Spanning centuries
October 27, 2008 7:50 PM   Subscribe

Daughter of a slave casts vote for Obama. As the centenarian looks forward to turning 110 later this year, let's all take a moment to celebrate centenarians... and, of course, try to work out just how on earth they made it this far. High levels of vitamins A and E seem to play a role, or of course you could just be lucky enough to be from Okinawa or Sardinia. Whatever the reason, they sure know how to live. And as we've seen previously, they're fascinating people.
posted by showbiz_liz (35 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

 
You go, girl! Wow! What an election.
posted by inconsequentialist at 7:57 PM on October 27, 2008


What, an election?
posted by TwelveTwo at 8:02 PM on October 27, 2008


why did she vote for obama?
posted by billybobtoo at 8:03 PM on October 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


is Willard Scott in this post?
posted by Miko at 8:06 PM on October 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


We should all be so lucky to live so long and still have our marbles. You girl, girl!
posted by brain cloud at 8:07 PM on October 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


The fourth oldest living man, Walter Breuning, lives in my town.

No point. Just amazement at his longevity.
posted by Donnie VandenBos at 8:10 PM on October 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


"It's awesome to me that we have such a pillar of our family still with us," Baker said. "It's awesome to see what she's done, and all her hard work, and to see that she may be able to see the results of all that hard work"

That is definitely the old, literal use of the word "awesome." The idea that people with slave parents are still around completely throws me off.

Personally, I only want to live that long so I can completely lie about the secret of my longevity. "Eat three square meals a day, don't drink coffee, and get a cactus-juice enema on every full moon."
posted by Uppity Pigeon #2 at 8:10 PM on October 27, 2008 [5 favorites]


The fourth oldest living man, Walter Breuning, lives in my town.

No point. Just amazement at his longevity.


The idea that I could potentially live another eighty years is one that I find at once thrilling and dreadful.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 8:17 PM on October 27, 2008


Following the link for Walter Breuning brought me to this page on wikipedia. The individual biographies of the longest living people are pretty fascinating. Jeanne Calment is the oldest living person ever verified, having died in 1997 at the age of 122:
Calment's remarkable health presaged her later record. At age 85, she took up fencing, and at 100, she was still riding a bicycle. Jeanne lived on her own until shortly before her 110th birthday, when it was decided that she needed to be moved to a nursing home. However, Jeanne was still in good shape, and was able to walk until a fall at age 114 years and 11 months, which required surgery. She reportedly attributed her longevity and relatively youthful appearance for her age to olive oil, which she said she poured on all her food and rubbed onto her skin, as well as a diet of port wine, and nearly 2 pounds of chocolate eaten every week. Jeanne Calment smoked until she was 117, and only quit when she could no longer see well enough to light the cigarettes.
posted by Frankieist at 8:22 PM on October 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


I only want to live that long so I can completely lie about the secret of my longevity.

...or justify my bad habits.
posted by twoleftfeet at 8:23 PM on October 27, 2008


The idea that people with slave parents are still around completely throws me off.

Nip across to the right part of Africa, you'll find plenty.
posted by rodgerd at 8:54 PM on October 27, 2008


olive oil, which she said she poured on all her food and rubbed onto her skin, as well as a diet of port wine, and nearly 2 pounds of chocolate eaten every week.

Sweet, I'm set for longevity!
posted by rodgerd at 8:57 PM on October 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


uppity pigeon #2 : That is definitely the old, literal use of the word "awesome." The idea that people with slave parents are still around completely throws me off.

my father's father was a born-free slave : Puerto Rico was the last country to abolish slavery in the Americas. my grandfather died young but his sister and brother were around throughout my childhood and teenage years.

my greataunt always reminded us where we came from and she always made it a point to remind my brother and us that we, technically, were 3rd generation free-slave.

am only 42 years old, so ponder that one.
posted by liza at 8:58 PM on October 27, 2008


oh, i forgot : if you're talking about centenarians, THE NUN STUDY is required reading.
posted by liza at 9:02 PM on October 27, 2008


When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
With a red hat which doesn't go, and doesn't suit me.
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
And satin sandals, and say we've no money for butter.
I shall sit down on the pavement when I'm tired
And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells
And run my stick along the public railings
And make up for the sobriety of my youth.
I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
And pick flowers in other people's gardens
And learn to spit.

You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat
And eat three pounds of sausages at a go
Or only bread and pickle for a week
And hoard pens and pencils and beermats and things in boxes.

But now we must have clothes that keep us dry
And pay our rent and not swear in the street
And set a good example for the children.
We must have friends to dinner and read the papers.

But maybe I ought to practice a little now?
So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised
When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple.
posted by cashman at 9:24 PM on October 27, 2008 [5 favorites]


By the way, Walter Breuning (mentioned upstream) took up cigar smoking again recently. Good on him - he deserves to enjoy a good stogie.
posted by davidmsc at 9:32 PM on October 27, 2008


Hey, it's Bastrop! Hey, it's Cedar Creek! Hey, it's Highway 21! Hey, the Jones family! My dad knew CL Jones from before I was born! Amanda Jones is 109 years old! Wow.

I'd love to hear that Bastrop county votes overwhelmingly Democrat this year, but Lord knows who the Siedels, Goertzes, Bartsches, etc. want for president. I don't know much about the politics in my home county, but if I had to guess I'd most people would stick to voting Republican. Seems that there's been a lot of Californians moving to recently created suburbs near Bastrop, though. I'm sure I'll hear it from my parents. They're definitely voting for Obama.

I want to be 109 years old and still voting. Okay, maybe 70 is good enough.
posted by Mister Cheese at 10:09 PM on October 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


This is awesome. Thanks for posting, showbiz_liz.
posted by homunculus at 10:25 PM on October 27, 2008


I really hope that Amanda Jones gets flown first class to DC and put up in a fancy hotel so that she can be there to watch the inauguration of President Obama.
posted by tractorfeed at 10:30 PM on October 27, 2008 [6 favorites]


Frank Calloway is an interesting centenarian.
Frank Calloway was born July 2, 1896, and taught himself to draw. Diagnosed as schizophrenic in 1952 and institutionalized in various institutions in Alabama since then, he is currently living in the Alice M. Kidd Nursing Facility in Tuscaloosa. At 112 years old, his is a unique view of Southern America. Most of Mr. Calloway's art is of agrarian themes. His medium is ballpoint pen, marker and crayon on butcher paper often 30 feet long. Mr. Calloway puts in a full day of work considering his art as his job. He appears almost savant with his penchant for writing lines of figures and reciting multiplication tables.
posted by tellurian at 10:38 PM on October 27, 2008


I've been using the Google to generate a list of reasons centenarians give to explain their longevity (you know they must get asked this question all the time).

Here are some of the more interesting ones I've found so far:
  • Not eating meat until the age of 110
  • Salt
  • Milk
  • Peppermints
  • Daily massages
  • Pickled herring
  • Jelly
  • Art
  • Dipping snuff
  • Funche (a boiled blend of corn, cod and milk)
  • Mixing sugar with all food
  • Laying off alcohol, but indulging in coffee, cigars and sex
  • Polygamy
  • Coors Light
  • Satan
  • Eating meat every day
    and my favorite: “I just made it, I don’t know why,” she said. “It wasn’t my idea.”

  • posted by twoleftfeet at 10:59 PM on October 27, 2008


    134-Year-Old Man Attributes Longevity To Typographical Error

    91-Year-Old Woman An Expert At Outliving

    The Onion's Publisher Emeritus weighs in
    posted by Rhaomi at 11:07 PM on October 27, 2008


    why did she vote for obama? -- posted by billybobtoo

    Eponysterical troll bait?

    The second sentence of the article begins with "And after voting consistently as a Democrat for 70 years..."

    So, well... the fish you're looking for aren't in this creek.
    posted by rokusan at 12:57 AM on October 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


    rokusan, I believe your sarcasm meter is due at the shop for a tune up.

    'S'ok, happens to the best of us.
    posted by IAmBroom at 5:29 AM on October 28, 2008


    I don't know what makes people think that actual freed slaves aren't going to be voting in this election.
    posted by Pollomacho at 5:44 AM on October 28, 2008


    "I've only ever had one wrinkle, and I'm sitting on it," Jeanne Calment said when she turned 110.
    posted by ibmcginty at 6:57 AM on October 28, 2008 [2 favorites]


    rokusan, I believe your sarcasm meter is due at the shop for a tune up.

    Hm. And sarcasm is my first language, too.

    I even checked the comment history to see if I was interpreting correctly. Maybe it's a deep cover, Andy Kaufman sort of comment. If so, I should favorite.
    posted by rokusan at 7:15 AM on October 28, 2008


    I believe that there are more slaves alive today than were ever traded in the history of the Atlantic Slave Trade. Slavery is far from gone. Since some of these living slaves have probably had children, and since some of those children are American citizens, it stands to reason that there are a lot of children of slaves voting in the U.S. this year.

    It also seems to me that the fact they are free to vote is more important than whom they vote for. I say, without irony, God Bless America.
    posted by MarshallPoe at 7:23 AM on October 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


    it's crazy, only yesterday I read in the paper that the last surviving Italian veteran of WWI has passed away. corny as it sounds, I'm constantly amazed by how History, with a capital H, intersects with our daily lives -- our daily lives where we take for granted stuff like Blackberrys and HDTV, and there are people alive now who were born when Teddy Roosevelt was President.

    my granduncle once met Gandhi. in person. he talked to Gandhi. I mean, wrap your mind around that. I really like old people because they all have so many fascinating stories, if you take the time to listen. thanks for this post.
    posted by matteo at 7:28 AM on October 28, 2008 [2 favorites]


    My grandmother lived to be 109, and it was amazing to talk to her. She grew up in a small village in Lebanon, and saw Halley's comet in 1910. Everyone thought the world was coming to an end, and she remembered people walking around with wet rags on their heads. She was scheduled to be on the Titanic, but missed the ship when the train she was on in France had an accident -- I think I remember her telling me the train's boiler blew up. Every time the old Titanic movie was on TV she'd watch. (This story never made sense to me until I learned after she died that the Titanic crossed the English channel and took on passengers at Cherbourg before starting across the Atlantic.)
    She got up every morning at 5am and took a long walk, and when I was in my early teens she'd wake me and take me with her. She'd point out stars and constellations, and tell me about when to plant/harvest/whatever based on where the constellations were -- the stuff of her education that she wanted to pass on. I never paid much attention, because how useful is knowing all of these Arabic names? It was only when I was older that I realized that the names are about the same in English. A few years before she died she told me about being stopped on her morning walk by a worried cop on the streets of LA -- by that time her eyesight was pretty bad and she found it easier to walk on the street than to deal with the uneven sidewalk. She said the cop was so good looking she couldn't do more than steal glances at his face.
    She cooked for her kids and her grandkids into her 100s. I'd come home and she'd cook me a pot of grape leaves, and I learned from her to make baba ghannouj by charring the eggplant right on the stovetop. In LA she collected rainwater from the roof of her house to water her plants. She washed her hair in beer.
    My grandmother's English was never very good, and to this day I call corn 'currun' and my dog is a duck.
    posted by Killick at 7:31 AM on October 28, 2008 [12 favorites]


    Wow, nice thread and nice stories in comments!
    posted by uni verse at 9:10 AM on October 28, 2008


    why did she vote for obama?

    If McCain can't get the 'get off my lawn' vote, he's really sunk.
    posted by lukemeister at 9:33 AM on October 28, 2008


    I believe that there are more slaves alive today than were ever traded in the history of the Atlantic Slave Trade. Slavery is far from gone. Since some of these living slaves have probably had children, and since some of those children are American citizens, it stands to reason that there are a lot of children of slaves voting in the U.S. this year.

    And some of those slaves are the children of Americans.
    posted by Pollomacho at 10:01 AM on October 28, 2008


    Everyone in the world: Get off her lawn.
    posted by not_on_display at 11:34 AM on October 28, 2008


    Cf, sort of.
    posted by IndigoJones at 1:23 PM on October 28, 2008


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