In the era of an email overload, this one stands out: "You have done a great job finding some marvelous Super Seniors, but I know an incredible woman you have missed... She is bright, compassionate, generous, gregarious, feisty, warm and loving."
It was sent by a friend talking about Marion Brown Thorpe, a 96-year-ol South Burlington woman.
Reporter Joe Carroll: Would you consider yourself and independent woman?
Marion Brown Thorpe: Yes.
Joe Carroll: Why?
Marion Brown Thorpe: Because that's the way my life turned me.
Marion was born in Connecticut. Her dad was a physician. One night, when Marion was very young, her mother came into her bedroom: "And she said your father has gone to heaven and if you girls are good you will see him again," Marion recalled.
She said she didn't cry; she thought he was gone on a trip and would be back. They moved to Vermont to be closer to relatives.
Marion graduated from the University of Vermont and started teaching in Northfield, but she got an offer she couldn't refuse.
"I was offered the job with the State Department and the university, it was a joint appointment, as the Assistant State Supervisor for Home Economics," she explained.
And at a time when most women got married, Marion went on to get her master's and teach. People wondered why she didn't get married.
"Some people told me that I had too much money and had a car," she said. "Now what kind of reason is that for not proposing to a young lady?"
This is a story about finding love later in life. You see Marion didn't always live in her current house; she lived next door.
"His wife died, he was lonely. I lived next door and we were already acquainted." She's talking about Norm. He started raking her lawn and doing chores, all to be closer to her.
"I really truly didn't have any inclination when he was doing these things that I was going to marry him," she said.
She went to bed the night he proposed and the reality set in, she was 66.
Marion Brown Thorpe: What have I done? I wasn't sad about it, but I wondered if I had done the right thing.
Joe Carroll: And?
Marion Brown Thorpe: I did.
He was 14 years her senior. They were married for 13 years. He has since passed away.
Marion says the secret to longevity is keeping busy by knitting bears. She gives them away to adults, because they need comfort, too.
"If you have a problem on your mind you might hug him a little," she said.
And if she could get one person back from heaven for an hour it would be her dad.
Joe Carroll: What would you ask him?
Marion Brown Thorpe: How I've done and what he thought I've done with my life.
By all indications, he would be a proud father.
PO Box 4508