Originally published in
Island Ad-Vantages, September 26, 2013
Island Nursing Home throws birthday bash for 105-year-old Mary Cousins
On Friday, September 20, the staff and residents of Island Nursing Home threw a surprise 105th birthday party for Mary Cousins, lifelong resident of Stonington. Several members of Mary’s family were in attendance as well as members of the community who have known her for most or all of their lives. Delightful stories were shared by many of the guests, as well as by Mary herself. Cake and ice cream were enjoyed by all, even though Mary had insisted that turning 105 was “no big deal… not really worth bothering about.” Mary, who received the Boston Post Cane last year on her 104th birthday, also holds the distinction of being the oldest person ever to reside at Island Nursing Home in its 30 years of business. The previous record holder was 104.
In her 105 years of living, Mary has witnessed more changes than any other generation will probably see. For example in 1908, the average life expectancy was 47 years; there were only 8,000 automobiles and only 144 miles of paved roads in the United States; only 8 percent of homes had a telephone and only 14 percent of homes had bathtubs. Also in 1908, only 6 percent of all adults had graduated from high school; two out of 10 adults couldn’t read or write; and 90 percent of all practicing doctors didn’t even have a college education. Marijuana, heroin and morphine were all available over-the-counter at the drug store; only 30 people lived in Las Vegas, and there was no such thing as Mother’s Day or Father’s Day. If you compare that to the way we live today, it’s hard for most of us to even imagine.
On behalf of all of us here at INH, we would like to give our best wishes and congratulations to Mary for a life well lived, and our sincere hopes for her continued health and happiness. We asked Mary to tell us what her secret to a long and healthy life is. Her response:
“The secret is to keep a good attitude and be happy. I’ve been a happy person all of my life. I’ve also kept my mind busy, and read extensively. Oh, and black pepper!”
From our home to yours until next time…