Audrey “Norma” Porteus bundled up Saturday afternoon and stood on the porch of the Sacandaga Valley Arts Network in Northville to watch friends and family drive by honking, playing music and wishing her a “happy birthday.”
Porteus turned 103 on Tuesday.
“With the pandemic, it’s a little harder to get people together,” said Drea Fetsko, one of Porteus’ granddaughters.
Porteus said she was surprised by the parade and that it was great seeing everyone.
Over the past century, Porteus has seen a lot of history take place and made a lot of memories. She’s traveled to countries such as Australia, Fiji, Egypt, China and Japan. When she was turned 100, she was honored with the state Senate Commendation Award by Sen. Jim Tedisco. The next year, the state U.S. Bowling Congress honored her for being the oldest active bowler at 101.
Porteus’s granddaughter Liza Viano recalled the centenarian learning to jet ski one summer, just a couple years ago.
Porteus credits her long life to her good health.
“Just keep going,” she said. “I’ve been pretty fortunate with my health.”
Her family believes it’s because she walks every day, sometimes two times a day in the summer. She’s also not afraid of an adventure or trying new things, said her daughter Kim Lawrence.
Lawrence, her husband Peter and daughter Caitlynn, drove down from Canajoharie to be a part of the parade.
“The fact that she’s willing to try anything at her age that’s what’s inspiring,” Kim Lawrence said.
Cailtlynn Lawrence loves that her great grandma can still recall stories from when she was younger.
“She loves sharing them,” Cailtlynn said.
Toni and Wayne Wilson also stopped by. They live about two miles from Porteus in Edinburg.
“She’s amazing,” Toni Wilson said. “She’s witty. She always stays up on topics.”
Shortly after the parade finished, Porteus’ friend Wendy Barrett stopped by to drop off some English biscuits so Porteus would have something to snack on while she watched her shows.
“I miss you,” Porteus told her friend.
Porteus has not been able to see many of her friends, due to COVID, or do some of the things she had done prior to the pandemic, like bowling.
While she’s unlikely to start bowling again, due to shaky footing, she really wants to be able to get back together with her friends.
“You’re looking younger than ever,” Barrett said before heading out.
As people left the parade, they stopped and grabbed a little favor from Fetsko – a tiny Smucker’s jar with Porteus’ face on it.
The family submitted her face for TODAY’s program where Roker and the show’s sponsor Smucker’s recognize viewers turning 100 or older or couples who have been together for 75 years or more.
“She always wanted to be on the Al Roker Smucker’s TV show,” Fetsko said.