Oak Bluffs resident Rose Treat turns 102


On December 7, Rose Treat celebrated her 102nd birthday with friends at her home on Sengekontacket Pond. With a Polish grandmother who lived to be 104, longevity is apparently in her genes.

Rose is well known as a seaweed artist and cataloguer (her work is in the Smithsonian and Polly Hill Arboretum), mycologist, and fearsome Scrabble player. She grew up on the lower East Side of Manhattan — 4th Street between Avenues A and B, to be exact — when horses were still the common mode of transportation and indoor plumbing was for the wealthy.

Her childhood memories remain sharp. She told celebrants at her party about saving an oat seed from some feed a horse had dropped in the street. She and her brother planted that seed between two slate tiles in the back yard. So no one would step on it, she drew a circle around the seed, and she watered it every day. To their delight, a blade of oat grass sprouted up, a testament to the forces of life and loving care.

When she was 12, a deafening noise invaded the classroom at her school. Everyone ran out to the street to see what was making the racket. The first airplane any of the children had ever seen flew overhead.

She reminisced fondly about meeting her beloved late husband, the mystery writer Larry Treat, in 1943. She was staying with a friend in the country for Thanksgiving, and the two of them cooked up a feast for a crowd. Her friend then decided to ask the writer living down the road for the winter to join them. Rosie said she knew immediately he was the man she wanted to marry.

Once, early on in their marriage, they had a disagreement — as couples do — and voices were raised. When the smoke cleared and the argument was settled, Larry said to Rose, “It’s natural to disagree, but we must not ever yell at each other again.” Sticking to that policy, they remained married for 55 years.