re taking it one day at a time.”

“It makes you realize there’s a few others around besides you that are 90 years old and over,” added resident Jean Kozlowski, who will turn 90 on Sept. 27.

Looking back over nine decades, Kozlowski fondly remembered how she started teaching English literature at then Northfield High School when she was 21 years old. Across the table, 93-year-old Helen Monroe remembered her father making a harness for her family’s Saint Bernard-Collie mix so the dog could pull Monroe and her seven siblings on a sled.

Having grown up in Greenfield, Dinsmore remembered the Hurricane of 1938. Coming home from band practice at the age of 15, Dinsmore said he saw a transformer on a Pierce Street utility pole burst into flames, and trees fallen on Main Street and Highland Avenue homes.

“It was a horrific thing to see the strength of that hurricane,” Dinsmore recalled.

While the group shared 90 years of history, Kozlowski looked around at her fellow seniors and commented on the importance of their staying active and feeling useful in years to come.

“They aren’t on a shelf,” she explained. “There’s a lot of useful people 90 or over, and they’re not ready with one foot in the grave … We have a lot still to give if we want to.”

Reach Shelby Ashline at:

413-772-0261 ext. 257


Support Local Journalism

Subscribe to the Greenfield Recorder, keeping Franklin County informed since 1792.

Greenfield Recorder

14 Hope Street
Greenfield, MA 01302-1367
Phone: (413) 772-0261
Fax: (413) 772-2906


Copyright © 2020 by Newspapers of Massachusetts, Inc.
Terms & Conditions - Privacy Policy