The Star-News


100 years in the making

Sat, Feb 23 2013 12:00 PM Posted By: Richard Peña

It was in April of last year that I first wrote about Ada Osborn. This was on a rather momentous occasion. She was observing her 99th birthday.

What we did not know—or realize—at that time was that we were entering a season.

Remember how we have often insisted in this space that Thanksgiving and Christmas are not one day observances?

They are the culmination of a season. Similar to these two days, reaching the century milestone starts when one is 99 years old and then climaxes with one loud bang on a day set aside for that purpose.

Last Saturday was Ada’s Day.  She was joined by nearly 200 friends and family members at the storied Admiral Kidd Club in the Loma Portal area on the observance of this singular event.

Among guests joining Ada the other day were relatives, cousins and the like from as far away as Denmark. Ada, we learned, is a first generation citizen of this country. The story has been told how her mother left Denmark in 1904 and came to this country.

She married shortly after arriving on these shores and the family gradually shifted westward until they settled in what is now Chula Vista, the neighborhood of Moss and Fourth Avenue.

According to Sue Osborn, a daughter-in-law, this was the headquarters for the Osborn and Johansen clans, two prolific families that raised families and farmed the land. Land, we understand, was rather inexpensive in those days, going for as little as $3 an acre.

Ada once related to me how life was rather hard at that time and it was important that each family member do his or her share. She was one of seven siblings. The custom at the time was for the older children to care for those younger, a not impossible task, but a task nevertheless.

Like many of the children of that age living in the South Bay, she attended the F Street School and then Sweetwater High School, the choices for schools being rather limited. Ada made many friends at that time, some being still around.

In the column we did on Ada last year I mentioned how she told me that she remembered the flood of 1916. Ada was only 3 years old at the time but she recalls her father was involved in many acts of rescue during the flood.

In the early 1930s Ada met Aulman Osborn and they married and raised a family. One of their offspring is Gary who lives on my hill. I recall once asking Ada what she did for recreation when she was a young married woman. It was Gary who supplied the answer. The family bought a 1937 Chevrolet and on Sundays would take trips all over the county. There were frequent visits to the Wagon Wheel restaurant in Santee where they had square dances and other forms of recreation. I remember that place so I suppose I am dating myself.

Ada lives in a condo near the Chula Vista Golf Club. Part of her activity is walking part of the trail around the golf course.  There was a time when she frequently played a round of golf but she has had to curtail it. This is something I fully understand.

The Osborns, Gary and Sue, have two daughters, Darla and Nicole, who live out of town but came in for the celebration. Also living nearby is Gayle Fredsti.  Her three daughters, Yvonne, Lori and Donna, were here for the celebration, the latter two making the jaunt all the way from Baltimore. Living in the area is a daughter, Bonnie Wolfe, who with her husband Neil were instigators of the party.

The above-mentioned relatives are only a few of the individuals who are close to Ada. There are a host of others, friends who will do likewise. This latter group includes me. I am still trying to unearth that secret known as old age.


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