With a personal birthday card from Bernie Sanders, Elsie Brown celebrated her 100th birthday with family and friends on Saturday at the Maxwell American Legion Hall.
Brown is a 1937 graduate of Pierce High School and began her residency in the town of Maxwell the same year.
“For 82 years, Elsie has lived in the same house here in town, across from the post office,” said friend, Bill Barrett.
Accompanied by five generations of family and around 90 attendees, Brown smiled from ear to ear about her centenarian status.
“I am so happy to see everyone here,” said Brown.
Brown, now widowed, was married to Marion Brown, who served as the Maxwell Fire Department’s chief from 1951 to 1996, when he retired.
“Elsie was a great service to the fire department,” Barrett said. “Back then we only had home phones; no cell phones. There were three ways to call upon the fire department: the firehouse, the hardware store or Elsie’s house. Elsie was always there to answer. She would stand outside her home and hold one hand up for an in-town fire and two hands up for out-in-the-country fire.”
In 1942, Elsie served as an aircraft spotter during WW2.
“I don’t know who was going to bomb Maxwell, but Elsie had a card with silhouettes of aircraft to look out for. Back when the war was an effort, we had these spotters and Elsie served as one,” added Barrett.
Brown is a lifetime member of the Maxwell Methodist Church, and she still attends every Sunday.
For her six years of service as the Maxwell librarian, the Brown family purchased and donated a set of children’s classic books on her behalf, which are still available at the Maxwell Library.
“I remember when Elsie was our librarian,” said friend Dolores Reckers. “She walked to work everyday and always waved. She is so very sweet and kind.”
Speeches, memories, laughter, and fun within the walls of the Maxwell Legion Hall were highlighted by decades of stories.
“I remember the flood of ‘55. The Maxwell Fire Department was housing several Yuba City evacuees. Elsie was there day and night, cooking, cleaning and taking care of everyone,” said Barrett. “She has served Maxwell tremendously and was always behind the scenes getting the job done.”
Fire Chief Kenny Cohen presented Brown with a bouquet of flowers for all her years spent volunteering and helping the Maxwell Fire Department. Birthday wishes were sung and cake was dished out to all who attended.
Brown turned 100 on Monday, April 15. ■