WILLIAMSTOWN -- A lifelong Adams resident celebrated 100 years Thursday at Williamstown Commons with a room full of family, friends and neighbors who'd had the temerity to surprise her.
"I was so elated that I can't express it," Sophie Michalski, the area's latest centenarian, said after the party. "All they told me was put on some good clothes."
A knitter, Polish cook, mother, lover of travel and flowers, and not to be forgotten, a worker, Michalski lived on Valley Street a total of 91 years.
Michalski, born Sophie Paluch, attended St. Stanislaus Kostka School and Renfrew Elementary School and worked at the former Berkshire Cotton Mills, Sprague Electric and Williams College during her career.
She married neighbor and childhood sweetheart Walter Michalski in 1939.
She raised, and unfortunately survived, two sons, Wally and Paul, and has seven grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.
"We all have our own special relationships and appreciation of Sophie," said nephew Rick Berti, who'd organized the party. "She has so many virtues, and accepts life as it is without squabbling with anyone."
Berti said the cost of a loaf of bread was six cents when Michalski was born, and the average annual salary was $1,296.
Berti also read letters of recognition from the Adams Board of Selectman, state Sen. Richard Neal and Barack and Michelle Obama, though the last letter was misaddressed to Berti.
"Those of you who don't like Obama can have some fun with that one," Berti said.
In an interview with the Transcript, Michalski recalled travels to Holland, the Canadian Rockies, London and Ireland and said working was the secret to longevity.
She said her favorite food to cook was perogies and admitted to driving until the ripe age of 91. Explaining why she had to stop, Michalski said: "My son was after me because I hit the garage. But I'd painted over the ding and everything."
Berti ended his words by saying how peaceful a person Michalski is. He ran through the a list of the many military conflicts the U.S. has been involved in since Michalski's birth.
"That's a lot of wars," he said. "And I don't think there would be any if she had anything to do with it."
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