The average life expectancy in America is 78.87 years and roughly one out of six thousand people reach their 100th birthday. Reaching 100 years of age is something of a phenomenon, yet The Saybrook at Haddam has FOUR centenarian residents.
Betty Arnold is 104. She was born on 12/30/1915 and lived in Wethersfield for most of her life. Betty worked as a school secretary for 17 years then worked for the Wethersfield Historical Society. Eventually, she took on the character of Goody Pilgrim and went to schools where she taught children about colonial days. She also was a tour guide at the Ancient Burial Grounds and did walking tours of Old Wethersfield. She continued this volunteer work until she was 90.
Susie Perkins Jarrell was born on October 10, 1916. She is 103 years young. During the Great Depression, Susie helped the family’s finances by babysitting and teaching piano lessons. She attended college on scholarship; and, as part of the teaching program, was supposed to spend a year abroad in Berlin, Germany. That was in 1938. After just 3 months in Germany, with WWII looming, Susie returned home without being able to complete her teaching degree. Susie took a position teaching American children in Ecuador where she met her future husband, Oscar. After marrying, they traveled to many places around the world. They eventually settled in Needham, MA, where they raised their four children. They purchased a home on Nantucket where they summered for many years before moving there permanently in 1977. Susie became the Music Director in the Unitarian Church and was also the first teacher at the newly formed Nantucket Community Music Center. Susie’s secrets to a long life: music, men, and Manhattans!
Marge Platt will be 102 on June 20th. She was born and grew up in Cranston, RI. She was a dancer and also taught tap and ballet. Marge married Lloyd Platt with whom she had two daughters. She and Lloyd ran a square dance club. Lloyd was the caller and Marge taught round dancing. She always loved flowers and was an active gardener. Marge was also active in the Greenwich Presbyterian church. She delivered Meals on Wheels and drove people to doctor appointments until she was 90.
Eleanor Asci turned 100 on April 24th. Born a farmer’s daughter on the family’s 50 acre tobacco farm in South Glastonbury, she later married Bill Asci, had two sons, and lived in Cromwell. She and Bill loved traveling and went on cruises all over the world. Eleanor worked in Dietary at Pilgrim Manor in Cromwell. She loved flower and vegetable gardening and only stopped planting her vegetable garden last year at age 99. She loved the outdoors and square dancing. Eleanor’s tips for longevity are: work hard, keep out of trouble, and mind your own business!
These women and others like them, have lived through incredible historical events. To name some, and by all means this is not a complete list:
- Wars & conflicts: World War I (Betty & Susie), World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War, Cuban Missile Crisis, Grenada, The Persian Gulf War, 9/11
- Social, Economic & Health Concerns: The Spanish Flu (Betty, Susie, & Marge), Women’s Right to Vote (Betty, Susie, & Marge), The Great Depression, Prohibition, 1st Woman Supreme Court Justice, First African American President, COVID-19
- Technological and scientific discoveries: the radio, antibiotics, television, the airplane, the automobile, the personal computer, rockets, the submarine, nuclear energy, and the internet.
To those blessed with good health like Betty, Susie, Marge, and Eleanor, longevity is a gift. To look back on your life and see all the history you’ve experienced is amazing. We are grateful to know these ladies and hope everyone has the opportunity to meet and learn from such incredible people.
The Saybrook at Haddam is a 75-apartment senior living community located in Haddam, CT, that provides independent retirement living services along with state-licensed assisted living services to its residents. Its 34-resident Safe Harbor Memory Care community provides specialized services for those living with Alzheimer’s, dementia, and other memory-related conditions. To schedule a private tour or receive additional information, please call 860-345-3779, visit us at www.TheSaybrookAtHaddam.com, or Like us on FaceBook. The Saybrook at Haddam is owned by MCAP Sabine Point LLC.