Alice Wynne – Lived to 108 years old

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July 1904 – April 2, 2013

Alice Wynn was 105 years old at the time that I wrote to her.  I received a letter from the proprietor of the care home she resided in.  Alice shared photos with her and copies were sent to me.

Alice receives a card from the Queen on her birthday.

According to the Official Website of the British Monarchy the Queen sends cards on the occasion of residents 100th birthday, 105th birthday, and every birthday there after.  This is a fun tradition and my personal favorite part is the Queen’s face on the card.  Am I alone in thinking the Queen should smile more on her card picture?

Alice celebrating her 103rd birthday with staff and residents of Lands House care home. Back left: Her two buddies Mable and Ruby who were both in their 90’s, those spring chickens.

The Letter

Dear Heather,

My name is Georgina I am the proprietor of Lands house and I like to think friend of Alice and feel privileged to know her, for she is a remarkable lady.

Alice said that she would like me to answer your letter on her behalf.

Alice lived in Halifax West Yorkshire most of her life; she worked in the market there.  She is a Roman Catholic and has always attended church and is still faithful to her religion and is given communion in the home regularly.  She lost her husband and her only son many years ago, her son died in his forties and as she says she has been on her own a long time but she does have her nephew Terrance and his wife Doreen who visits every week.  

When I asked her what she thinks contributes to her living to such a great age, she said that it is unbelievable to her that she is so old and that all she can think is that you have to keep an active mind and that it must be Gods will and we have to except what he gives us.  

“keep an active mind”

Alice has all her wits about her and is more like someone in there eighties, she can have long conversations and loves talking to people.  Her sight is now limited and due to a fall some six years ago she no longer walks, but can stand and do a few steps.  She copes very well in a nursing home but she gets bored, as not every elderly can chat as she can.  She likes to be active and will go at any thing.  She has strong opinions on food and enjoys old fashioned dishes (if they are cooked properly) on her birthday she enjoyed a Sunday lunch at the local pub and ate three courses and drank a pint of shandy (beer and lemonade).  What she likes most of all is to go outside in the sunshine, although we don’t see much of that in the U.K.

Yours sincerely Georgina Heather Copley on behalf of Alice Wynne

 

Her son Tony’s wedding. Her suit was lace and her hat made of feathers.

Georgina wrote descriptions on the backs of each of the copied pictures.  She mentioned that when talking with Alice and collecting these pictures that it was the first time she learned that Alice had lived in Blackpool as a young woman.  It sounded as though this was quite a fun little project for both of them.

Alice Wynn in her 20’s. Taken at Blackpool.

Alice Wynne lived to 108 years old.  According to the Huddersville Daily Examiner, she was invited to a Buckingham Palace Garden Party in May 2012, while she was 107 years old.  She was still alert and gushed about meeting Royalty.  She was surprised to find the Queen in attendance and shared that Kate knelt down and touched her hand in greeting.  Prince Charles and Prince Philip also shared kind words with her.

Magdalena ‘Lee’ Skiff – 108 years

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May 12, 1902 – November 15th, 2010

Magdalena Skiff’s daughter, Doreen Moreno, replied to my letter.  They lived together in California.  At the time that she wrote me, Mrs. Skiff was 107 years old although she lived to 108.  No photo was included.

The Letter

Dear Heather,

I’m Doreen Moreno, daughter of Lee Skiff.  I’m sorry its taken so long to respond to your letter, I’ve been very busy.  I was wondering how you came across my Mothers age and address.  

My Mother has lives with me for the past eighteen years.  She is in very good health and it is remarkable how alert she is.  She walks with a walker now, but still gets around very good.  

She lived in San Francisco for sixty-seven years.  She had a lot of hills to climb.  Her home had a lot of steps and go up and down every day.  She has never over eaten and never eats fast food or fried foods.  She was raised on a farm in North Dakota so growing their own vegetables and fruits was a big part of their diet.  I also eat the same way, so cooking everything from scratch and growing our own fruits and vegetables is a normal way for us to eat.  My Mother has always enjoyed a little shot of whiskey straight before dinner.  I hope this will help you.

Sincerely,

Doreen Moreno

Doreen was the first of many to inquire how I had obtained their name address.  Just for clarity, I always write back and briefly explain how the internet helped me find them.  Keeping the stalker vibe to a minimum has been very important to me.

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Ms. Skiff’s life of regular physical activity and a healthy ‘back to basics’ diet are the ideal mix that are often missing from our modern lives.  While arguably many people born at the time likely walked more and ate more homegrown foods, did they maintain this lifestyle as they aged and technology and convenience foods popped up more and more.

Her daily shot of whiskey before dinner leads me to imagine her to have a bit of spunk.  And I just think that spunk counts for something!

A little bit o’ Science

According to the the Chicago Health and Aging Project of 2009, older adults who consume a minimum of three servings a day of vegetables, especially green leafy vegetables, maintain their mental abilities 40% longer than those who ate less vegetables.

To read a little more about the benefit of alcohol consumption in moderation and aging, check out the post on Fred Cain.

 

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/chiotsrun/4836566714/”>Chiot’s Run</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/”>cc</a&gt;