Birthday Girl needs no introduction
By JOE BARKOVICH/City Beat (Welland Tribune, May 16, 2011)
PELHAM — The invite read: You Are Invited To
Dottie's 100th Birthday Party.
The Birthday Girl said as we entered the room: "Glad you could
make it, it's been a long time coming."
She wore a name tag on a lapel except it didn't have her name
on it. She didn't need it. Instead, the words read: I Made
The Birthday Girl, Dottie Rungeling, was resplendent in a red
jacket, white slacks and top. She flashed her million-dollar smile
and lit up the surroundings with her sparkling personality.
Everyone was made to feel special by this gracious lady.
Her big day was actually Thursday, May 12. This made Dottie 100
years and five days old on Tuesday, when the soiree was held.
About 30 people were at the party at the house on Foss Rd.,
Fenwick, where she lived the first 55 years of her life.
"It's hard to believe that 100 years ago this year I was
crawling around these floors in diapers," she said to her guests.
Before she spoke we were treated to lunch: tourtiere, fresh
asparagus spears and salad, prepared by the folks at Whisk and
Ladle on Canboro Rd.
Dottie had a hand in lunch, too. Believe it or not, she baked
two loaves of whole wheat bread Monday and brought them over for
all to enjoy -- what a slice of life she is!
Beverley Belfry, a longtime friend and
travelling companion, told me over lunch: "I was in three air
races with Dottie, those were exciting times, especially one to
What memories they must have.
Beverley said: "President Batista entertained us. He called us
his 'beautiful swallows'."
This was in the mid or late 1950s, she said, when Fulgencio
Batista was president of Cuba.
Marilyn Scott sat across from me. She is charming and
articulate. She also talked about how her friendship with Dottie
"My husband took a few lessons from Dottie," Marilyn said.
"But then the war came along and interrupted things."
Her husband was Arthur Scott, the distinguished,
internationally known architect. He became a captain in the air
force and ended up becoming a trainer, she said.
Now she and Dottie live in the same condo in Pelham.
"She really can do anything," Marilyn said.
"She's even a computer specialist -- at 100. If anything goes
wrong with computers in our building, we just call Dottie and she
comes over, assesses it and fixes it."
She also teaches computer skills to seniors, Marilyn said.
Little stories such as these were shared at our table by
Dottie's longtime friends. They are precious memories held
together by threads of enduring friendship.
There was birthday cake of course -- and a boisterous round of
Happy Birthday sung by all in attendance.
Dottie regaled us with a few words, when she spoke the room
turned quiet as guests listened intently.
But the big surprise was her musical treat -- she took a
harmonica out of her pocket and played The Old Grey Mare much to
everyone's delight. Not to be neigh-sayers when asked to, we even
sang a chorus.
Dottie visited each table, thanked guests for coming and said
she hoped they enjoyed their lunch.
When Dottie stopped at our table, Beverley Belfry said: "I'm so
happy to be here."
And Dottie Rungeling said: "So am I!"
A good time was had by all.
Thanks for the invite, Birthday Girl!