If you’re over 100 years old, then today, September 22nd is a special day. It’s National Centenarian Day, and the North Shore Care Center in Grand Marais is throwing a party to celebrate. The Care Center has four residents who are centenarians, and they’re all women.
“My name is Mildred Margarite Mainella, it’s on the chart over there. I was born in 1908 in Duluth, and I was two years old when my folks decided to move up here. So we moved up to Moose Valley, you know where that is? And from the time I was two years old, I was raised in Moose Valley. There were only two other families that lived in Moose Valley at the time. I was raised on wild meat; moose meat, deer meat. We lived off the land.”
Ann Maurin, another Care Center resident, just turned 100 last month. She may be slowing down a little bit, but her sense of humor is still going strong.
“Am I that old already? Oh gee, I wanted to be young yet! I am such a freak.”
Until recently, living to 100 was considered rare, but the number of centenarians is increasing steadily, and as of October 2009, the U.S. Census Bureau estimates there were about 104,000 in the U.S., with the number expected to quadruple by 2030.
Nora Bockovitch is part of the Care Center team that’s throwing the party for the centenarians today.
“Other residents are invited as well. But it’s to honor them and then we’ll just talk about it a little bit, but what it is of course is how special it is, because my goodness, to be over a hundred years old is just an honor in itself, so why not honor them?”
The party starts at 3 p.m. today at the Care Center. There will be cake, ice cream, and coffee, and Grand Marais Mayor Sue Hakes will present each of the centenarians with a red rose. The women being honored today are Margo Florell, 104, Bertha Toftey, 102, Millie Mainella, 102, and Anne Maurin, 100.
“We lived on our farm,” says Maurin. “Had cattle, horses, pigs, kids. But it was good. Good life. Loved it!”