Have you ever dreamed of what life would be like at age 100? Jim Blackman, a resident at Buckner Westminster Place, turned 100 years old on May 12th, and she defies stereotypes by volunteering her time, giving back to the community and working out three days a week. Recently, the community held a special lunch for Blackman, where they surprised her by hiding Wes Wells, executive director, Buckner Westminster Place, under a food cart and had his head served on a platter! Blackman laughed hysterically when she saw his head under the silver dome where her lunch was supposed to be located. To top off his look, the community’s chef placed an apple in his mouth and vegetables around his head. Blackman will also celebrate this significant milestone with her family at Buckner Westminster Place on Saturday, May 18th.
“The staff at Buckner Westminster Place certainly surprised me,” expressed Blackman, a resident at Buckner Westminster Place. “I was not expecting Wes’s head on a plate. They told me I would be in for a unique surprise. Chef went on about local traditions around the world that are practiced when a person turns 100. I thought they were serving me monkey brains on a platter, and then I pulled off the silver dome and saw a live head! I honestly cannot believe I am 100. I cannot tell any difference physically; turning 100 years old kind of snuck up on me. I stay very busy socially and time has just been going by quickly I suppose.”
Blackman is hardly ever in her home. She stays very active and social in the community, as she does not like to be by herself. Recently Blackman made blankets for needy children at a local women’s shelter, made flower arrangements for people in the community with special occasions to celebrate, and she has made cards to send to fellow seniors. Blackman is also focused on her physical well being and attends exercise classes three times a week for body movement workouts.
“Up until now I have lived a pretty normal life,” shares Blackman. “I raised three kids, which was the most fulfilling experience in life for me. I was married to my first husband for 18 years and then he passed. I took up a job to support myself and my children. When I met my second husband I was so ready to get hitched so I wouldn’t have to work anymore! It was a lovely wedding. Since my father had already passed, it was my grandchildren that gave me away.”
Blackman never did think that she would make it to be 100 and because of that she never did focus on what it would be like to get older. Many of her family members passed at a young age and she thought she would too. She believes that she is here to fulfill a purpose, which is why she devotes much of her time to helping others and brightening people’s days. Beyond her exercise classes and philanthropy work, Blackman enjoys playing cards, attending movie nights at the community, participating in weekly lunches and live entertainment, and playing a competitive game of bingo with fellow neighbors.
“I was an ordinary girl growing up, a normal little country girl,” said Blackman. “I have lived a comfortable and fulfilling life, throughout which my kids have been my biggest blessing. My best birthdays consisted of me visiting my children, who are located in other states, and partaking in different experiences that sounded like fun at the time. That is what excites me the most about my upcoming birthday. My son is planning a big party for me at Buckner Westminster Place on Saturday, May 18th and I cannot wait to see all my kids and grandkids. They are the best gift a grandmother and mother could ask for.”
When asked what advice she would share with the younger generations, Blackman expressed that people should do the very best that they can, look ahead to the future, and not spend too much time worrying because you end up worrying the most about things that never happen. Blackman’s goal at this stage in life is to do what the Lord has for her to do, to give back to others, to take care of her well being, and to maintain a healthy relationship with her children and with God.
“I find it enjoyable to speak kindly to others and smile at people as much as I can,” shared Blackman. “It is rewarding to cheer up the people around you and brighten their day. I believe this is part of my purpose at this point in my life, and I enjoy it very much.”
Buckner Westminster Place hosts monthly birthday parties for all the resident birthdays that fall during a month, but when someone reaches the age of 100, the community throws a fun birthday bash. The community recently held a surprise birthday luncheon, where they served her favorite meal of beef tenderloin, grilled asparagus, grilled squash, potatoes and a special dessert with roasted pecans and ice cream.
“We are all so appreciative of Jim’s delightful presence and upbeat spirit,” said Wes Wells, executive director at Buckner Westminster Place. “Throwing her a surprise birthday bash and hosting a family party are two ways that we can give back to Jim who has brought so much to the Buckner Westminster Place community. It was hysterical when she pulled the silver dome and I looked up at her with an apple in my mouth. We were all able to share a good laugh with her for her birthday lunch.”
If you are interested in setting up an interview, call Lauren Witt (214) 890-7912 ext. 42 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
ABOUT BUCKNER WESTIMINSTER PLACE
Buckner Westminster Place, a Buckner Retirement Services community, is a non-profit, faith-based senior living community offering 89 independent living apartments and patio homes for active adults aged 62 and above. In addition, the community offers a continuum of care including 30 assisted living apartments, 25 memory care support residences and 20 private bedrooms in the Green House® homes for skilled nursing care. Buckner Westminster Place is the only complete CCRC (continuing care retirement community) in Longview which accommodates these four levels of living and care as residents’ needs change.
Located near the Longview Mall and just minutes from area medical centers, Buckner Westminster Place gives residents a beautiful way to live. The community includes a 16-acre lakeside setting with walking trails and spacious well-manicured grounds.
Residents can enjoy delicious dining and warm fellowship in beautifully arranged dining rooms. The community also has an on-site life enrichment coordinator, chapel, full-time chaplain, on-site worship services, beauty/barber salon and weekly housekeeping/linen service.
A partnership with the Good Shepherd Institute for Healthy Living gives residents and staff access to a wellness center that includes classrooms, a resistance pool, a track and exercise equipment. The community provides transportation to the wellness center.
For more information about Buckner Westminster Place, please visit the community website at www.bucknerwestminster.org or call Blake Lambert at (903) 252-6736.
ABOUT BUCKNER RETIREMENT SERVICES
Buckner Retirement Services, Inc. is one of the largest not-for-profit senior living organizations in Texas dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for senior adults and their families by promoting an active, healthy Christian lifestyle while maintaining their independence and dignity. Buckner Retirement Services is part of Buckner International, a global faith-based ministry serving more than 470,000 people each year in the United States and 18 countries worldwide.