When Ebbie Hynson was 89 then Colonial Beach Mayor, Fred Rummage, promised her fireworks for her 100th birthday. Mayors following him, Mike Ham and Eddie Blunt, both promised her that they would also honor that agreement, and on Sunday, JarrettThor Gallery and the Artists’ Alliance hosted Hynson’s 100th birthday party.
On Wednesday, January 29, Ebbie officially crosses over the centenarian mark, and she got her fireworks. Owners of the gallery, Carl and Joyce Thor, brought in a pyrotechnician to set off a series of rockets over the water in front of the gallery space for Ebbie.
Hynson may be 100-years-old, but she is as fiesty as ever.
While Carl Thor was singing her praises, she was telling everyone around her in the gallery about what she had been up to lately. As Mayor Eddie Blunt read the plaque Colonial Beach gave her, she told the crowd, “These candles are going to melt, I need to blow them out,” and so she did.
Eight years ago Ebbie suffered a stroke that slowed her down a bit and made her have to leave her home that overlooked Monroe Bay and move into the Westmoreland Rehabilitation Center.
Hynson, and her husband, had moved to Colonial Beach in 1983. She lost her husband in 1997 after 57 years of marriage. The two had no children. Some years ago after her stroke friends with the Colonial Beach Artists Guild helped secure her a place in the Rehabilitiation Center she calls home.
Even at 100, Hynson still paints. In fact the Thor side of the gallery is hosting her works this month. Items that are pre and post stroke decorate the walls. While her pre-stroke work is beautiful, the other worldly quality of her post-stroke work is well worth the visit to the gallery.
A life long Democrat, one of Hynson’s favorite pieces is a portrait of Senator Mark Warner in his younger days. It is on display at the gallery this week. Hynson also painted portraits of President Bill Clinton and Vice-President Al Gore during their time in office and donated them to the Virginia Democratic Party.
While Ebbie’s hair is now coiffed in curls that just wrap around her face and her clothes aren’t quite as colorful as in her younger days, you can still see the sparkle in her eyes as she talks of her work, her life, and how that even at 100-years-old she is still learning about art.
In her younger years Hynson wore a hat everywhere she went. All of them had flowers on them and sat atop a wild melange of hair as she worked and painted in and around Colonial Beach.
Ebbie’s memory is still extremely sharp as she remembered people whom she only sees once or twice a year now conversing with them about their hair, outfit, or what they had been up to.
During her celebration as Mayor Blunt cut the cake, Ebbie was sure to remind him that, “I get the first piece of cake. The vanilla one.” Blunt cut her a corner piece of her beloved cake while she grinned at him.
As the sun went down over the town, the fireworks display came to life. Mortars rose through the air while Ebbie, and her friends, watched in awe as the lights decorated the sky.
The gallery was packed with friends of Ebbie’s celebrating her life, her art, and her wit. Her work will remain in the gallery over the next month and many pieces are for sale. The sale of her artwork helps keep Ebbie in art supplies, chocolate, and to pay for her to get her hair done.
Ebbie Hynson celebrated her 100th birthday at the JarrettThor Gallery on Sunday.