Still tops at age 100

Alice Hastings celebrates her 100th birthday Saturday, with her trademark grace and elegance still permeating.

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June 7, 2024 - 2:40 PM

As sweet as ever, Alice Hastings turns 100 Saturday. When Susan Lynn visited her Thursday morning, she rose out of her chair — quite easily! — to give the Register editor a warm hug.

Growing up, I regarded a few of my parents’ friends as a cast of characters; some of whom had a larger than usual influence on my life. 

Marlene Lenski was irreverent and intimidating; and thus very, very mysterious to me. Judge Robert Stadler quizzed me on words, what books I was reading and hung around for the answers, just like Atticus Finch of “To Kill a Mockingbird.” 

And then there was Alice Hastings, who seemed to walk right out of a fairy tale, her beauty and manner so perfect, a quality I found unparalleled but one which I think at times could vex my mother.

I distinctly remember one summer day when Alice “popped by.”

My mother came in from working in the yard. Red-faced. Damp. 

While Alice looked as if she’d just come from a Better Homes & Garden photo shoot. She smelled of lilacs. My mother, weed killer.

Alice Garcelon Lincoln Hastings turns 100 Saturday. 

Today, she is a somewhat diminished version of herself. And yet, what have always been her best qualities shine through even more.  

It’s not that Alice hasn’t faced challenges,  but that she has seemed able to keep them from overwhelming her.

A few simple things  keep her anchored today. Family. A peaceful view out her window. Reading. And maintaining a grateful nature. 

Alice is a six-year resident at Heartland Meadows, an assisted living care facility, where she resides in a simple and spare room. 

“I don’t miss a thing,” she said of the transition from her longtime home in the Meadowbrook subdivision, where her favorite room — an expansive screened-in porch — looked out over a field. 

“I don’t need to be there. I’ll see it in my mind forever,” she said. 

She looks around her room and smiles. 

“I have everything I need here. I’m just as pleased and happy as I can be,” she said. 

Born in Ebor City, Florida on June 8, 1924, Alice graduated from Florida State College for Women in Tallahassee — today’s Florida State University — with an accounting degree. 

She married Jack Hastings in 1946. The couple moved to Iola in 1949. Hastings took on with The Register’s advertising department in 1952, where he remained until 2012. He died at age 90 in 2014.

For much of their 68-year marriage, Alice took care of the couple’s finances, she said, in addition to being a stay-at-home mom with sons Mark and Ladd. 

“She likes things a certain way,” daughter-in-law Chardelle Hastings said Thursday. Does now. Always did. 

On a table in her room are three small bottles of Coke, each facing forward. She’ll straighten them if they’re askew, Chardelle said. “When you only have one room to care for, you want it like you want it, right?” 

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