Local resident celebrates 100th birthday

By Steve Smith - Staff Writer
Glastonbury - posted Thu., Mar. 10, 2011
Mildred Courson and her daugher, Lois Vinci, both celebrated their March birthdays at the Glastonbur Senior Center on March 10. Photos by Steve Smith.
Mildred Courson and her daugher, Lois Vinci, both celebrated their March birthdays at the Glastonbur Senior Center on March 10. Photos by Steve Smith.

Mildred Courson leads an exercise program at the Herbert T. Clark house, where she resides, but she skipped the program on March 10, in order to attend a birthday party at the Glastonbury Senior Center- where she was honored for turning 100 on March 29.

Courson was born on that date in 1911, in Pittsfield, Mass. That was also the year Ronald Reagan, Jean Harlow, Roy Rogers, Ginger Rogers and Lucille Ball were born.

In her life, she has lived in Florida and South Carolina, among several other places, but always has referred to the Hartford area, where she grew up, as home.

“This is home,” she said. “This is the best place to be. The best years of my life are right now, because I’m home.”

Lois Vinci, Courson’s oldest daughter, will celebrate her 82nd birthday this month, on March 30.

“I was her 18th birthday present,” Vinci said.

Courson credits some of her longevity to maintaining her feisty personality, and joked that she’s not accustomed to so much attention, but she’s getting used to it.

“I don't mind it at all,” she said. “I'm used to being around people.”

She also said a good diet and walking as much as possible have been factors that have helped her reach the century mark.

“I like everything, but spices I keep away from,” she said. “I don’t eat too much salt or pepper, and that helps a great deal. And, I love to walk.”

She also keeps busy by crocheting small squares that are woven into blankets for veterans, through the senior center.

Courson can't see well, and needs some help walking, but has not lost her humor. She said that feistiness has helped her keep her mind.

“You'd be surprised at what it can do for you,” she said, “because, as I say, ‘What would you do if I couldn't think?’ I can think, and I don’t mind being feisty.”

Somewhat surprisingly, Courson was a smoker for nearly four decades, and quit around age 70, when she moved to a small town in South Carolina and cigarettes were harder to come by.

Courson has two daughters, seven grandchildren, seven great-grandchildren, and four great-great-grandchildren. She worked as an ad checker for a newspaper, and later in life, after her children had grown, became a licensed practical nurse.

Courson downplayed turning 100. “Is that such an accomplishment?” she asked. “A lot of people are living longer.”

She added that she thinks advances in medical science are partly responsible for that, and she thinks too many people become reliant on prescriptions.

“The worst thing is too much medication,” she said. “People are afraid to die, so they take anything their doctor tells them to. If they’re lucky, they get to do more exercise.”

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