I went over to the Bonita Valley Ranch, the assisted-living facility on Bonita Mesa, the other day to talk with Dorothy Doyle. One of the first things she told me was that she was a “Titanic Baby” born two months after the sinking of the ship. On June 19 Dorothy will be 100 years old.
I think almost everyone who meets a person nearing the 100 mark want to know “what is the secret.” Is there a magic potion out there that is going to give eternal youth? There once was an explorer who sought a fountain of youth in Florida. Did he fail to find it but someone else did? I asked the youthful looking Ms. Doyle about her secret for longevity and she merely shrugged. “I don’t know. I just wake up each morning, get dressed and go on about my business.” And that about takes care of any secret formula for hitting the century mark.
Dorothy was born and raised in Chevy Chase, Maryland. She was an only child and she relates how her father reacted when she was born. “He was expecting a boy and when I came along he went out and bought a car. The first one he ever had.” Although her father had an automobile to travel in she remembers her mother driving a horse and buggy which seemed to be the mode of travel in 1912.
Dorothy attended school in the District of Columbia and on graduating from high school entered the University of Maryland. While at the university she met her future husband, John Thomas Doyle. Upon graduation they married and there began a series of moves that would eventually land her in California.
When Dorothy’s husband retired they moved to Vista to be nearer their children and grandchildren. The family had four children, all girls. Dorothy smiled when she told me that her oldest daughter was eighteen when her fourth daughter was born, one who currently lives in La Mesa. Dorothy has six grandchildren and four great grandchildren that she is able to see from time to time.
Dorothy’s husband died in 2007 and she eventually moved into her present home at the Bonita Valley Ranch. The setting, says Dorothy, is perfect for her. The view from her quarters is out to a garden that is dominated, near her window, by a huge Pride of Madera bush that seemed to be in full bloom.
The assisted living acreage, however, is a bucolic, tranquil setting that will be a perfect setting for that birthday celebration in June.