Mahjong group celebrates member’s soon to be 100th birthday

Jun 18, 2022

Nearly two decades ago, Fairhaven resident Marian Purington made a decision that would eventually be a cornerstone of her life: joining a mahjong group at the senior center in Dartmouth.

At the suggestion of her friend, Barbara Hines, Purington tagged along to the center to watch her play and was hooked from there.

Purington said what she likes most about the game is that it’s fun, but easy for an older person to play.

“You have to have your smarts,” she said.

Next week, Purington will turn 100 years old. 

The soon-to-be birthday girl said she also couldn’t believe that she’s about to be a centenarian.

“I think it’s a lie,” she said.

To commemorate the occasion, her group surprised her with lunch at Fay’s in Bliss Corner on Friday — the day they usually gather to play mahjong.

“It was so much fun,” Purington said.

The idea for the celebration was put together by New Bedford resident Joan Blanchett, who taught Purington how to play the game.

Blanchett said she wanted to make sure someone who was so dedicated to the game got the recognition she deserved.

She comes faithfully every week,” she said. “Marian would never miss a Friday.”

The only times that Purington had to miss the game was when the senior center shut down due to the pandemic. But now that it’s fully reopened, she is back to the weekly games.

As a fun gift, she got one of her star students a cake with two mahjong tiles: two dots and the Joker.

“It’s the only time that is allowed to play that,” Blancett said with a laugh.