Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Memphis Woman Dies at 116

From the AP:

MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Elizabeth "Lizzie" Bolden, recognized as the world's oldest person, died Monday in a nursing home, the home's administrator said. She was 116. . . .

Family members said this year that Bolden had 40 grandchildren, 75 great-grandchildren, 150 great-great-grandchildren, 220 great-great-great grandchildren and 75 great-great-great-great grandchildren.

The very thought of living 116 years wears me out. (I'm already breaking down, and I'm only 30.) On the other hand, just think of what this woman has seen in her life. When she was old enough to be truly aware of her surroundings, cars had been invented but hadn't taken to the streets, incandescent lighting was in its infancy, the word radio had yet to be invented, recorded music could be purchased only on phonograph cylinders (and those were rare), and anyone wanting to make a phone call had to go through an operator. Bolden was already 24 when World War I started; during the Great Depression, she was in her late thirties and early forties; when major civil rights legislation was passed in the 1960s, Bolden was in her seventies. She lived through the invention of the airplane, the computer, the ballpoint pen, and the home refrigerator. No matter how much one's joints end up aching, living through so much change has to be an incredible experience.


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