Midwestern Woman Becomes Oldest Living American
Here's the thing about becoming the oldest person in the United States--it's not a title that one gets to hold on to for very long.
I would expect that those who are blessed with super-longevity are probably well aware of that fact, and would just like to enjoy their birthday cake while leaving the worries about the future to another day. Wouldn't you?
If I ever get the chance to sit down with one of the title-holders, I'd love to know what their secret is. You'll often seen super-centenarians asked that question, and some of their answers are solid gold. My favorites are the folks who enjoy a drink every day, smoke a cigar now and then, knock back some fried chicken, etc. My less-favorite responses to the longevity question are the ones who never drank, never ate anything remotely enjoyable, never went to parties, and never married.
I remember those old yogurt commercials from years ago where they took a camera crew to some far-flung Siberian village where the temperatures never get above 20 below zero and the idea of fun was not freezing to death or being eaten by wolves. They would show some 100 year old guy eating his yogurt next to his 118 year old mom and 139 year old grandmother. The idea was, of course, that eating this yogurt gave these Siberian villagers some crazy longevity.
While watching those commercials, I remember thinking that if I lived where they lived, the last thing I would ever do is eat something that would make me live there longer.
Anyway, back to the new holder of the title of Oldest Living American (and 7th oldest person in the world), 114 year old Thelma Sutcliffe of Omaha, Nebraska. She became the new title holder on April 17th, when the previous oldest person in America, Hester Ford, a 115-year-old woman, died in North Carolina.
According to a report from ABC News, what Thelma wants most is for the lockdown at her senior center to end so she can eat with her friends, which she hasn't been able to do in over a year.
If you're wondering about Illinois' oldest person, Gerontology.wikia.org says that distinction belongs to 112 year old Ruth Apilado of Chicago, who will turn 113 tomorrow, April 30th.