June Roberts of New Vineyard will celebrate her 100th birthday Sunday, July 19. She is pictured in her farmhouse kitchen where she still prepares all meals for her and one of her daughters. Pam Harnden/Livermore Falls Advertiser

NEW VINEYARD — On Sunday, June Roberts will become a centenarian when she celebrates her 100th birthday.

Roberts didn’t want a fuss made of the milestone so there will be no big birthday party, although a few family members will be spending Saturday and Sunday with her.

“Why would anybody care? Everybody I know is dead,” she said during an interview Tuesday, July 14. “I’m a very shy person. I don’t like being put in the limelight.”

Roberts was born in North Jay, the daughter of Matthew and Clemina Wilson. She had one sister and two brothers.

“They’re all gone now,” she said.

Roberts graduated from Jay High School. On December 21, 1938, she married Lawrence Roberts of New Vineyard. They were married in Gardiner, she said.


“I can’t remember how we met, he was always hanging around,” she said. “Kids from Wilton, Farmington, all over. In that day and age we didn’t have much to do except go to the dances. That’s probably what we did.

“We lived in North Jay for two years, maybe. Then we moved to this farm in New Vineyard. It belonged to his father. I’ve been here ever since.”

Her husband died from cancer in 1977. She has lived by herself since then.

The couple had five children. The eldest, Beverly Oliver, and youngest, Lawrence Roberts II, succumbed to cancer. Daughter Jean Bailey lives in Gray. Patricia York and Betty Searles live nearby in New Vineyard.

York was visiting during the interview

Roberts has 16 grandchildren, 18 great grandchildren and seven great-great grandchildren.


“There’s a new one every year,” York said.

Roberts said at first she and her husband had a dairy with 12-20 cows.

“It was hard back then because you didn’t have money like you do today,” York said. “She fed the whole neighborhood. She had milk.”

“I cooked all the time, had to feed the whole neighborhood,” Roberts said. “They didn’t have old age (pensions) until Franklin Delano Roosevelt gave people old age (pensions). A neighbor got $18 a month.

“I bought flour, sugar, then someone would ask, ‘Can I have some flour? Can I have some sugar?’ If they needed it, we gave it to the neighbors. That was the way we were brought up.”

While the children were growing up, Roberts helped maintain a large vegetable garden and processed the harvest.


“We had blackberries, fruit trees, plum trees, had everything going,” she said. “I canned everything or put it down cellar. We didn’t freeze much then.

“I don’t do much gardening now. I have my flower gardens. I’m lazy.”

Roberts was a fancy stitcher at Franklin Shoe in Farmington for 28 years until she lost the job.

“I loved my job, loved stitching on top of shoes, the toes, stuff like that,” she said. “I never would have stayed if I hadn’t loved it.”

Roberts sewed her daughters’ clothes and created many quilts over the years.

For the last two years she has been cooking all the meals for herself and York.


“We’ve been eating together since my husband died,” York said. “We have the nicest food. She thought I’d be fussy.”

“We eat good, we don’t do anything extravagant,” Roberts said.

Roberts’s driver’s license has been renewed through 2022.

“I practiced two days before the last test so I could walk right up there! They never looked to see how old I was, had to take any tests or anything,” she exclaimed. “I don’t drive much now. I go with the girls. I haven’t been driving on my fields or to visit any of the boys in the neighborhood. Usually in the fall I visit them to see how they’re doing. I do drive to Porter Lake.”

Roberts has a camp on Porter Lake.

“Daddy gave it to her for a birthday present in the 1940s,” York said. “She usually spends the first two weeks of July there. That’s when she had vacation from the shoe shop.”


“I do enjoy my camp,” Roberts said.

She swam last summer and still cuts her own firewood.

“She chops wood in her spare time,” York said. “They put in all that wood for her, then she had to clean up the mess.”

York showed pictures of Roberts swimming in Porter Lake, with her “chop saw” and sweeping up wood chips.

Roberts writes a lot of poetry. A framed picture of her favorite old blue truck is accompanied by the lengthy poem she wrote about it.

“Her son gave her that truck, her daughter gave her the one she drives now,” York said.


I write poetry all the time, Roberts said.

“For everybody’s birthday, for when they die,” York added.

Her most recent poem is:

Happy Birthday, Happy Birthday, 100 today

What do I do, what do I say

How does a 100 year old act today


Does she laugh, shout, scream or pray

And thank the Lord for just another day.

Roberts was a member of Fairbanks Farm Extension and Past President of Auxiliary.

“This is the first time in my life I’ve missed a Memorial Day service,” she said. “They didn’t have anything, the meeting at the Legion.”

Roberts likes doing word puzzles and using her Kindle to play solitaire and cribbage. In the winter, she spends time working on jigsaw puzzles.

“I love my soap operas, but they’re not on now just horrible game shows,” she said. “I will be glad when they come back on. I hope they come on before winter.”


Sheldon is another television show Roberts likes, York added.

“We’ve had very funny weather,” Roberts said. “It’s weird, I think this stuff with people having to wear masks and wait to go into stores makes people feel funny.

“I stayed inside for two months. Figuring out the directions in Walmart has been difficult. It’s something to be careful about.”

Roberts enjoys watching the birds and finds them interesting. She wasn’t as thrilled with the chipmunk that made its way into her kitchen.

“We’d like her to be 110 or 120,” York said while discussing a video of Roberts prancing and singing Happy Birthday to Me at camp last year.

“She had a lovely time,” she said.


“I didn’t want no party this year,” Roberts said. “I damn well don’t want no gold cane! Two days after you’re given it, you’re dead!

“I don’t look good now, I’m old and crippled – no I ain’t,” Roberts said when asked to have her picture taken. “I have a good sense of humor. Maybe that’s what keeps me going. I’m still going strong, I’m still alive.”








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