She uses a walker these days to ensure balance.
But as she celebrated her 105th birthday Thursday, Amy Barnhart remained one of the fleetest of foot residents of Springfield’s Oakwood Village.
And the brightest-eyed.
Said her 86-year-old son, Roger: “Everything she does, she has fun — all her life.”
For the past 23 years, much of that fun has been at the jigsaw puzzle table on the second floor landing at Oakwood.
Barnhart moved to the retirement home in 1990, a year after her husband of 63 years died. He’d been 18 and she 17 when they married.
“A year later, I got that,” Barnhart said, pointing at her son, the first of three sons and the lone survivor.
Barnhart estimates she and her friends have finished at least 1,000 puzzles at the table — most of those of the 1,000-piece variety.
That makes a million pieces, a number that may rival her social network.
“She has more friends at 105 than most people do when they’re 20,” said her son.
A bit of cancer was removed some years ago and a vertebrae repaired. Although she does take a pain patch every four days because of the benign benign brain tumor, it’s the only medicine she takes, and the tumor is slow-growing enough that it’s caused her no other trouble.
“She has never changed,” said neighbor Lou Ann Higgins. “She’s just a happy lady and easy to talk to.”
In Barnhart’s first days at Oakwood, “I went everywhere the bus was,” she said. “My kids always said that if the Oakwood bus was somewhere, I’d be on it.”
She now enjoys shorter trips to the landing each morning a little after 9.
“I do see so many people here,” she said. “Everybody keeps stopping and talking and asking how I feel.”
The answer: “Just like I did yesterday,” she always tells them.
Thursday’s party was the fourth of her 105th birthday celebrations.
There also was a cupcake extravaganza at her son’s home with relatives from Tennessee, a pizza party thrown by an Oakwood neighbor, and a treat by two grandchildren from Columbus.
“I expect there’s like 35 grandchildren all together,” Barnhart said. “I suppose we’ll have to count them all some day.”
Out of bed by 6:30 and back in bed by 7 p.m., Barnhart says before turning in, she always tells her friend, “I’ll see you tomorrow.”
“One of these days I’ll be lying,” she said.
But nobody’s betting the fleet-foot Barnhart — still vibrant at 105 — will go missing from the puzzle table any time soon.
“She has more friends at 105 than most people do when they’re 20.”
— Son Roger Barnhart, 86