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103 candles for Mary Elizabeth Ionta Walker
FRYEBURG -- On Nov. 29, 2011, Mary Elizabeth Ionta Walker celebrated her 103rd birthday here.
Born in Ridlonville in 1908, she graduated from Mexico High School in 1927. At the time, the high school, along with grades one through eight was located in the Abbott School on Granite Street. Because of numbers, school there had to be split into two sessions -- from 7 a.m. to noon, and noon to 5 p.m.
Mrs. Walker lived on the River Road during those times and remembers having to walk to school because the distance from her home to the school was a bit shorter than the required distance for "bus" riders. The "bus" consisted of a horse-drawn wagon with a covered top. Benches lined both sides and a wood stove was placed in the middle during the winter months.
Upon graduating, she worked a year at the Oxford Paper Co. She then entered Farmington Normal School and received her teaching degree two years later. She taught a few years in Mexico, moved to Fryeburg, married Raymond Walker, birthed a son, Michael, and spent the rest of her teaching career in Fryeburg and Conway, NH. In all, she spent 42 years in the field of education.
She attributes her long life to always going through life with a positive attitude, keeping busy, very busy, having a multitude of caring friends, never having partaken of the noxious weed, abstaining from the use of demon rum, and constantly looking forward to what the future might bring.
Longevity runs in parts of her family as her twin sisters, Marjorie Ionta and Margaret is looking forward to her 100th birthday.
Mary Elizabeth (Aunt Betty) still lives at home and is always reminded of the positive effect she has had on her former students as they constantly drop by to wish her well.