Happy birthday to Herlda Senhouse, Wellesley’s oldest resident, who on February 28 celebrated her 112th birthday. With COVID restrictions lifted at Herlda’s home at Glen Grove, well-wishers came out in force to help the centenarian mark the festive occasion. Over 50 guests including friends, nieces and nephews, and a strong contingent from her church home of Myrtle Baptist in West Newton, came to share memories and create even more.
Herlda looked beautiful, as always. Wearing a neutral sweater under a blazer that shined with metallic thread, along with her signature strand of pearls, she set the standard for style. Guests, too, were dressed to impress and looked well as they relaxed in each other’s company and remarked on the super-longevity of their dear friend. Everyone there seemed to have known Herlda for decades. Everyone looks up to the 44-year Wellesley resident as the gold standard. “She’s wise, she’s a strong lady. I’d like to be in her shoes one day,” said June.
Wellesley Select Board vice chair Tom Ulfelder on behalf of the town congratulated Herlda on her “extraordinary milestone” and expressed admiration for her continuous quest “for new adventures to complete her bucket list.” This year’s goal: to meet President Barack Obama.
Herlda never goes wanting for meaningful human connection. Besides socializing at her yearly birthday party, she has a friend group she meets up with regularly at area restaurants. “She likes to go out to dinner. We all go out to dinner a lot,” Gerald Jones said. “Sometimes she pays and won’t let us pay. But today is her day. I always tell her I promised her father I’d have her home by ten. For the most part, I do.”
In addition to outings close to home, Herlda occasionally goes farther afield to try her luck at Encore Casino in Everett, where she favors the slots. About her overnight there last week she acknowledged, “I made a little piece of money.” Luck follows this lady around wherever she goes.
But perhaps luck can claim only part of the credit for Herlda’s longevity, long-term friendships, and life well-lived. It seems there’s something about Myrtle Baptist that keeps Herlda and her friends engaged, their exuberance uncaged, and looking of an indeterminate age.
“That’s right. It’s where love abides,” I was told.
Happy birthday, Herlda.