80th birthday reunion
September 8, 2006
When Aspen resident Jessie McKeen Morss celebrated her 80th birthday July 11, she was with most of her extended family on a trip to her birthplace – Antigonish, Nova Scotia. The Highland games were going on at the time, and so the family participated in a “kilted” golf tournament, and watched men participate in the sort of Scottish Olympics, tossing capers and playing tug of war, all in kilts.
Morss has been coming to Aspen to ski since the ’50s, and moved here permanently in 1963. When Main Street got too loud for them, they purchased a home in the countryside, which is now the gated community of Starwood. The couple raised four kids in Aspen.
At 80, Morss says she feels young, and her secret to aging gracefully is simply living well and staying active. She has climbed 15 of the mountains in Colorado that are over 15,000 feet high, and used to lead expeditions in the high mountains of Nepal. Morss has been to all seven continents (she was in Antarctica “to see the penguins”), and is fond of seeing the world on riverboat cruises.
Morss has lived through her share of life’s challenges – 20 years ago her husband died, and 10 years ago three bolts of lightning struck their home in Starwood, burning it and all of her possessions to the ground. As an artist, she still has a painting studio on the property that she stays in, and her children live in Boulder, Denver, New Jersey and the San Francisco Bay Area. Age hasn’t held her back, she says.”I’m proud of it,” she says of her 80th birthday. “I can say and do what I damn well please, and I often do.”