A 'Celebration of Age' salutes longevity

By Steve Smith - Staff Writer
Glastonbury - posted Fri., Sep. 23, 2011
Rocco and Marie Loscalzo celebrated their 94 and 91 years, respectively, as well as 70 years of marriage, at the Celebration of Age at the Glastonbury Senior Center on Sept. 22. Photos by Steve Smith.
Rocco and Marie Loscalzo celebrated their 94 and 91 years, respectively, as well as 70 years of marriage, at the Celebration of Age at the Glastonbury Senior Center on Sept. 22. Photos by Steve Smith.

The Glastonbury Senior Center held a special gathering on Sept. 22 to honor Glastonbury’s eldest residents. The “Celebration of Age” recognized longevity – specifically, those aged 90 and over – and the experience and wisdom that comes along with it.

“Our star residents have continually demonstrated how to engage in life,” said Senior Center Coordinator Maryleah Skoronski.

State Rep. Prasad Srinivasan (R-31st District) said that living to the fullest is what life is all about. After a short speech, he spent time greeting all of the special guests, asking them to share their secrets of long life.

“I’m a physician. I know how to live life, in theory,” he said, “but you have walked that walk. I think all of you must share the feeling that you have paused along life’s path, smelled the roses, and treasured those extremely important and valuable moments in your life.”

Town Council Chair Susan Karp presented a Town Council proclamation to the 90-plussers, and said she was glad to see the number of lives being celebrated. “We always talk about counting our blessings,” Karp said. “Truly, those of you who have reached this milestone in your lives are a blessing to all of us. Without your history, your experience, your knowledge, and your ability to share, our lives – my life and my children’s lives – would certainly be much emptier.”

The nonagenarians and centenarians had plenty to say about the celebration and the senior center, as well as life itself.

Rocco and Marie Loscalzo, 94 and 91, respectively, were also celebrating 70 years of marriage. “It’s wonderful,” Marie said. “I can’t believe it. The years went by so fast – good and bad, but mostly good.”

“I like it very much,” Rocco said, of his marriage. “I’m very happy with her.”

Marie said she has lived in Glastonbury since she was 9 years old, and she married a Hartford boy. “There were 6,000 people in Glastonbury when I moved here, not counting the cows,” she said. “It’s really changed for the better. I love the way the town is developing. It’s very special.”

The Loscalzos have three children, four grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. “This is a wonderful gathering,” Marie said. “There’s a lot of history in this room.”

Albertina Coray, 92, said she walks to exercise, and is well-taken care of. “This is a nice place,” she said of the center. “I play Bingo here.”

For Bill McGaw, 93, the celebration was held in a poignant location, since he, as a former chair of the Commission on Aging, was instrumental in helping to get the Riverfront Community Center built. “It was about 1990 when we got started,” he said. “It took us about 14 years to convince the town to do it.”

McGaw said several locations were looked at all over town, and the Town Council at the time was resistant to building a new structure, instead opting for usage of existing buildings. But the majority on the council shifted, and several referenda were passed to build the current building.

“We finally got it to go through,” McGaw said. “I guess I made about 100 speeches in front of that council. We just were determined that it wasn’t going to be something they could shove off. It was more perseverance than anything else.”

McGaw said he’s proud of the RCC and how it’s being used today. “This is wonderful,” he said. “The staff did a wonderful job. The other thing about it was that by doing this, the town decided to develop all this other land around here. That used to be just foul old land that they weren’t going to do anything with.”

Margaret Dineen, who turns 104 on Nov. 1, was the eldest person at the event, which she said was “nice.”

Andrea Gaudet, 92, and a recent transplant to Glastonbury, may have summed it up best. “I try to eat right and get my sleep, but my secret to living long is just being good to people,” she said, “and do your best to help everybody. I just keep going.”

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