As “Happy Birthday” was played on the bagpipes, family and friends gathered to celebrate Bonnie Rose’s 90th birthday from a safe distance.
“It’s a wonderful surprise on my birthday,” Rose said, smiling as she looked at the group gathered in front of her Saugus home last week.
While Rose jokingly told guests she feels old, she certainly doesn’t act like it, as she takes her two Boston terriers on 2-mile walks through the neighborhood each morning.
Rose hasn’t moved much, residing at the same home in Saugus for more than 30 years, and before that, in Sun Valley for nearly 40 years — a habit she says she picked up after moving so much when she was a young child, which included changing schools 28 times.
Joi Dickerson, the close friend of Rose’s who organized the drive-by birthday celebration, felt it only right to do so after Rose had been isolated at home for more than a year.
“She wasn’t going to do anything (for her birthday), but that is a big deal,” Dickerson said of Rose’s 90th. “She just keeps going and going. … She’s always contributing and such a sweet person (who) tries to do for everybody, worries about everybody.”
Of those in attendance were members of the International Society Daughters of Utah Pioneers, a women’s organization that Rose is a part of that is dedicated to preserving the history of the original settlers.
Local Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints stake President Michael Stanley also joined in the celebration for Rose, whom he described lovingly as a “kid at heart.”
Stanley recalled one occasion where he’d talked Rose into letting the church’s youth, who wanted to do something kind for somebody, come over and clean her house.
“She let them run the vacuum for 30 seconds, and then made them all go up into her game room and play games for the rest of the time,” Stanley said, chuckling. “Every time we wanted to do a youth service project again, she was the one they wanted to go to because she was fun.”
Rose looked forward to being able to continue the celebration with her family, including her four children, 11 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren, over the weekend.