TACOMA — Some people have a bucket list of things they want to do before they die.
At 105, Wilma Rosenow has a longer list of things she’s already done.
The Tacoma woman celebrated her birthday Wednesday with a motorcycle driving into the grand parlor of the Narrows Glenn retirement community off Sixth Avenue, a surprise during a party with friends and family.
She said she was shocked, but it wasn’t a first – for her 101st birthday, she rode one of the bikes, wearing a skull cap and leather jacket.
“Oh, it was smooth,” Rosenow remembered about her first ride.
With a life motto to keep busy and do good for others, Rosenow also has gone whitewater rafting, visited 16 countries, taken skiing lessons at 62 and gone cross-country skiing in her 80s.
“I’m not a bridge player,” Rosenow said. “I don’t have time for that.”
Jaquelyn Kleiner, the activities director at Narrows Glen, arranged both motorcycle surprises after she noticed Rosenow charming two bikers at a rest stop on the way back from a community trip several years ago.
“They were enamored with her,” Kleiner said.
That first motorcycle ride is still a story told by Narrows Glen residents.
“Apparently, that’s become legendary,” said Daryl Ruff, the Harley-Davidson salesman who drove the bike Wednesday and also took Rosenow on her first ride, down by Titlow Beach. “She said (on her 101st birthday) ‘Now I’m trusting you darling,’ and I said, ‘Honey, I’ve been doing this since you were 65.’”
When he drove up next to Rosenow on Wednesday, he gave her a 2013 Harley-Davidson Hunks calendar. She took a ride on an adult tricycle this year instead of a motorcycle, another first - she had never ridden a bicycle before.
Family members say Rosenow is a trend setter. She rode a Harley-Davidson before her granddaughter, who now owns one of the bikes.
“Now you ride a motorcycle the same as your grandmother,” Rosenow teased her Wednesday.
She has two children, two grandchildren and three great grandchildren.
She was born to German immigrants in Spokane in 1907, and her family moved to a homestead north of Shelby, Mont., in 1912. She was the first of 12 children to go to high school.
In 1926, she moved to Tacoma, where she met her husband, Carl, a Tacoma firefighter. They married in 1934 and raised two children, Marlene and Dick, on the Hilltop.
When her husband passed away from a work-related heart condition in 1952, Rosenow supported her family by finishing business classes and working at the YWCA as a receptionist for 13 years.
She said it’s important to stay active and walks every day.
“As long as I have my two legs and my health, I’m going to keep going,” she said.
That includes tending her garden – the gladiolas are almost in bloom.
No one is sure what her next birthday will bring, though Ruff says he’ll be there.
“You keep having them, I’ll keep coming,” he told her at the party.
As far as Rosenow is concerned, anything exciting will do.
Her friends also are looking forward to next year’s festivities.
“It’s always a surprise for us too,” said Doris Bostrom, 90, who has known Rosenow since moving to Narrows Glen about eight years ago.
“I think one of these times she’ll probably try a helicopter – that’s about the only thing left.”