Marian Alexander anxious to get back on road after her Cobalt was recalled
While chatting with Marian Alexander as she’s getting her hair styled at Gloria’s Beauty Salon – a weekly ritual for the past 30 years – it was hard not to notice the twinkle in her eyes when she talked about the days of yore.
“I used to really like Girl Scouts until I got older, then I got interested in boys, especially if they were athletes,” said a bubbly 94-year-old Alexander, who’s temporarily relying on her son, Stephen, for transportation because her Chevrolet Cobalt has been recalled for having a faulty ignition.
“I’ll be glad to get it back,” she said, but you could sense that this sweet little lady doesn’t mind being chauffeured around.
Born April 13, 1920, in Hartford, Conn., she was a Scout for about eight years and particularly liked the camping excursions. “We had a tremendous captain, and we were known as Singing Troop 40,” said Alexander, who cheerfully sang the group’s theme song while sporting a contagious smile. She still has her uniform from 1934, which sports numerous merit badges and a meticulously mended tear. “I can’t remember what all the badges are for; that was about 80 years ago.” The outfit adorns a cabinet at the parlor and will likely end up in a museum.
Her mom, Dorothy Lindner, wrote a song for Alexander’s grade school graduation class, and the ditty is still being sung at school functions today, said salon owner Gloria Schwegman, whose shop is located at 608 E. Troy Ave.
“Gloria’s the best hair dresser around,” boasted Alexander, to which another customer seconded.
Alexander, whose father was a florist and operated eight greenhouses, married Howard Stanley Alexander on March 21, 1942. “I never worked in the greenhouses; I just played in them,” she said. “I felt sorry for my dad (Albert Frederick Linder) on my wedding day because he had to do all the floral work at Trinity College Chapel before rushing home to get changed so he could walk me down the aisle.”
“I met my husband through a blind date set up by my brother. Howard said to my brother, ‘I didn’t know you had a sister. What’s wrong with her?’ ”
Mr. Alexander served in the special services of the Army during World War II and at one point was away from his wife for 2 1/2 years. He later worked in real estate. Mrs. Alexander was employed by an insurance company and Alcoa.
The couple moved to West Palm Beach in 1979, but it got too hot there, so they moved to an apartment complex on the Southside of Indianapolis in 1985. Mr. Alexander suffered from Alzheimer’s disease and was in a nursing home for several years before dying in 1992.
Mrs. Alexander still lives in the same second-floor unit. “I don’t mind the steps; I handle them pretty well. I feel safer off the ground,” she said, noting that toting groceries up the stairs isn’t any trouble because her son does that after taking her to the store every Saturday, which is also set aside for him treating her to lunch at Culver’s. “I like their chicken,” said Alexander, who returns the favor by having her son, a bachelor, over for a good home-cooked dinner every Wednesday.
Alexander reads a lot and works crossword puzzles because she “can’t go plowing around the malls anymore. I belong to three book clubs. The television is on all the time, but it’s more for company than watching. I like “NCIS” and, of course, the news, and Hallmark has some good movies. And I love to visit with friends.”
Except for having both hips replaced in the early 1990s – the result of miscalculating the amount of a spring in a diving board when attempting to show off for her husband – she enjoys great health. “Somebody asked me if I was shooting for 100. I said, ‘Sure, why not?’ ” she said with a smile.
Asked about the changing country, Alexander said Ronald Reagan was a good president. “The country was in good shape, and people had jobs.”
She isn’t much for technology and doesn’t own a cell phone, a computer, an answering machine or a microwave oven. “I get along fine without any of that.
A member of St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church, Alexander just recently retired from the choir.
If all works out well with her car, she won’t have to bum a ride to Sunday’s service.