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Old friends reunite

February 9, 2012

Myrtle Delong, 103, at left, and Leola “Dolly” Meyers, 93, reunited at Auglaize Acres when Delong became a resident of the short term care unit. The friends have been reminiscing on memories when they worked together at Northridge Elementary School as cafeteria cooks.

Two residents of Auglaize Acres — who have a passion for baking — were recently reunited after many years.

Two former school cooks, 103-year-old Myrtle Delong and 93-year-old Leola “Dolly” Meyers, worked together as cooks at Northridge Elementary School in the 1960s and 1970s and were recently reunited when Delong became a resident of the short-term stay unit at Auglaize Acres.

Delong, who will be leaving Auglaize Acres shortly to go back home, said she knew Meyers was a resident of the nursing home, but Meyers said it came as a surprise to her when she saw Delong.

“I was surprised when I found out Myrtle was here,” Meyers said, who has been a resident of Auglaize Acres for four years.

The friends and former colleagues reunited on Jan. 25.

“We liked working together,” Delong said. “We got along great.”

Ever since the friends were reunited, they have spent the time catching up on each others’ lives and reminiscing.

They talked about the fact both had a love for cooking and shared many baking secrets over the years.

“Myrtle took a cookie recipe that she baked for the kids (at the school), and broke it down so we could have a copy and make it for our families in smaller quantities,” Meyers said.

Meyers, who had been a cook at Centennial Elementary and Blume High School, started working at Northridge School while Delong was the head cook.

“There was six of us — three part-timers and three regulars,” Meyers said.

The ladies worked 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. shifts every day, and they said they enjoyed preparing the meals for the children.

Along with being the head cook, Delong and her husband, Harley, used to have a lunch wagon they brought to local auctions, where costumers could buy pies and sandwiches until 1983 when they sold their trailer.

The couple raised their three children on the family farm, in which Delong still resides today. The farm is 150 years old.    

Delong has nine grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren.

Delong loved children — so when she was not in school cooking lunch, she taught Sunday School at Salem United Methodist Church.

She retired as a cook at Northridge school when she was 70.

“The rule was you had to retire by 70 years old,” Delong said. “I was the head cook for over 30 years.”

Meyers, who was a 1936 graduate of Blume High School, married her husband, William, and they were married 24 years before he died. They have three children, seven grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.

Meyers’ hobbies include spending time with family and friends, and she loves to bake — especially cookies.

“I love to cook,” Meyers said.

Meyers often made cookies and brought them to people shut in at their homes throughout the years.

Over the years, the friends still kept in touch.

“We saw each other on occasion,” Delong said, after they stopped working together.

Meyers said that all of the cooks would get together once in a while and catch up, but it has been years since they last seen each other.

The ladies will soon be separating from each other again as Delong is getting ready to go back home to her family farm in Wapakoneta.

Delong is one of the oldest living residents in Auglaize County, and Auglaize Acres Admissions and Marketing Director Kathy Kohler said if they knew of any other Auglaize County resident either Delong’s age or older, to contact her.

“She’s very independent, and very mentally alert,” Kohler said, “and she still bakes cookies.”

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