Barnstable Senior Center member Dorothy Robinson, 105, has seen her share of Valentine’s Day celebrations.
Many of which, she explained, offered her romance, love, and affection.
But for the Hyannis resident, who was declared the “oldest resident in Barnstable” this past year, it’s the Barnstable Senior Center’s “Valentine Afternoon Tea,” which was held Wednesday, that brings about “warmth, comfort, and friendship” every year.
“Look at this room -- it’s filled with joy and happiness,” Robinson said. “It’s the kind of party that brings all of us good friends together.”
The festivities, which kicked off with Two Cool -- a musical duo which played standards from the present and the past -- also included refreshments like sugar-encrusted cookies and festively frosted cupcakes.
In addition, senior center staff also gifted attendees with roses -- red and pink blooms that burst from baskets set about the room.
For Madeline Noonan, director of Senior Services for the Town of Barnstable, the smiling faces and jubilant chitter-chatter that echoed throughout the senior center halls was an indication that the afternoon was “a smashing success.”
In fact, Noonan explained, she ran into a husband and wife who were previously nervous about joining senior center activities. But the “Valentine Afternoon Tea,” she said, caught their attention.
“I was overjoyed when I saw them having a good time and meeting new people,” Noonan said. “That’s exactly why we hold these kinds of celebrations -- for people to make new connections and foster longtime friendships.”
Another reason many people travel from all over the Cape to attend the “Valentine Afternoon Tea” is to share memories.
Bev and Jim Scarlett, for instance, came to the event equipped with stories that span the 60 years they’ve spent together.
“We were high school sweethearts and met because we were both starring in the school play, ‘Every Family Has One,’” Bev Scarlett said. “And as soon as I saw him, I hoped I was that one.”
The shared memories continued throughout the afternoon. For Mark and Mary Byrne, who married in 1988, the afternoon gave them the chance to reminisce on the many Valentine’s Day trips they took to the Peg Leg Inn in Rockport, Massachusetts.
And while the couple, who moved to the Cape four years ago, spent every summer in the area for the last two decades, the “Valentine Afternoon Tea,” gave them another chance to celebrate their love, and their community, as full-time residents.
“Besides spending time with our family,” Mary Byrne said, “We look forward to being among good people and good times like this.”