The New York
Lynn Adler's centenarian party.
Continuing her association and work with
centenarians, Lynn Adler recently threw a party in Phoenix, Arizona,
for a few of her 100+ year old friends. The party, Lynn and the
nine centenarians who were the "guests of honor" received national recognition in a June 22,
1998 The New York
Times story, "As Centenarians Thrive, Old
is Redefined," by Sara Rimer.
Lynn Adler, standing in the center,
recently threw a
party for her 100+ year old friends.
Photo courtesy of Lynn Adler
The story, which appeared on the front page of
The New York Times as well as on the front pages of several
other major daily newspapers, including The Arizona Republic,
highlights a few of the party goers, the accomplishments of some
centenarians, the fact that reaching 100 is no longer viewed
as an oddity and that the number of centenarians is steadily
increasing: In the United States by the middle of the next century,
that number is expected to be more than 800,000.
Following are excerpts from The New York Times
Lloyd Botimer, 103, walked in carrying
the medal he had won in the javelin throw in the Senior Olympics
three years ago. Essie Brown, 105, who wore a blue dress and
heels, let it be known that she was looking for a dance partner.
And 101-year-old Lenore Schaeffer brought news clippings attesting
to her fame as a ballroom-dancing centenarian. Last year, she
made the "Tonight" show with Jay Leno, and the cover
of the Japanese edition of Newsweek.
Back in her early 90s, Mrs. Schaeffer
tried to get on "Tonight" with Johnny Carson. "He
wrote back and said that she was too young," said Mrs. Schaeffer's
son, Lou Schaeffer, who is 60. "One hundred-one and still
dancing, that's different."
Ms. Adler, the founder of
the nonprofit National Centenarian Awareness
Project and author of a book about
centenarians, says that baby boomers have traded in their
youthful motto "Don't trust anyone over 30" for "Let's
live to be 100." Still, attitudes toward the very old are
a mixture of admiration and dread.
... "I just look forward to the
next day," said Merle McEathron, who will turn 103 on the
last day of July and was among those eating cake at Lynn Adler's
centenarian party. "If it's nice, I go for a walk."
Mrs. McEathron, who grew up on a farm and reared two children
alone during the Depression after her first husband left her,
said her later years had been the best ones. It was not until
her eighth decade that she was able to stop working, as a restaurant
hostess and hotel cashier.
At 80, she was married for the
fourth time, to a retired Navy admiral one year her junior. "That
was the love of my life, honey," she said. He died 12 years
ago. Mrs. McEathron lives in her own apartment in an assisted
living center. She enjoys a daily glass of wine. And, she said,
"I salt everything."