BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - When I attended her birthday party a few weeks ago, one of the guests referred to her as Blanche Devereaux, Rue McClanahan's character on "The Golden Girls."
"Well, I don't know about that," the sparky, energetic Helen Nix replied when I asked about the comparison. "But I dated every single man in Baton Rouge, I think. But if they couldn't dance, I wasn't very interested."
Helen Nix just turned 99 years young and has absolutely no intention of slowing down anytime soon.
After her husband died when she was only 59, she moved to Baton Rouge and became the house mother for LSU's Phi Mu sorority. She sold or gave away all her belongings and moved in with the girls and was there for 10 years. Then, she accepted a position as the house mom for Sigma Phi Epsilon's fraternity at 70 years young, where she stayed for the next nine years!
"Everybody that I dated is dead. Even my women friends. Sad," Helen said matter-of-factly.
Helen lives along in a beautifully appointed condo in south Baton Rouge. She still drives. And she works out four times a week at the Women's Center for Wellness on Bluebonnet at Jefferson every week.
"Well, I was doing the Strength & Balance class and walking on the track. Now I do the water therapy," she added.
She has traveled extensively and was selected to be the foster family for an American field service student from South America for 11 months.
"We still stay in contact. And my daughter and I went down to see her recently. That was the most rewarding experience I ever had," she explained.
Helen has written and published a book chronicling her life. The memoir is called "Roses In December."
"I should have called it, 'Me, Myself and I' or 'Redheads Have More Fun,'" she joked.
And as for living alone at 99 years young, Helen said nursing homes are for old folks.
"If I went to a retirement home, I would be with all old people and I probably would be the oldest. But I don't care to listen about their aches and pains," she said and burst into laughter.
So, her friends at the Women's Center for Wellness threw Helen a 99th birthday party where Marti Didier and others awarded her with roses and the Hand It On award of $300 cash.
"And we have for your birthday a rose celebrating 99 years of vivaciousness and gregariousness," Marti began as one long stem rose was presented to Helen.
"We have a rose for your son, Donny Kaye, who shares your birthday," Marti continued as a second rose was given to Helen.
"And the third rose is from Hand It On at WAFB and along with that, we give you 300!"
Helen was surprised, but knew immediately what she was going to do with the money. She Handed It On to an organization called The Gifted Quilt, one close to her heart because she was once a member. The Gifted Quilt makes quilts for babies in the NICU at Woman's Hospital.
As for slowing down anytime soon, not a chance. Helen just ordered new furniture for her condo and signed another six month contract with the Woman's Center for Wellness.
To Helen Nix, age really is just a number. She doesn't worry about anything because she's too busy living!
What an example to all of us. Have a great attitude. Exercise. Don't smoke. Eat healthy. Drink in moderation. Have a relationship with God.
Thank you, Helen, for your charismatic example of how to age with grace! We should all be so fortunate.