By JOHN HOWELL Brentwood Nursing Home made sure that Frances Amico held court on Thursday, even during a pandemic when visitors are restricted and strict distancing and wearing of masks apply. After all, Thursday was no ordinary day for Frances. Her
Brentwood Nursing Home made sure that Frances Amico held court on Thursday, even during a pandemic when visitors are restricted and strict distancing and wearing of masks apply. After all, Thursday was no ordinary day for Frances. Her friends at Brentwood made sure to observe the occasion.
“They started at 7. I was asleep; I didn’t have my wig on,” she said in mock protest as the staff gathered around her throne, which was set up in a hallway giving way to a porch where her subjects were permitted to step in to pay homage to a woman who personifies the will to live and to do it her way.
Her 7 a.m. visitors, members of the staff, were there to sing happy birthday. It was her 106th birthday, quite possibly making her the oldest living Rhode Islander.
Frances has always been somewhat amazed by her longevity, and she shows all signs of continuing to amaze herself. She has always had an independent streak. She was in her late 90s when she was told she should move into an assisted living facility. That didn’t sit well with Frances. She moved into a single-bedroom unit at Greenwood Terrace, where she cooked for herself and maintained a vigorous schedule of crocheting. The output was remarkable. She filled bags upon bags with hats, not only for the heads of children but as covers for rolls of toilet paper. Her friends all have them.
In the last year, Frances fell out of bed and she was taken to the hospital. She landed at Brentwood for rehabilitation and a whole new chapter in her life is beginning.
She has a roommate, Ann, who has become her best friend. She’s put on weight, which has her concerned. She’d like to lose 20 pounds. And she’s back to crocheting – although, she confesses, it was like learning it all over again.
Frances doesn’t forget her friends. She sends Christmas cards and doesn’t hesitate to make calls. Her hearing is getting worse. It can’t stop her. She’s going to tell you what she wants to tell you no matter what. She is also blind in one eye and she complains that the other is giving her problems.
That wasn’t the case at her birthday party.
She was handed a citation of congratulations from the mayor.
When she spotted the city seal, she said she had many of them and said it was nice that Solomon remembered. Then she handed a magnifying glass and read aloud, pausing when arrived at Mayor Frank Picozzi. “Oh, he’s a good one,” she declared to the laughter of staff that had gathered around. Earlier in the afternoon, Picozzi called to congratulate her.
Frances would have been thrilled to hold court all afternoon.
Some of the staff started to slip away, but before more left they broke into song.
Frances was speechless, tears welled.
There was still a cake; surely she would have a piece. At 106, the diet can wait for another day.
WHO SAYS YOU CAN’T HAVE FUN AT 106?
France Amico is surrounded by the Brentwood Nursing Home staff on her 106th birthday, which she celebrated Thursday. (Warwick Beacon photo)