Centenarians, the New Generation

By Belle Boone Beard; Albert J. E. Wilson III | Go to book overview

of others outside their own family circle. Several centenarians in this study became millionaires; but most of them lived simple lives. Whether rich or poor, most of them were thrifty but very generous in helping others.

They were resourceful in making new friends and sustaining social relationships. From Miss Layona Glenn's practice of telephoning shut-ins, another's sharing of a new idea, or another's gift for one or many, these centenarians sought to be useful. The pleasure that an older person experiences from an active social life is ironically expressed by the enthusiasm of a 100-year-old after her visit to a senior center: "Guess what, dearie! I was cookie- passer today!"

In addition to helping themselves and those less fortunate, centenarians have played an important role in the evolving social life of growing communities. They know how to bring people together in congenial groups and aid strangers in making friends. In a world of loneliness and isolation fears, we can marvel at centenarians' ingenuity in solving a problem that can defeat much younger people. Their solution seems to be that for developing one's own individuality, for comfort and support, and for enhancing humanity's efforts in general, hard work and generous giving may be the answer.

Of all the many contributions centenarians have made to our society, the most important one may be that they fostered brotherly love, group identity, and personal in-depth commitment. The results from such efforts are ongoing and continue to benefit many in far-reaching ways. Positive human relationships may need to be increased and not decreased in this rapidly changing society.


NOTES
1.
Lee Meriwether, letter to Dr. Beard, 1962. In 1965 he sent a copy of his My First 100 Years. 1862-1962 to Dr. Beard with his signature under the inscription, "From your young (only 102 1/2) friend." See pp. 92-93.
2.
Meriwether, letter to Dr. Beard, 1962. In 1965, she found the same story, slightly different words, in My First 100 Years, p. 94.
3.
Red Fox, The Memoirs of Chief Red Fox with an introduction by Cash Asher ( New York: McGraw-Hill, 1971), back flap.

-184-

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Centenarians, the New Generation
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • A Note About the Author vii
  • Notes xi
  • Preface xiii
  • About the Book xv
  • Acknowledgments xvii
  • PART I INTRODUCTION 1
  • Chapter 1 Centenarians: the New Generation 3
  • Note 14
  • PART II PERSONAL CHARACTERISTICS OF CENTENARIANS 15
  • Chapter 2: Centenarians Think Health 17
  • Chapter 3 37
  • Notes 47
  • Chapter 4: Keeping Active 49
  • Chapter 5 Learning and Memory 73
  • Notes 91
  • Chapter 6 Artists and Artisans 93
  • Notes 114
  • Chapter 7 Faith and Philosophy 126
  • Chapter 8 Personal Characteristics Summary 129
  • PART III WORK, FAMILY, COMMUNITY 131
  • Chapter 10 Romance, Marriage, and Fertility 151
  • Note 162
  • Note 163
  • Note 184
  • PART IV PERSONAL AND NATIONAL HISTORY 185
  • Chapter 12 Roots 187
  • Notes 206
  • Chapter 13 War and Longevity 219
  • Chapter 14 As the Nation Grew 236
  • Chapter 15 Centenarians' Life History Summary 237
  • PART V THE STUDY FINDINGS AND RESEARCH IMPLICATIONS 241
  • Chapter 16 Findings and Implications 243
  • Appendix A Centenarians' Special Stories 251
  • Appendix B Communication Form 269
  • Selected Bibliography 271
  • Index 279
  • About the Editors 281
  • Recent Titles in Contributions to the Study of Aging 282
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