The biggest blizzard in decades is starting to wind down in Waterbury Center. Florilla Ames is snug inside, listening to music from the group Solas. A little sunshine on a stormy day. On a clear day, it's a panoramic view stretching from Camel's Hump to Mount Mansfield.
"You can see the ski runs from Mansfield," Florilla said. "Today it looks very foggy."
This Friday, Florilla will be 106. She lives in her childhood home. She's a fiercely independent woman.
Reporter Joe Carroll: Why do you think you've lived to be 106?
Florilla Ames: Well, I guess they don't want me to be anywhere else... If I'm here, I might as well enjoy it!
But Florilla has to deal with macular degeneration.
"Put a little smoke beside it and you see what I see," Florilla said.
Joe Carroll: Is that the most frustrating thing?
Florilla Ames: Yes, oh my God, yes. I can't read or do puzzles or do the things I so love to do.
A once voracious reader, she devoured 1,900 books over 20 years. Now, music, books on tapes and friends keep her occupied.
"We've done a lot talking; she's my adopted grandmother," neighbor Warren Davey said.
Davey and his family check-in almost every day.
"You have a good afternoon," he told Florilla after visiting.
Last year, Florilla was in the hospital for a few days. Being over a century made her a celebrity.
"People were coming in and looking in the door to see what I looked like," she said. "And when I go anywhere, I feel it. I'm an oddity."
Florilla was born one year before the Titanic sank. World War I was years away and the Spanish Flu was killing millions around the world, including more than a few in Waterbury Center.
"There was a couple who lived up above, maybe a mile or two, young couple, they had a baby. They all died," Florilla recalled.
Florilla's whole family became sick. A family friend milked the cows and did the chores while they recovered. All of them survived.
"You turn around and you see me on the wall," Florilla said.
It's her high school senior photo.
Joe Carroll: What goes through your mind when you see that photograph?
Florilla Ames: Well, I think I was pretty good looking.
Joe Carroll: Haven't changed a bit.
Florilla Ames: No? Then there's something wrong with your eyes then!
Florilla met Darrel teaching in Derby Line.
"Here's a couple pictures of my husband," she said.
They moved to Massachusetts for work. When Florilla's mother got cancer, she came home to the homestead to take care of her. Florilla never left. Darrel has since died. They were married for 70 years.
She says she's a very fortunate woman.
"Oh no, this is where I'm happy to be," she said.
And the melodies still play on after a lifetime of living and more.
PO Box 4508