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Just one left for 80th class reunion

Dolores Meier, situated on a scooter, is surrounded by daughter-in-law Lilah (left), Marvel and Mary. No, she doesn't really drive a scooter. (Special to The Globe)

WORTHINGTON — Dolores Meier, 98, a native of Bigelow Township, is celebrating her 80th class reunion this year, and it’s going to be a quiet gathering.

“I’m the only one left in my class!” Meier said with a large smile. “And it’s been like that for the last eight years or so.”

It doesn’t help that Meier graduated from a class of just five students at Bigelow High School, which closed a few years after she donned a cap and gown. Her class size was larger than most — there were a few years where only one or two students would graduate.

The daughter of German immigrants, Meier moved to Worthington in 1938 and has lived here ever since.

For her first job, Meier took care of children for busy parents. A few years later, she became a waitress at Club Café, and then a waitress at The Plaza, an Oxford Street gas station and café that once flourished where Walgreens stands now.

“I worked for 60 cents an hour when I was a waitress,” Meier said. “That was quite a bit of money in that time. I bought a summer coat, and I had to pay for it on time, and it cost me nine bucks.”

Meier raised three children: Michael, Marvel and Mary. Marvel will celebrate his 50th class reunion at Worthington High School this year, while Michael, at age 75, still works in construction.

Meier worked hard, too. Following her waitress work, Meier worked at a dry cleaning store for many years, an upholstery shop for 12 years and chicken outlet for another dozen. She retired at age 72.

She’s proud to predate some of the city’s most famous traditions. The year following Meier’s arrival in Worthington, the city kicked off a new, ambitious event called King Turkey Day.

It was a little different back then. In one of the more popular events, organizers would release a flock of turkeys into the street and chase after them.

“I can remember when they chased the turkeys down the street,” Meier said. “They’d fly all over. That was kinda hard work, really, because the turkeys would fill up on the buildings. Sometimes I wish they would go back one year and do that again.”

The family has been trying to have Meier honored during the King Turkey Day parade, but Meier doesn’t want any part of it. She’s perfectly comfortable watching with friends and family from the comfort of her front-row seat on McMillan Street.

“I told them, I’m not doing it,” Meier said. “I want to sit right here, open my curtain and watch the parade from my house, like I do every year.”

Meier lives a comfortable life filled with puzzles, cooking, reading, television and hanging out with her many friendly neighbors, who help her with various things on a daily basis.

“I’m so thankful that I have people who come and help me out,” Meier said. “Otherwise, I wouldn’t be able to live here by myself and have this view.”

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