Audrey Brooks celebrates 102nd birthday at Sundale

MORGANTOWN — Drinking Dr. Pepper on a regular basis can help you live to be 102.

Well, maybe not most people, but Audrey Brooks swears by the soft drink.

On Friday May 18, Brooks celebrated her 102nd birthday with a new six-pack of Dr. Pepper at Sundale Rehabilitation and Long-Term Care.

“She loves Dr. Pepper and we try to give it to her as often as she wants it,” said Donna Tennant, the director of admissions and marketing at Sundale.

Brooks also had the chance to spend some time celebrating her birthday with one of her two sons, Thursday May 17, at her house in Westover.

On May 19, her grandchildren and great-grandchildren will be visiting her from the Eastern Panhandle.

To this day, she still owns her house in Westover, and every so often, her caregivers will take her back to visit her home and let her spend some time there.

“Just being able to see her house gives her a sense of satisfaction and peace, to know that everything is still there just like it was when she left,” Tennant said. “She’s always liked to go back. She goes back to visit the house for about an hour or so and then after that she says she’s ready to go home, ready to come back (to Sundale).”

Before retiring, Brooks was a teacher at Suncrest Primary School for about 40 years. Despite being an avid reader, her favorite subject to teach was math.

Spring is Brooks’ favorite time of year, and not just because of her birthday. She’s always had an affinity for all the natural flora that comes with springtime.

“In the spring, the flowers start to come out and the trees start to get green,” Tennant said. “She would always tell us what we needed to plant and where we needed to plant it. She was always very involved in doing that.”

Brooks’ husband died in 2007 and she started considering a move to Sundale, but was hesitant at first.

Above all, she didn’t want to be alone in her house.

So, Tennant went to visit Brooks at her home and helped to reassure her that if she lived at Sundale, she would have people with her all the time, she would have people to talk to and she would have more things to do and occupy her time.

“She’s gotten to the point, after being here for as many years as she has, that she looks at the people (at Sundale) like family, as we look at her as being part of our family,” Tennant said.

Currently, Brooks is the oldest resident at Sundale. According to Tennant, the oldest resident Sundale had was 107.

“She says that she’s going to beat that,” Tennant said.

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