A cen­tury of liv­ing should be cel­e­brated


Austin American-Statesman - - COM­MU­NITY NEWS - kher­man@states­man.com; 445-3907.

“To me, it’s just nor­mal. The thing I was in­ter­ested in my whole life was learn­ing. I just wanted to learn stuff, and so that’s what I did,” she said. “And when you’re learn­ing, you’re not think­ing of time or the years.”

Kelly was born in La­mar County in North­east Texas. She grew up in Wi­chita Falls and, after col­lege, took a sec­re­tar­ial job with an Amer­i­can con­struc­tion com­pany in White­horse in the Cana­dian Yukon. She met en­gi­neer John T. Kelly there. They mar­ried in 1943, and his ca­reer took them to Bahrain, Aus­tralia, Italy and Hol­land. They had two kids, and he died in 1981. Lil­lie Kelly spent most of her time since then in Wi­chita Falls. She now lives with a daugh­ter in Round Rock.

For me, the com­ment that best de­scribes Kelly’s up­beat view of life was this one: “I en­joyed life dur­ing the De­pres­sion.”

And be­cause she doesn’t think 100 is a big deal, she has no spe­cial plans for the day.

The cen­sus re­port says Texas had 2,917 cen­te­nar­i­ans in 2010, plac­ing us be­hind Cal­i­for­nia, 5,921; New York, 4,605; and Florida, 4,090. The Dako­tas, Iowa and Ne­braska have the most cen­te­nar­i­ans per capita. Hardy stock up there, I guess.

The cen­sus folks ad­vise cau­tion in com­par­ing cen­te­nar­ian counts from dif­fer­ent years be­cause of “vari­a­tions in data qual­ity across cen­suses.”

“Mis­re­port­ing oc­curs when a re­spon­dent does not an­swer the ques­tion ac­cu­rately. With re­spect to cen­te­nar­ian data, it can re­sult from il­lit­er­acy, cog­ni­tion dif­fi­cul­ties, proxy re­port­ing or sim­ply a de­sire to at­tain the sta­tus of be­ing a cen­te­nar­ian,” the re­port says, not­ing stud­ies show­ing the 2000 num­bers were “ar­ti­fi­cially high.”

Here’s a non-shocker from the new re­port: “Cen­te­nar­i­ans are con­cen­trated in the ‘youngest’ cen­te­nar­ian ages,” as in 62.5 per­cent in 2010 were 100 or 101, only 8 per­cent were over 104 and only 0.6 per­cent (a to­tal of 330) were 110 or more.

Some other stats: For

Texas had 2,917 cen­te­nar­i­ans in 2010, cen­sus re­ports say.

every 100 fe­male cen­te­nar­i­ans, there were only 20.7 men, a promis­ing stat for het­ero­sex­ual cen­te­nar­ian males look­ing for dates.

The most com­mon liv­ing ar­range­ment for male cen­te­nar­i­ans (45.3 per­cent of them) was “liv­ing with oth­ers in a house­hold.” Among the women, 35.2 per­cent were in nurs­ing homes and 34 per­cent were liv­ing alone at home. A third of the men were liv­ing alone at home.

Let’s close with ad­vice from Kelly, who’s plan­ning to live un­til she’s 114, for hit­ting the cen­tury mark.

“En­joy it, and do what you love, if there is some­thing that you love,” she said.

Good ad­vice, and though I re­spect the wis­dom of the elders I’m stick­ing to my guns on this one. Kelly is wrong and I don’t care what the cen­sus num­bers show. Turn­ing 100 is a big deal (at least it’s go­ing to be when I reach it). $10,000.

Bishop said he set­tled un­der “duress,” so he bought a law book and de­cided to de­fend him­self. Since then, he has filed a law­suit in Austin against the Texas Rail­road Com­mis­sion, the state agency that over­sees pipe­lines, ar­gu­ing it failed to prop­erly in­ves­ti­gate the pipe­line and pro­tect ground­wa­ter, public health and safety.

Aware that the oil gi­ant could have a bat­tery of lawyers and ex­perts at the hear­ing later this month, Bishop, 64, a re­tired chemist cur­rently in med­i­cal school, said he is de­ter­mined to fight.

“Bring ’em on. I’m a United States Ma­rine. I’m not afraid of any­one. I’m not afraid of them,” he said. “When I’m done with them, they will know that they’ve been in a fight. I may not win, but I’m go­ing to hurt them.”

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