Gertrude Fish (in photo, above) and Audrey Hanlon have been friends since they met at Hopewell Church, Morgantown, 20 years ago.
"Being from Massachusetts myself, when we were introduced I recognized her accent right away," Audrey said. "We've been friends ever since.'
When Gertrude was approaching her 100th birthday, Audrey was one of the friends who planned the drop-in party held at the Intercourse (Lancaster County) Fire Hall on Dec. 12.
"The birthday cake had a large photo of Gertrude when she retired from teaching in 1966," Audrey said.
Audrey estimates 200 people came to the celebration.
"She is such a gracious lady,' Audrey said, "Every one who greeted her felt appreciated by her.'
Eight relatives drove in for the day from Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Connecticut.
Months before the party, Audrey was busy with another activity involving her friend, She wrote a 20-page booklet, Life of Gertrude T. Fish.
The book tells of life in Massachusetts, of her school days, and of teaching school where she taught a class of 52 students. She remembers the Great Depression. She tells of her marriage to Wallace who later died. Then after her second marriage they moved to Lancaster County, where she had frequently visited in previous years.
Getting information for the book brought back memories for Audrey. She recognized places Gertrude mentioned.
"The past year, I visited the Cape twice to take pictures of her home town of Dennis,' Audrey said. "I was able to talk with two of her former pupils, Class of 1950,' Audrey included some of those photos in the booklet.
If interested in this booklet, contact Audrey at 610-856-7414,
Audrey shared one of her New England recipes.
4 cups cranberries
1 cup raisins
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1 1/2 cups water
1 medium onion, chopped fine
1 cup celery, chopped fine
1 large apple, pared, cored, and chopped
Combine first seven ingredients in a large saucepan. Cook until berries pop and mixture thickens, 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in onion, celery, and apple. Simmer 15 minutes or until thickened. Pour hot mixture into hot jars and seal, or refrigerate. Will keep two weeks in the refrigerator.