Connect the Dots! All from the same hometown, Dorothy Buchanan, Dorothy Murray and Dorothy Kern – also known as the Three Dots – just celebrated a major milestone! To call them longtime friends is an understatement, as the three friends each celebrated their 100th birthdays this year!
The world was a different place when the three friends were born in 1919 in Auburn, Maine. Woodrow Wilson was president. Women had just been given the right to vote. And according to the Social Security Administration, a baby girl born in 1919 had a 1.9 percent chance of living to 100.
The Three Dots certainly proved that statement wrong! The three friends graduated from the same high school in 1937, and have since celebrated landmark events together, outliving classmates, husbands, and sadly, even some of their children. Still residing in Auburn, two of them continue to live in the same houses that belonged to their parents.
These remarkable women lived through some of the most difficult periods in world history. After graduating from Bates College, Dot Kern, the youngest of the three friends, worked at the Lewiston Sun Journal, where she met her husband. She had the thrill of announcing the end of World War II in a giant headline on the newspaper’s office window facing the street. She then obtained a second degree in Library Science from Colby College and worked as a librarian at the local high school.
Dot Buchanan worked at the American Red Cross during World War II as an executive secretary, after graduating from business college. Her husband was stationed in Hawaii, and she always feared seeing his name in the casualty lists. She would later find a job as an accountant. Buchanan said, “That was expected of women. Well, before that women never worked, but after the war that was expected of women…but I liked it. Everything I did I always liked.”
Dot Murray recalled the difficulty of the Great Depression, a worldwide economic recession that started in 1929 to the late 1930s. She remembered eating Depression-era pickle sandwiches — sweet pickles with mayonnaise between two slices of bread. Murray said, “Times were tough during the early 1930s, but we made it… We couldn’t spend much, that’s all.”
She later worked as a secretary and assisted her husband in running his business. On her 100th birthday, Murray was given the key to the city by the mayor of Auburn. “I thought it was kind of a big thing,” she shared. “But Dot Buchanan says it doesn’t open anything.”
The three friend are bound together by a common love for reading and music. Murray can play the piano by ear, and all three enjoy singing, although Kern stopped participating in the church choir this year amid fears that she might fall and hurt herself.
The Three Dots also have their faith to guide them. Buchanan said, “I’m not afraid of death. But I don’t want any pain.”
When the friends get together, they always ask the inevitable question: “How are you feeling?!” As their 100th year draws to a close, everyone seems to be feeling good and healthy. Murray declared, “I don’t have an ache or a pain. I drive. I do everything as I always have.” Buchanan is frankly surprised, stating “Why do they let you drive at 100? Why [do] the police let you drive?” Murray replied, “Because I’ve not had any accidents. They can’t stop me. I’m still an excellent driver.”
The two other Dots both attest that driving was the most difficult activity to give up in their old age as it meant the loss of their independence and increasing reliance on their families.
After living through a 100 years, the lifelong friends have some valuable advice to share. Kern is surprised at how time just passed by. “It never slows down,” she said. She also hopes that people would slow down, and pay attention to global issues such as climate change.
Buchanan yearns for tolerance, saying “Accept other people for what they are. Because everybody’s not alike. Everybody’s not like me or like you.” Murray echoed her sentiments, with a particular concern for the polarizing political views prevailing in the country, emphasizing the need to “Get along. Love one another.”
With 300 years between them, these three women are a true testament to endurance and the joyous longevity of friendship!
Story h/t: NPR