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Seniors celebrate Valentine's their way

February 15, 2002|By AARON CLAVERIE, Staff Writer

CALEXICO — Almost 70 senior citizens couldn't stop laughing as 81-year-old Elisa Valenzuela and Beatrice Hernandez, 73, sat back-to-back passing a balloon animal hat back and forth over their heads.

The women were playing a variation of musical chairs at the annual Valentine's Day party for Calexico senior citizens Thursday in the city's Community Center.

When the music stopped, whoever had the hat on her head would win a fabulous prize.

To get to their respective hot seat, Valenzuela and Hernandez had outlasted a crowd of contenders.

In this, the final match to declare a winner, both women showed veteran savvy.

Instead of passing the hat back to Valenzuela, Hernandez held onto it with one hand as she reached behind to place it on her rival's head.

Hernandez seized onto the technique as well and pretty soon the women were moving the hat back and forth from head to head without letting go.

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Everyone watching was laughing and the two women were smiling as well.

When the music stopped, Valenzuela was named the winner.

After the musical chairs contest, a good number of seniors got up to dance the chicken dance.

While they danced, the senior king, queen and princess watched the goings on from the royal table.

Each year, the Calexico Recreation Department crowns three seniors at the annual Valentine's Day party.

Seniors choose the court by a popular vote.

King Placido Vasquez, 73, Queen Lucila Llanos, 69, and Princess Cuquita Aguilar, 66, will represent Calexico at upcoming events such as the Christmas parade, Easter egg hunt and Sept. 16 celebration.

While Vasquez ate a piece of cake and Llanos danced with her husband, Aguilar talked about Valentine's Day.

Her husband died 10 years ago but Aguilar hasn't let his passing dim her enthusiasm for the day.

"It's easier for me because I am very active," she said.

She still tries to do something romantic on Feb. 14 whether it is a dinner on the town or a movie.

Aguilar favors classic tear-jerkers such as "Casablanca."

While she talked, Mary Alvarez of the Recreation Department read off a winning prize number. Aguilar checked her ticket to find out the numbers matched.

She won a little bear.

This gave her two bears for the day because she was given a little bear for being named princess as well.

The bears are destined for her youngest grandchildren. She has 14.

Like all good grandmothers she talked up her offspring, mentioning where they work and what they have been doing lately.

As for Aguilar, she spent a 30-year career working in the packing sheds and fields of north Imperial County when she wasn't raising seven children.

Asked how she managed to juggle a back-breaking career with child-rearing, Aguilar said, "Una vida limpia," referring to her clean life.

"No smoking, no drinking," she added.

>> Staff Writer Aaron Claverie can be reached at 337-3419 or claverie7@hotmail.com

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