Edith Noyes was alone in her Walpole home last week when her son, Dave Noyes, called with the message: “We have a birthday surprise for you.” The 97-year-old was instructed to bundle up and head outside in a few minutes.
The Noyes family had been disappointed they couldn’t celebrate Edith’s birthday and Easter weekend at her home like every other year. So Jennifer Carlson, one of Edith’s granddaughters, came up with the idea of a car parade to fete her from a safe distance. “When you get to a certain age, you want to celebrate every birthday as big as you can,” Abigail Noyes, another granddaughter, said. “We’re really proud of her and wanted to give her the celebration she deserved.”
Family from Walpole, Taunton, Hudson, Easton, and Plymouth met in the Walpole High School parking lot. They were joined by Walpole police officers Michelle Slavin and Nicole Genard who, hearing of the plans, volunteered to serve as a parade escort. While decorating the vehicles, it rained hard. Everyone was nervous about Edith being exposed to the elements.
Just before they left, the rain stopped. Denise Noyes, Dave’s wife, uncovered a chair set up for Edith on the porch. She came outside wearing her gloves, hat, and hearing aid, then covered herself with a blanket. Police sirens signaled the start of the parade. Edith’s loved ones passed her house via 10 cars, all the while honking their horns, shouting “Happy birthday,” and waving pink balloons and signs that read “We love you Grammy!”
Edith wasn’t sure what was happening until she spotted Dave’s bright blue Jeep. Then she started crying. Everyone parked their cars and stood several feet apart to sing “Happy Birthday” while holding their signs.
The next day, Edith called the Walpole police to thank them. The officers said they were thrilled to help.
Melissa Rosales is a journalist with a focus in audio, feature, and magazine writing. Follow her on Twitter @MelissaERosales