June 29, 2020 – Jackson, WI – It was quite a day for Dolores Tomaszewski of Jackson as she celebrated her 100th birthday in fine fashion with family, friends, cake, and a parade.
Dolores was born June 25, 1920. “I can’t remember my mom telling me but I think I was born at home on the kitchen table,” she said.
Decked out in a birthday crown and sash, Dolores reflected on the past century. She grew up on the south side of Milwaukee. A black-and-white photo shows Dolores at “age 4 or 5” standing outdoors in a simple dress with ruffles, pursed lips and short hair with bangs.
Her mother died when Dolores was 5 years old. She was the youngest of four and had a sister and two brothers.
Dolores spent her summers at a farm in Waukesha County with many aunts and uncles. There she was known as “Jakie.”
“I liked to read books when I was growing up,” she said. “They were my solace and I used to always hide behind a book.”
“I was that gal that worked in the dime store,” she said. “I was at FW Woolworth and my job duties were keeping the counters straight and nice and neat so people would stop and talk to me about the things I had for sale.”
Dolores made 30 cents an hour and the favorite part of her job was “quitting time.”
“After you have been on your feet 8 hours a day, you’re looking forward to going home,” she said.
At 16 years old Dolores met her future husband. “He was a kid from the neighborhood,” she said. “I was sitting in Pulaski Park and a young man asked if he could share the park bench with me. I said, ‘Well, it is a public park.'”
Casey sat down beside her. Four years later they were married, May 25, 1940. “I really liked his wavy hair,” she said. “I don’t know if he’d be a movie star but I just thought he was handsome.”
Dolores’s secret to achieving 100 years is simple. “Just be happy,” she said. “If you’re happy it shows.”
One of the final surprises at her party was when Dolores got to meet her great, great, grandson who was born two weeks before her birthday. Dolores unwrapped a white onesie for the baby that read, “100 years apart.”
The celebration continued with a vintage car parade.