Valley Breeze

The Valley Breeze Cumberland Lincoln 04-04-2019

The Valley Breeze Newspapers serving the Northern Rhode Island towns of Cumberland, Lincoln, Woonsocket, Smithfield, North Smithfield, Pawtucket, North Providence, Scituate, Foster, and Glocester

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6 CUMBERLAND APRIL 4-10, 2019 | VALLEY BREEZE | CUMBERLAND LINCOLN EDITION CUMBERLAND – Do the best you can, be good to your neighbors, never argue and always be happy. That's the advice of Cumberland resi- dent Beatrice "Bea" Malo, who cele- brated her 100th birthday at Autumn Villa last Wednesday, March 27. When Malo returned to the assist- ed living facility after an afternoon outing with her family, she was greet- ed with a grand "surprise!" as her neighbor, family and friends gath- ered to celebrate her centennial. She was surprised again when Mayor Jeff Mutter arrived to present her with a citation, and again when members of the Cumberland Senior Center's Glee Club paid her tribute by singing "Let It Be" by The Beatles while they held up letters spelling B-E-A. "I was shaking," Malo said. "It was so beautiful … it was all too much." Malo was moved to tears by the tribute and the fact that her loved ones traveled from as far as Florida and Texas to be with her on her birthday. The room was filled with love, Malo said. "You can't help but cry," she said, covering her face with her hands. "So many people I haven't seen in so long and they were all here. I know they love me. I love them all," she said. There were four generations of her family in attendance, including grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren. Malo, a lifelong Rhode Islander, was born and raised in Cumberland where she remained to raise her two children. Taking stock of her life, Malo said her story, like any, has been filled with highs and lows, happy memories and sad. She pauses to remember her younger brother, who volunteered for the service during World War II and was killed in action in Germany. "We were so, so close," she said. "When he was born I put all of my dolls away and played with his things. I always wanted to be with him." Asked about her happiest memory, she didn't hesitate. "The happiest was when I got mar- ried," she said. There's excitement and longing in her voice when she speaks about her husband, Armand, her one true love. "That's it. There was never anyone else. Exciting or dull life, I don't know, but it was a good one until he passed away." As a member of a girls' baseball team, Malo said she remembers there always being a crowd of men who would come to the field to watch them play. One day, Armand approached her and asked her per- mission to walk him home. She agreed, and they hit it off right away. She married him at age 18, and the couple remained together for more than 25 years before he died in his 40s following a decline in health. "I never looked for anybody else after having such a good man. I could not," she said. Though she described her husband as more of a homebody, she said he always gave her the freedom and encouragement to go out where and when she wanted to. "I can't think of anything bad about him," she said, pointing to a photo of the two of them on the wall of her room. They went on to have two children together, six grandchildren, nine great-grandchildren and one great- great-grandson. Is there a secret to her good health and vivacity? Malo said she simply tried her best. "I don't do anything I shouldn't do," she said. Mostly, Malo said she tries to treat people with kindness and spread happiness. She loves her home at Autumn Villa, and the staff and resi- dents whom she said go out of their way to help her. "I would not trade this for any- thing," she said, adding confidently, "I am happy." Bea Malo overcome with emotion on 100th birthday By NICOLE DOTZENROD Valley Breeze Staff Writer BREEZE PHOTOS BY NICOLE DOTZENROD MALO sings to her 2-year-old great- great-grandson VINCENT RHODES, below, on her 100th birthday. BEATRICE "BEA" MELO is moved to tears by the Cumberland Senior Center's rendition of "Let It Be" by The Beatles for Malo's surprise 100th birthday celebration at Autumn Villa last week. During the song, members held up letters that spelled out "B-E-A."

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