Alyeene Gorman was born on Feb. 27, 1920 in Oakland, California, and celebrated her 100th birthday on February 27, 2020 in Baxley just at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Soon after her birthday party at the Pavilion, the virus caught up with her, but she survived it and is doing well except for the isolation. She’s long since grown weary of that. It’s depressing, to say the least. She likes to keep moving, even attributes her longevity to that.
It’s a long way from California to Baxley, Georgia, but her grandson Darren George met a Baxley boy in the navy, and they became good friends. Gwen, Alyeene’s only child, knew right away that she wanted to retire in Georgia. First, she moved her mom to Baxley about eight years ago, and she and her husband followed about three years after that. Darren and his family were already here and had been for about twenty years.
When Alyeene first arrived, she would say she wasn’t southern, but having been raised by Texan parents and married to a man from Tennessee, she was certainly close. Her husband, Clayton Gorman, was a farmer, cowboy, and rancher. And her daughter Gwen says her mom can make a mean southern biscuit. She was also a master at crocheting, making afghans, scarves, and a bedspread for Gwen’s king-sized bed. She still does some crocheting, but her hands are arthritic now, which slows her down. She and some friends did a lot of traveling after Clayton, her husband, died. They went to Australia, Europe, and New Zealand.
When asked what she considers the reason for her longevity, she says she eats lots of fresh vegetables and advises everyone who can to grow a garden. She also advises everyone to stay on the move.
Unfortunately, the Pavilion is closed again right now because of COVID, but maybe it won’t be for long.