Ms. Lillian Inez Palmer (Ms. Lillian) turns 100 on June 13, and her longevity will be celebrated with a neighborhood birthday celebration on Saturday, June 16 from 2 to 5 p.m. at Westminster Presbyterian Church. All are welcome!
Ms. Lillian spent her formative years in Whitesboro, New Jersey, a small, all-black town located in Cape May County. Change for Ms. Lillian came quickly; after elementary school she and her mother moved to upper Manhattan, a population increase of more than 6 million people of every race and nationality. Except for a brief return to Whitesboro as she completed high school, Ms. Lillian truly became a “New York City girl.” Living in NYC for close to 90 years, Ms. Lillian resided in her Bronx apartment for 47 of them before relocating to Southwest DC in November 2016. Still alert to time and space, she recalls each of her seven other NYC addresses.
According to geriatric research, many elderly persons experience significant and often severe health condition declines when they relocate, however, Ms. Lillian seems to have found the secret to a successful residential transfer after 98. Although she notes that she misses some features of NYC, she often brags to her former neighbors that right around the corner from her cousin’s DC apartment is Jazz Night on Fridays, Blue Monday Blues on Mondays, and a fabulous library just a few blocks away. Ms. Lillian also takes a seated yoga class at Westminster Presbyterian Church and likes to dine on the scrumptious lunch served for DC seniors at the KIBAR Center hosted at Masjid Muhammad.
Also high on the list of added advantages of DC, Ms. Lillian gets to spend quality time with her two-year-old cousin, Chase Johnson. She also treasures her close encounters with Jack, the Jack Russell Terrier that belongs to her cousins Jalen and Kijani Long. The Longs are putting the finishing touches on their book about Ms. Lillian.
For most of her adult life, Ms. Lillian has been a patron of the arts. Recently she shared some of her original poems at the Washington International School’s Rites of Spring program, where she was paired with 11-year-old poetess, Ilaria Luna. For many years while living in NYC, Ms. Lillian had annual memberships at more than eight of the city’s most popular museums and she often rubbed shoulders with celebrities. Now that she lives in DC she has frequently taken advantage of the Smithsonian Institution’s fine collection of museums and enjoys events at Arena Stage and the Kennedy Center. She notes that the National Museum of African American History and Culture and the National Museum of the American Indian are her favorites, but she also enjoys the collections at the National Gallery of Art.
By: Ahmad Nurriddin