Centenarians Reveal What Matters Most

Suzy Hopkins
By Suzy Hopkins December 15, 2012 12:00

“Thank you for all your years,” event emcee Cathie Peacock told the crowd at a late October luncheon. “Your talent, your wisdom and your expertise have served as an example for others to follow.”

Those years tallied in the thousands, which accounted for the enormous amount of talent, wisdom and expertise packed into the Tuolumne County Senior Center.

Hosted by the county Commission on Aging, the Centenarian Society luncheon honored those 96 and older. The group feted several dozen experienced citizens as enrollees in the “University of Life,” and several centenarians deemed honorary grads.

The eldest attendees, Isabel Hargrove, Esther Handy and Tommy Manson, were born in 1912. Woodrow Wilson was elected president that year. The Titanic sank. U.S. population was 95.3 million; today it tops 312 million.

Back then, 90 percent of all births were at home. Average annual salary was $750. There were 8,000 cars in the country, and just 144 miles of paved road; today, 2.6 million-plus miles. World War I was two years away, women’s voting rights eight years ahead, and the moon landing 57 years in the future.

What wisdom did this remarkable century of change shape? FAN asked the three centenarians what matters most at this stage of life.

Isabel Hargrove

 

Isabel Hargove

“The Lord Jesus Christ… I attend church every Sunday with my sister Leona, who’s 94, and my sister Ruth, who’s 91. My father died at 102.  I enjoy reading my Bible, getting through the day and being able to do all the things I enjoy. I have lots of family, people who love me and call me Mom: Nine grandchildren, 18 great-grandchildren and 17 great-great-grandchildren, including a little one that I’m so glad they named after me.”

 

 

 

Esther Handy

 

Esther Handy

“My sons, Joe and Jack. I like to know where they’re at. They try to come visit once a week. They sit and talk to me, then they have to go because they’re up there in age, too. They’re good guys, I know I can count on them. When you get this old – as old as you can be – you just try to find joy in each day.”

 

 

 

 

Tommy Manson

 

Tommy Manson

“I was born into a political family in New Zealand. My father was a justice of the peace, and politicians were in and out of our house all the time. I loved to sit at the table and hear them discuss things … Even today, I have to know what’s going on in the world. I listen to the news daily. I want peace in the world: What goes on in India and everywhere else affects us, so we should all be paying attention.”

 

 

 

 © 2013 Friends and Neighbors Magazine

 

Suzy Hopkins
By Suzy Hopkins December 15, 2012 12:00
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