FCA Home Care client Ruth turned 102 years old on March 12. Happy birthday, Ruth!
Ruth has lived nearly her entire life in Cos Cob, where she and her sister were taken in by their aunt after a short stay in a children’s home due to the death of their father and their mother’s inability to financially support the entire family.
Cos Cob was different nearly 100 years ago. Ruth remembers collecting eggs from her aunt’s chickens, placing them into a wagon, and wheeling them to sell to her neighbors.
When she was just 21 years old, Ruth met her future husband, Edward, at the beach. Together, they had two children, a son, now 78, and a daughter, now 75. When her husband passed away after 30 years of marriage, Ruth was working as a kindergarten and first grade teacher at Cos Cob elementary school, where she remained for 28 years.
Now active on Facebook, Ruth sees many of her former students and connects with them online. She even gets invited to weddings and graduations.
It was one of these students who helped her develop one of her hobbies – caring for orchids. While she was always a fan of African violets, a student once gifted her an orchid and repeated the gesture on her birthday for three years. Now her collection has grown, and her living room features several of the unique flower.
After retiring from the elementary school, Ruth spent time teaching at a nursery school, working in direct marketing, and volunteering, for which she won an award. She event worked as a model, a career path which funded her love of traveling. She has now been to every continent, and a painting she made of her favorite trip to Greece hangs in her living room.
“It’s your attitude. You can be negative or you can be positive. I have so many friends. You have to have associations and do things. Don’t sit on the couch,” she said.
Ruth also enjoys spending time with her family, including three grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
“I am the one that’s blessed. My life, and friends, my family. I just have everything,” she said.
Ruth said her secret to living a long and fulfilling life is to stay active. Twice a week she goes to the senior center to exercise, play trivia, and have lunch. She still attends church every Sunday, in addition to her orchid and painting hobbies. FCA provides Ruth with a personal emergency alert system so she is able to live on her own with security that help is just a button press away.
“If you want to grow old, do something for people. That’s the most important,” she said. “I think you’re put on earth to be doing something, giving rather than getting.”