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Elderly Ring In New Year Early

December 31, 1985

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Some of this city’s oldest residents - ranging in age from 94 to 103 - rang in the new year early with champagne, a turkey dinner, noise-makers and frail renditions of ″Auld Lang Syne.″

″Go to bed early and get up early,″ was the advice 98-year-old Irene Keyworth gave on how to live to a ripe old age. The cheery, British-born Mrs. Keyworth said she enjoys parties, music and her friends.

The New Year’s bash lasted two hours at a local restaurant-delicatessen, which was decorated with balloons and streamers Monday afternoon.

The guests, many wearing party hats, sat in their wheelchairs at long tables, listening to a barber shop quartet and a local songstress, Mary Rogers.

Mark Lipowsky, the restaurant’s owner, said the New Year’s tradition of inviting some of the area’s oldest residents to a party began six years ago when he and his family wanted to do something nice for the elderly.

This year, 38 people attended, all but four of them women.

For 100-year-old Mary Bryan, the highlight of 1985 was her meeting with Princess Diana last October.

Miss Bryan, who lived virtually her entire life in the fashionable Georgetown section of Washington, said she talked to the princess when she visited the hospice on her well-publicized trip to the nation’s capital.

Miss Bryan said there are three reasons she thinks she made the 100 mark: She never worries, she lives one day at a time and she had a devoted father with whom she lived most of her life.

Selma Gordon, a retired nurse on the verge of turning 95, sipped a Manhatten cocktail as she listened to the entertainment and fretted about spilling gravy on her blouse.

A retired nurse from Brooklyn, Mrs. Gordon was reluctant to discuss her age.

″She’s ducked telling her age all her life,″ said her daughter, Dorothy Bocinski. ″She worked until she was past 70.″ What Mrs. Gordon, a staunch Democrat, does enjoy discussing is politics.

″Who are you going to vote for?″ she asked a visitor.

Although 1986 was still more than 30 hours away, the old people loved the excuse for a party.

″They’d have a party every day if they could,″ said Deena Glass, a staffer at the Washington Home.