There’s a big birthday coming up in the Quad Cities and people from across the country are doing what they can to make it special.
Elsie Carmichael is turning the big 102 on Saturday.
This week, her daughter and great granddaughter have been trying to get her 102 birthday cards to mark the occasion.
Local 4’s Tahera Rahman sat down with the three women to find out what Elsie means to her loved ones and how much those birthday cards mean to her.
“Do you remember when we used to go to the dollar store and you’d buy me a Barbie when I came to visit you?” asks Erica, Elsie’s great granddaughter.
“No,” responds Elsie.
Elsie Carmichael doesn’t remember much.
“I don’t know what; I don’t remember hardly,” she says.
And sometimes it’s a good thing.
“Was I ornery?” asks Sandy, Elsie’s daughter.
“I don’t remember you ever being ornery,” Elsie says.
“Good,” Sandy responds.
But there’s plenty that Elsie’s daughter and great granddaughter remember about her.
“We spent a lot of time dancing. She bowled and I went bowling with her. We were really, really close,” says Sandy.
“We had little play plastic dishes and we’d make lunch on those like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and stuff like that and she’d teach me to wash dishes so we’d wash those,” recalls Erica.
It’s part of why the Sunkens wants to make sure Elsie feels loved.
“The best mom ever, and now you’re going to make me cry,” says Sandy.
“She pretty much raised me by herself. She was a very hard worker. She had to work because my father did not support us,” Sandy says.
Elsie is coming up on 102 years old.
“102, that’s a bit old, I guess,” she says.
And this year, the Sunkens want to give her something different.
“You can’t imagine how much she loves birthday cards,” says Sandy.
“And she won’t let me throw them away. I threw away an envelope today and she about had a fit.”
So over the weekend, Sandy asked her church friends to write her mom a card.
And on Monday, Erica posted on Facebook.
The message quickly caught on.
“Even my realtor, she was like ‘Oh, she’s adorable, such a good idea,'” says Erica.
“We got one today from Texas,” says Sandy.
Giving Elsie a way to relive her moment over and over.
So that even if she forgets, the joy will always come back.
Elsie’s birthday party is on Saturday but the Sunkens are still accepting birthday cards.
You can send them to:
Illini Restorative Care
1455 Hospital Road
Silvis, Ill., 61282