“I think I’ll go for a hundred and one”

Keizer has a new centenarian. Shirley Bond reached her 100th birthday, Tuesday, Oct. 10, and a celebration was held for her at the Keizer Elks Club 

Bond—a self-admitted poetry fan—wrote and recited a poem titled Birthdays, at her celebration. The poem ponders the quickening pace of time as one gets older and how the concepts of love and making memories with family become linchpins for happiness as more birthdays pass. 

Born in the farmhouse of her family’s home in Woodburn, Bond was born on Oct. 24, 1923 to Ralph and Ada Seely. She has three long-lived siblings, one older brother and sister who lived till 99 and 98, respectively, as well as a younger sister who lived until the age of 80. 

She married Richard Bond who surprised her with a proposal and an ensuing 50-year marriage a week after coming home from WWII. She has two daughters, two grandsons and a step granddaughter who live in Keizer and Salem. 

Bond’s family traces its roots far back into American history. Her family came from Great Britain in 1630, 10 years after the Mayflower. In 1852, her great-grandparents packed up a covered wagon and left Springfield, Ill. to come here via the Oregon Trail. They settled on the banks of the Molalla River originally, then moved to Wilsonville due to wanting to be closer to schools because of their large family. 

She received her education from Woodburn High School where she participated in the school choir and as a booster girl. Bond graduated in the class of 1941. 

After high school she attended the Oregon College of Education and attained her certification in teaching for both kindergarten and elementary-aged children. 

She taught first grade in Independence though took a break after her first child. From there she went on to teach kindergarten in Hillsboro for the remaining 28 years until her retirement. 

Bond has lived throughout the state in places like Woodburn, Monmouth, Hillsboro and now Keizer. Staying active she enjoys hobbies like reading, playing the piano and maintains a fondness for the musical films of opera-singing movie couple Jeanette Macdonald and Nelson Eddy. 

She participated in a number of community groups and is still an active member of the Family and Community Educators group through OSU. 

Bond recounted a road trip with her aunt and uncle in their Ford Model T. Her family would stay the night together to wake up and start traveling early, stopping at Oma’s for sandwiches which she recalls as “one reason I spent a lot of time with this aunt probably babysitting me.” 

The Model T got a flat tire due to the unfriendly road conditions of the time. This resulted in their car being unable to navigate the hills near Palermo, Calif. going forwards, prompting them to drive up the hills in reverse. 

This passion for traveling with her family has followed her through life such as her love for boating and fishing with her family off of Cape Kiwanda. They would sail and catch enough fish to bring home to eat, can or give away. She enjoyed riding in a motorboat with her husband and children, speeding and bouncing over the waves with some of them even coming over the side and knocking her glasses off. 

When asked about reaching the age of 100, she replied that she was “probably as surprised to be 90 as to be 100.” 

When it comes to the various health issues one encounters in life she said it is all about knowing how to handle them as well as the fact that as the years go on you need to understand that “everything needs more pills to treat.” 

She credits her robust lifespan to both her topnotch genetics as well as maintaining a positive attitude in life saying “I just feel blessed that the only worries I used to have are [the same] with many of us. I could be in a wheelchair and be happy. I could lose my sight. It would be difficult but I could still, you know, I love to talk.” 

Bond described that while she may have some aches and pains, she does not feel her age nor does she have any worries going forward, recalling her poem’s last stanza: 

But 99 was so much fun, 

I think I’ll try 

for a hundred and one!