When Mary Kay representative and Oakley resident Kimberly Victor heard about Thompson and her impressive life, she knew she wanted to do something to honor Thompson’s birthday in style.
“I first met Opal when she was 109,” said Victor. “She’s such a amazing person, and I’d always wanted to do something special for her, but I wasn’t sure how to go about it. Then she showed me her collection of earrings this past Christmas, and I knew what I had to do.”
During Victor’s last visit, Thompson dumped her collection of clip-on earrings on to her bed and showed Victor how many of them were damaged or missing their mate. Victor told her she’d be back with a surprise. On Monday, after contacting her Mary Kay friends across the nation, Victor arrived at Thompson’s home at the Diamond Ridge Health Care Center in Pittsburg with a basket of 111 pairs of earrings.
“Opal, I brought you something really special for your birthday,” Victor announced when she walked into the recreation room.
“A car?” guessed Thompson, who celebrated her birthday on Jan. 13.
“No, silly,” Victor replied.
“Oh, is it a plane?” Thompson guessed again, showing off her wit and spunky attitude.
As Victor placed the basket filled with earrings in front of her, Thompson’s face lit up and she immediately began to pick through her new collection.
“I’ve never seen this many earrings all together in my life,” Thompson said as she looked at the sparkly accessories. “And I’ve been around for quite a while.”
Thompson never imagined she’d make it to the age of 100, let alone 111, but she credits her longevity to a healthy diet and lifestyle. According to Thompson’s great niece Glenda Coccimiglio, Thompson is indeed in good health. Aside from some hearing loss and occasional trouble remembering faces, she’s spry and maintains a good temperament. She even has all of her own teeth.
Thompson, who never had her ears pierced, has loved clip-ons all her life. “I just never grew out of them,” Thompson said. Coccimiglio said she’s always known her great aunt to be stylish, never leaving the house without a set or earrings that matched her wardrobe.
While the gift of 111 pairs of earrings was more than Thompson expected, nothing has topped her 105th birthday. That year she told her family she wanted to meet Dr. Phil McGraw, whose show she watched every weekday, so the family took a trip to the show, and since that first meeting, McGraw has invited Thompson back each year for her birthday.
The family is currently planning this year’s trip, but to let Thompson know he’s thinking about her, McGraw sent her two dozen long-stemmed red roses. “He’s such a nice man, full of fun and joy,” Thompson said. “I didn’t expect him to send me flowers.”
Of course he sent her flowers. A gal like Thompson is impossible to forget.