If the polka dot party hat and bright pink “Birthday Girl” ribbon didn’t give it away, then it had to be her smile.


Milda Sebris’ 100-watt smile perfectly matched her birthday on Wednesday. A resident at Ellen Memorial Health Care Center, Sebris celebrated a century surrounded by a roomful of friends.


If the polka dot party hat and bright pink “Birthday Girl” ribbon didn’t give it away, then it had to be her smile.
Milda Sebris’ 100-watt smile perfectly matched her birthday on Wednesday. A resident at Ellen Memorial Health Care Center, Sebris celebrated a century surrounded by a roomful of friends.
“She has been a great inspiration to me and my family and everyone she meets,” said Teresa Kehagias, former caretaker and neighbor.
A native of Latvia, located in north-eastern Europe along the Baltic Sea, Sebris moved to the United States in the 1940s, Kehagias said.
“Her husband was a soldier and the Russians had invaded. And she escaped to Germany during WWII. So, she saw a lot of very hard times,” Kehagias said of her friend.
Regardless of what she’s been through, Kehagias said Sebris is “always very positive” and wonderful elder sharing life’s wisdom.
There have been so many pearls of wisdom throughout the years:
• “She loves nature. She has always told me don’t cut your trees, because the trees are the lungs of the earth.
• “If you go to buy bread and you can’t understand the ingredients, don’t buy it. You should always understand the ingredients that you eat.”
• “Even when she was picking (wild) mushrooms in Damascus, she called them ‘meet on one leg.’”
• “She told me when I was nursing my baby, ‘Make sure you never get upset, because those emotions will get into the milk.’ And it’s true, when you get upset, the hormones, the adrenaline, get into your bloodstream.”
Of her great friend, Kehagias said, “I feel so blessed. I feel that God brought us together. She has been my great teacher and I love her.”
 
To mark Sebris’ 100th birthday, Kehagias invited members of Joe Stanky and the Cadets to share the gift of music with Sebris and her fellow residents.
“Last year, I brought a cello player to her room, who played classical music ...This time, I brought these guys to share with the room because music just lights one’s heart.
“You saw how it made some of them suddenly get so young,” she said of the residents, who were dancing and clapping and smiling. “Music helps them transcend their conditions.”
For seniors who don’t have a lot of family or friends visiting them, Kehagias said, “I would love to see adopt a senior in places such as this. It really helps their healing and their health to have interaction with others. There are some people that never get visitors.
“To have a personal relationship with someone who cares makes them feel like they’re not forgotten. They really have so much knowledge to share,” she added.
Angela Petrosky, Ellen Memorial Activities Director,  described Sebris as “a beautiful, wonderful person. She has a beautiful spirit and just a wonderful way about her.”
Kim Kane, a member of the activities staff, said Sebris makes her day.
There have been of plenty of times she’s sat in Sebris’ room, held her hand and just talked. “She is my friend,” Kane said.