It may not be everyone’s idea of a special occasion joint, but Thela McMillen, her two daughters, two of her grandchildren and a number of close friends packed into the Van Nuys Denny’s Thursday night to celebrate McMillen’s 100th birthday. (All guests receive a free Grand Slam breakfast on their birthday.)
McMillen, a former head cook at Camp JCA and onetime factory worker at the Goodyear factory in Arizona, was born in Bunker, Missouri in 1913 and settled in Southern California with her late husband, Charles, in 1959. She has lived in Valley Glen with her daughter, Charlene, for the last seven years.
“I like Denny’s!” said McMillen over the phone before her party got underway. “I like bacon strips—crisp—and scrambled eggs and pancakes.” In addition to knowing what she likes for dinner, McMillen knows how she feels, and it isn’t old. “I sure don’t feel 100,” she said. “I got my hair fixed yesterday or the day before, and there was a little boy there who hugged me when he came in, and he said, ‘I just don’t believe your age. You have too much hair!’ I thought that was awfully cute. It feels wonderful.”