Colfax resident marks 100th birthday

Vera Kindt lives every day to the fullest
By: Gloria Beverage
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Vera Kindt believes in living every day like it’s your last.

In fact, Kindt, who celebrates her 100th birthday Saturday, doesn’t believe in sitting around.

“I’ve got to be doing something all the time,” she said. “Right now, I’m going through my house getting rid of junk.”

Kindt’s long life span can be attributed to good health.

“I’ve never had a cold,” she said. “I’ve never felt sick.”

But she also jokes it’s because she likes a martini every night and enjoys younger men.

While on a leisurely drive from El Cerrito through the foothills more than 50 years ago, Kindt and her husband made an amazing discovery in Colfax.

“We saw a place for sale – a house with 80 acres -- for $2,500,” Kindt recalled. “We bought it right then and here.”

They remained in El Cerrito for two more years but visited the property every weekend. When it came time to retire, they settled in Colfax.

When her husband became ill two years later, they sold the property and moved into town. 

After his death, Kindt sold the house and relocated to Shady Glen Estates, the mobile home park that had just opened on the city’s outskirts.

For many years, Kindt hosted weekly card games at her home: poker, Pinochle, Gin Rummy.

One of the regular card players is Vivian Cherin, another Shady Glen Estates resident who is organizing this weekend’s birthday celebration.

“We’re having cake and champagne at the clubhouse,” Cherin said. “It’s just a small get-together for residents of the park and some of her relatives from the Bay Area.”

In addition to playing cards, Cherin said her friend loves to play slots in Reno.

“I like to play the $1 slot machines,” Kindt said. “If you win, you win big.”

Another of Kindt’s favorite hangouts was the Pastime, one of Colfax’s popular watering holes on Main Street
On one of her visits to the bar, Kindt struck up a conversation with another patron and discovered they had grown up in the same Minnesota town (although years apart).

“He knew some of my favorite places,” she recalled. “He liked to camp and went to Reno a lot.”

Best of all, Kindt discovered that Wayne Lee, a retired lawyer, lived next door.

“I needed a lawyer,” she laughed. “I never got rid of him.”

Lee shares Kindt’s love of camping, traveling and trips to Reno.

They look out for each other. Kindt cooks three meals a day for her neighbor. He takes care of the heavier gardening and cleaning chores around their properties.

Although she has a valid driver’s license and a vehicle, Lee, 82, has become the designated driver.

“I go with him (to his doctor appointments) because he kind of forgets,” she said. “He gets a little forgetful sometimes.”

Kindt also keeps busy baking breads and cookies for other park residents.

“I’ve been baking Biscotti for (park owner) John (Panelli) for 40 years, ever since his mother died,” she added.

It’s all about staying busy, Kindt stressed.