Independent woman has tons of support

Janet Poole, 91, has lived in her city home for 65 years and doesn’t see any reason to move.

“I have everything I need right here,” she said. “I’m like a trophy – everyone wants to see me,” she said with a laugh, about her friends and neighbors who frequently visit.

Her home is equipped with a lift chair and a stair lift so she can get around the house safely.

She said her late husband, Roy, offered to buy her another home when he retired, but she refused.

“I’ve lived in this house 65 years and I love it,” she said. “The neighbors always look out for me since I’m the oldest on the block.”

“Mom is a very fun lady and known by many in town,” said her daughter, Barbara Poole Files, of Houston. “She adores company. The house is always ready for company and is always immaculate.”

Each day, Poole begins her day by reading the Sun-Gazette and looking for the pet photos, which she enjoys.

“I cut them out. I think they’re wonderful,” she said. “I think Williamsport loves dogs.”

Poole said that her daughters, who live in Texas and Colorado, don’t see dog photos that much in the papers where they live.

“I’m an independent person and I’m glad my daughters allow me to stay in my home,” she said. “Sometimes I think I’m being treated too good!”

Poole Files said her sister has an adorable Australian red heeler named Max who has become her mother’s favorite “grandpooch.”

“My mother may turn 92 this April, but Max will be 16 – or 112 in doggy years – and they share many of the same symptoms of old age,” she said.

Janet and Roy were married on Sept. 4, 1946, and spent 60 years together before he passed away seven years ago.

“He was a good guy. He never said an unkind word or a swear word, and was good with the kids,” she said about her husband. “He also had a garden and gave away tomatoes.”

Poole said she used to attend services at St. Luke Lutheran Church before her arthritis – the “old lady’s disease,” as she calls it – made it too difficult. So the church bought her a boombox so she could keep up with the services on cassette tapes.

“I took the attendance for years and I still do,” she said. “It helps keep me connected to the church.”

Poole Files said her mother is “downright inspirational.”

“The members of her Lutheran church nearby fight over who gets to visit her,” Poole Files said.

Poole said that she has many friends and neighbors who check in on her and she uses a catering service that delivers her meals four days a week.

“They cook just like grandma cooks – they’re just wonderful,” she said of her food deliveries.

She has two daughters, Poole Files and Dr. Diane Poole Heller, of Louisville, Colo., and a son, Richard “Dick” Poole, of Camp Hill. She has three grandchildren and one great-granddaughter.

Although her family doesn’t live nearby, she keeps in contact with them on a daily basis, and even talks with a granddaughter in Nashville, Tenn., once a week.

“I’m so happy to have such a happy life,” she said.

She said she spent her youth volunteering, knitting and raising her children. Most of her favorite memories involve her family members.

She said her children once gave her a computer and she took lessons to learn how to use it before her husband became ill. Then, she gave it away, because it was too much work and she preferred to use the telephone.

“There’s lots of activity here. People are always coming by,” she said.

Poole said her family threw her a big party for her 90th birthday and she didn’t understand why.

“Why a big party now? I want to live to be a hundred!” she said with a laugh.

“We gave her a 90th birthday party in 2011 and 120 people showed up amidst a torrential lightning storm,” Poole Files said.

Poole credits her longevity to her positive outlook on life and because she eats a well-balanced diet and has a good doctor. She also doesn’t drink or smoke, and never has.

“I had a boring life without the liquor and cigarettes,” she said.

Poole said she did a lot of walking before her arthritis got bad, and she often could be found on her large front porch, visiting with neighbors.

“Everyone loves my front porch,” she said.

When she can’t sleep, she does crossword puzzles and keeps busy with other activities during the day.

There also are several television shows she watches, including “Who Wants to be a Millionaire,” “Katie,” “Wheel of Fortune” and “Jeopardy.”

“This probably doesn’t sound like an interesting life, but I don’t think I’ve ever been lonely a day in my life,” she said.

“I do have a good support network,” she said. “I have everything taken care of.”

As a girl, Poole said she saved her pennies and lived within her means so that now she has the money and can spend it to take care of herself.

“You can’t take it with you,” she said.

Poole said she was honored for voting in every election for 50 years and received an award from Jessie Bloom, who also brings her the ballots so she still can vote.

“What I treasure most is my memory,” she said. “Everyone’s just so good to me. I count my blessings every day.”