MANKATO, Minn. (April 23, 2015) – Helen Erickson, a resident of Old Main Village, managed by The Goodman Group, will become part of an exclusive, but growing group of people as she reaches her 100-year birthday milestone in April. The milestone will be celebrated at the monthly resident birthday party on Thurs., April 23 at 2:30 pm in the Club Room at Old Main Village. There are seven residents celebrating their birthdays in April (the next most senior resident celebrant is turning 98). Helen is a life-long resident of Mankato.
Helen will also be recognized on her actual birthdate, Sat., April 27, when her family from Minnesota, Florida and Washington gather. There will be a special cake made by Helen’s granddaughter to enjoy as they celebrate this momentous occasion.
Among Helen’s many birthday celebrations, her favorite birthday memory was when she turned 12 years old in 1927. Her mother threw a big party and made a birthday cake and hid a dime in it, which “was a big thing in those days,” noted Helen. She remembers playing the timeless games of Telephone and Grandma’s Trunk at the party. One of Helen’s earliest memories iswhen her brother was born. At the young age of 5, in her eagerness to help, she stood on the oven door to cook for her mom.
“Be yourself, help others, and enjoy everything you do,” said Helen. These words of wisdom are the secret to Helen’s longevity. While she admits that genes have their own part to play, she hopes to share with her family and friends that the way you live makes a difference also.
Helen remembers when Mankato’s streets were all dirt roads. She attended all of the old local schools here in Mankato, including the Union school, which opened in 1867 and closed in 1975. It is now the Union Park office building. The school taught all grades, with a range of subjects from basic reading to engineering. After graduating high school, she attended and graduated from Mankato State Teachers College, which is now Minnesota State University Mankato, and even had class in what is now Old Main Village! With a degree in education, Helenbegan her first job at a small country school in Eagle Lake, Minn.
Helen was married for 67 years when her husband, Arnold, passed away 11 years ago. Arnold was from Rapidan, a few miles southwest of Mankato, and worked at the Rapidan Dam power plant. Together they had five children, and the family has grown to include 14 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. She is not the only long-lived member in her family. Her brother is still living and doing well at the age of 95. Among her favorite hobbies are reading, especially the newspaper, crochet and knitting, walking, and gardening. She enjoys tending to her beautiful garden plot at Old Main Village.
“Helen loves to participate in any and all activities that we have at Old Main Village,” said Holly Schoettler, executive director, Old Main Village. “She is always happy and enthusiastic and really sets the tone for others to follow. To have someone that remembers everything from 10 minutes ago to 50 years ago, and is so full of life and laughter, is what sets Helen apart. It is truly a privilege to know her and I hope when I am 100 years old I am just as feisty!”