SACO – Charlotte Farrin claims she doesn’t have a secret to long life.

Her family, however, has some theories.

It might simply be good genes, the luck of the hereditary draw. Maybe it was staying active — Farrin was still driving and volunteering into her mid-90s. Or perhaps it’s that she refuses to eat her vegetables.

Whatever the case, she took the passing of another year in stride.

Monday, she was feted on her 102nd birthday at Evergreen Manor nursing home with balloon animals, homemade party hats, a rose-bedecked sheet cake and sparklers.

Mayor Roland Michaud and his wife, Hilda, stopped by to offer best wishes. He presented Farrin with a plaque from the city and congratulated her on reaching 102.

“Well, it wasn’t much work on my part,” Farrin replied to laughs.

Born in Damariscotta, Farrin lived in South Bristol before settling in South Portland. She and her late husband, Alton, a fisherman, had three children.

Farrin worked for two decades as a manager in the W.T. Grant department store in Portland. Retirement meant keeping active as a volunteer at Victoria Mansion and the museum at Portland Head Light.

Dana Hutchins of Falmouth, one of Farrin’s grandsons, used his iPad to show her significant events that occurred on past birthdays.

The first airplane flight in Italy took place the day she was born. Babe Ruth hit two home runs when she turned 11. Joe DiMaggio hit his first grand slam when she was 29.

While she relies on a wheelchair these days, Farrin’s mind — and wit — are plenty sharp.

She recalls how her husband’s curly red-gold hair appealed to her right off, how she hankered for chocolate ice cream when her grandmother made vanilla and how her father would save some Independence Day fireworks to light up her birthday the day after.

Farrin is quick with the quips.

Introducing her daughter, Patricia Hutchins of Shapleigh, she said, “She loves to talk. She gets it from me.”

That propensity for banter appears to be a family trait.

A letter from Maine Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe was among the cards and gifts Farrin opened with her family.

“She wants to know what Thomas Jefferson was like,” Dana Hutchins said.

While others fussed over her — asking if she wanted some soda, giving her a peck on the cheek or offering her a balloon giraffe — Farrin made sure everyone had cake and ice cream. On this day, happily, the flavor was chocolate.

 

Staff Writer Ann S. Kim can be contacted at 791-6383 or at: [email protected]