A century of caring

About 100 children from Westminster Catawba Christian School sing to Rosalind Daniel on Friday to celebrate her 100th birthday.
About 100 children from Westminster Catawba Christian School sing to Rosalind Daniel on Friday to celebrate her 100th birthday.

There are birthday parties, and then there are 100th birthday parties.

Then, there are 100th birthday parties for a lady who can't hear a lick but talks a blue streak, and gets her hair and makeup done, and wears pink clothes because she always loved pink.

A woman whose selflessness for the underprivileged at Christmas started when Woodrow Wilson was president and continues today across America.

Rosalind Daniel, 100 years old Friday, deserved a bash at Westminster Towers.

She got more, including 100 kids from Westminster Catawba Christian School singing "Happy Birthday." Daniel didn't hear a word, but she read lips. Especially when one kid piped in "and many more."

"Beautiful," Daniel said.

Then, she gestured to little kid after little kid to come toward her and get what this lady who taught elementary school for decades really wanted. Daniel said she had just received a letter from a former student, from so long ago, who wrote that she remembered the wonderful teacher, Mrs. Daniel, after more than 70 years.

Daniel wanted hugs.

Abby Dixon, 6, got that first hug.

"I told her happy birthday," Abby said.

No doubt Daniel read Abby's lips.

Daniel's generosity endures across the country. She started refurbishing and giving away dolls as a child. After college and marriage in Jacksonville, Fla., after World War II, Daniel and other lady friends went further, turning the Daniel garage into a doll hospital and then a Christmas store.

"I can remember times when we didn't get what we wanted for Christmas, but there wasn't another child who my mother knew of who didn't get what she wanted," said a daughter, Nancy.

The Marine Corps League adopted the toy and doll program that became the national Toys for Tots. Daniel even got a proclamation from the South Carolina Senate on Friday, thanking her for a lifetime of generosity.

Her lifetime has endured with grace. She is as lively as any centenarian you will ever meet. Her hair is her own, her teeth, too. Another resident at the assisted living center -- the lobby was packed -- came up to her and wished her a happy birthday with the words, "I hope when I am a hundred, I look as pretty as you."

Daniel's son, Bill, was a professor at Winthrop University for years, and Rosalind Daniel came to live in Rock Hill about three years ago. Daniel was widowed more than 30 years ago, so she was asked if she had a boyfriend over there at the Towers. Of course, it was me who asked. I ask all the older single ladies that question.

She raised her hand and curled out finger after finger.

"One, two, three," she giggled.

Her running buddy at the Towers sat nearby Friday. Daniel's sister-in-law, Mary James, who hears just fine.

"But I'm just a kid," James said. "I'm only 95."