Amy Bryanton has blown out a lot of birthday candles.
The centenarian survived the Great Depression, the Second World War, the nuclear jitters of the Cold War, as well as the inauguration of the 45th president, Donald Trump.
“Amy’s mother lived two months short of 100, and her brother was 88-years-old when he died,” said Jessie Adams, while leafing through a scrapbook that she made for her aunt at the turn of her 100th birthday.
But living such a long life has come with its fair share of heartache.
Bryanton lost close friends and family along the way, including her beloved husband, Wilbur, and their only son Wendell.
To mark Bryanton’s milestone 104th birthday on today, close family and friends will quietly be by her side at Clinton View Lodge in Kensington.
Adams acknowledged her aunt has lived a good life.
“She use to churn butter, take the horse and wagon to town, she ran a general store in the 1960s, with a good variety of groceries, penny candy, ice-cream and treats, and she was a bounty hunter that trapped skunks…” she continued, running of a list.
“If she caught a skunk in her trap, she would shoot it. But I can’t picture her cutting the snout off a skunk because back then the government gave you a dollar for a snout. And Amy put a piece in the paper saying that they have to put the bounty back on skunk snouts.
“We always used to joke if someone had a skunk in their yard that they must, ‘call Amy.”
All centenarians have their own habits and routines by which they swear, and Bryanton is no exception when it boils down to home remedies.
“Back then when they got sick, Bryanton turned to goose grease, mustard and flour poultice, boiled molasses and onions to eat and, salt herring tied to feet to cure colds,” said Adams.
“You took Scott’s Emulsion to build your system up and cod liver oil too. Sulphur and molasses was used as a blood cleaner. And heated bricks were used to keep you warm on a sleigh ride or put in your cold bed at night.”
When Bryanton was 90-years-old, she wrote:
“When I was born in 1914, I don’t think there were too much medicine. People had their own cures. Today it seems they feed you a lot of pills. Some people take as high as 11 pills a day. Why so many? You don’t have that many ailments!”
Good genes and living an active lifestyle may have helped Bryanton reach her golden years.
She grew up raising animals and they kept her on her heels. At one point she owned a pet pig, crow, racoon and turtle.
But according to Adams, Bryanton’s most notable highlight was being the caretaker of the “Spring Valley-Baltic dump,” the official disposal site in the 1970s-80s.
Kensington newspaper correspondent Mike England interviewed Bryanton on her amusing stories and poems about the dump.
England wrote, “Bryanton dug up a cherry tree, which she planted near the dump entrance and decorated with plastic oranges, bananas and lemons.”
There were no other dumps that had the carnival atmosphere that Bryanton had perfected, with her picnic tables, fruit trees and toasters.