All about Betty

By Beverlye Fead   |   December 14, 2017
Betty Meyer recently celebrated her 98th birthday

Growing older is not all gloom and doom; it’s a lot about having a great attitude, no matter what’s thrown at you. 

Take Betty Meyer, for instance. She’s upbeat, and her voice has a twinkle in it. Talking to her is like taking a step back into a more gracious time. 

Betty plays bridge; she drives; she’s social; she laughs a lot, and to me that means if one is doing all those things, one is at least two steps ahead of most everybody else.

Knowing I was writing this column on aging, my hairdresser says, “You should meet Betty Meyer. She’s right over there.” And sitting there doing a crossword puzzle was this attractive women (with wonderful hair, I should add). At first, I worried she wouldn’t make the cut; she looked too young. But I introduced myself and told her I’d like to interview her. She said sure; we set a phone date, and a week later I called her. She knew exactly who I was. I asked when she would like to do the interview and she asked, “How about now?”

I was smitten.

She also suggested that when I was through writing this, I should “come over.”

“For a cup of tea”? I asked.

“No, come over for some wine,” she answered, confessing that she has one glass of Jordon Chardonnay at night.

Maybe that’s her secret.

The wine’s owner and namesake – Sally Jordan – curiously enough, lives in Montecito, though her vineyard and winery is in Healdsburg, California.

Meeting and Marrying the “Love of Her Life”

Betty was born in Oregon City, Oregon, and lived there with her three siblings until she was 13 years old. Her great grandparents came from Scotland in 1763, and her grandparents grew up in the same house she did. Betty’s children gave her the ancestry kit called “23 And Me” as a present recently, and she discovered she is 99- and 9/10 percent Scottish. She is very proud of that.

She met her husband-to-be in Omaha, Nebraska, whereupon he left for military service almost immediately. While he was overseas, she taught school for a year and then worked for the next three years for Union Pacific, balancing government freight accounts. She says she “loved every second of it.”

 When her fiancé came home from the war, he called her from the boat and said, “I’m home!” She didn’t waste a minute before she asked “How would you like to get married?” He said, “Sounds alright to me,” and marry they did. Theirs was a true-love affair from the time they met until the day her husband, Max Earl Meyer, passed away in 2011. She says, “I had a neat husband and we had a wonderful time.” The couple moved to Chicago, where her husband practiced law with a large law firm and they “just loved it.”

So far, I haven’t found anything that Betty didn’t love, so I asked how that was possible. “We just had a great life with good people,” she smiles. 

They had two children along the way – a boy and a girl – and that made their family complete. In 1985, they moved to Montecito because her husband was a golfer and here he could play in the glorious sunshine all year long. They lived a full and exciting life traveling many times to various cities in Europe, but they always treasured coming home to Santa Barbara.After Max, the love of her life, died, Betty had a talk with herself about being sad but remaining positive, so she continued playing bridge, having lunch with her girlfriends, and doing her crossword puzzles. She has grand cats and grand dogs, she laughingly tells me, and she adores them.

Betty keeps up with all the new rules about bridge to keep her mind sharp; she has a steady partner every Thursday and looks forward to their game. The only exercise she says she does is to walk from her house to her car. “Never liked it,” she admits about exercising. Well, that shows you what I know!

Although she walks with a cane, she says: “I don’t think about any pain; I just grin and bear it.”

And as we said our goodbyes, she left me with words of advice: “Always smile, because then your wrinkles go up instead of down.” That’s a bit of advice I am definitely going to follow.

This energetic lady was given a birthday party recently by one of her good friends and bridge partners. On that day, Betty turned 98. 

All I can say is, “Wow!”


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