A story this past week centered on five living people who have seen parts of three centuries. They are listed as the oldest living people in the world. Not surprisingly, they are all women.The oldest person in the world is Misao Okawa. She is from Japan and was born on March 5, 1898. Misao lives in a retirement community in Osaka and has been widowed for 83 years. Her secrets to good health? Aside from having good genes, she eats three large meals a day and sleeps eight hours a night. Her favorite meal is sushi and she was doing leg squats when she was 102. Two of her three children are still living and are in their 90’s.
Gertrude Weaver is the second oldest person in the world and America’s oldest. The daughter of sharecroppers, Gertrude was born in Arkansas on July 4, 1898 and married in 1915. She had four children, one of whom is still living and in his 90’s. She is currently living in a Health and Rehabilitation Center in Arkansas.
Gertrude enjoys manicures, Bible study and wheelchair dancing which she does three times a week. Her secret to longevity? “Treat people right and be nice to other people the way you want them to be nice to you.” She also believes its important not to follow anyone but God. As she says, “I’ve followed him for many, many years, and I ain’t tired.”
Jeralean Talley is also from the United States and was born on May 23, 1899 in Montrose, Georgia and is one of eleven children. Her early years were spent picking cotton and peanuts before she moved to Michigan where she married and had a child with her husband, Alfred. They were married for 52 years before Alfred died in 1988 at the age of 95. She has three grandchildren, 10 great-grandchildren and four great-great-grandchildren.
Her secret to a long life is to stay active. Until recently she played the slots at casinos, bowled until she was 104 and mowed her lawn until she was 105. She still goes on fishing trips and at the age of 114, caught seven catfish.
Susannah Mushatt Jones was bon in Alabama on July 6, 1899. She was the third oldest of eleven children of sharecroppers. She moved to New York City where she still lives today at a senior center in Brooklyn. She graduated from a private boarding school in Alabama, gave a presentation on “Negro Music in France” and was accepted at the famed Tuskegee Institute. Unfortunately, her parents didn’t have enough money for college so she moved to New York. She married, divorced after five years, had no children and spent her life mostly caring for the children of wealthy families before retiring in 1965.
Her niece said her aunt has been blind for the last 12 years but helped put her, her two sisters and two cousins through college. She claims, “she wants everyone to go to college.”
She never smoke or drank but she loves barbecue and bacon and if attempt to take either one way from her, “you will be told off.”
Emma Morano was born on November 29, 1899 and is Europe’s oldest living person. Incredibly, she still lives in northern Italy on her own and takes care of herself and her house independently. Morano was the first of eight children and though they have all passed away, her sister lived to be 102. She married in 1926 and had her only child in 1937. Unfortunately, the baby died at six months. She separated from her husband a year later but they never divorced. Until 1954 she worked at a jute factory in town before working in the kitchen of a boarding school until she retired at age 75.
Her secret to a long life? A daily glass of homemade brandy. For breakfast she eats biscuits with milk or water. During the day she eats two eggs, one raw and one cooked, as her doctor suggested, since she was 20 years old. For lunch she’ll have pasta and minced meat and for dinner, she’ll have a glass of milk. She also goes to bed every night before 7 and wakes up before 6.
Five amazing women, living ordinary lives in an extraordinary way.
God Bless them all.