Keenly self aware of her vivacious spirit and appearance, Irma Guest cracks a big smile on the eve of her birthday and declares, “I wish you could see people’s faces when they’re told I’m going to be 100.”
While Irma said she doesn’t feel any different reaching this age, her family has long been looking forward to this occasion.
Bogart mayor Janet Jones and Irma’s other children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren will join Irma this weekend for a variety of food and festivities.
This Saturday, Jones and the Guests will host a drive-by car parade for Irma from 4-6 p.m. in front of the family’s 140 West Thompson Street home in Bogart. Anybody is welcome to drive by and greet Irma.
Irma was born on Oct. 1, 1920, in Savannah, and she was a longtime resident of Bogart before calling Athens’ Lanier Gardens retirement facility her home.
“I feel like I’m home,” Irma said about her current residence. “A lot of friends [live here] that I knew when I lived in Bogart and walked at the mall up there.”
Wisdom comes with age, and Irma said she is still learning. As a retired librarian, books have provided her with a never-ending intellectual stimulus.
“I still read all the time...mostly fiction novels,” she said. “I’m about to run out.”
Reading isn’t all she has done the past several months. During the pandemic’s initial peak, Irma knitted several family members masks and made many more prayer shawls for Athens’ First United Methodist Church to distribute to those in need.
“I’ve been knitting since I was in college...so, just a few years ago,” she jokingly told The Oconee Enterprise earlier this spring. “I tell you, it’s good for the arthritis in my hands.”
Those crafty projects even landed her a spot on FOX 5 News shortly after The Enterprise’s interview.
And Irma is still knitting, although this time it’s a baby sweater for the soon-to-be-born baby of a former pastor.
“I’m also making sweaters for my youngest great-grandchildren,” she added.
Many have already vowed to visit Irma during her drive-by parade, including a former student of hers. While shopping at Walmart, Irma and her other daughter, Elaine, ran into a lady named Jackie that attended Oconee Street Elementary School when Irma served as a librarian there.
“Elaine went to her last week to let her know we’re having the drive by and she said Mama had made such an impression on her, that she had took her under her wing and taught her things,” Jones said. “She said ‘She was stern’ but said that she had learned so much from Mama...she wanted to make sure she came by and said ‘Hey’ to her because she had done so much for her growing up.”