The 100 / #100: Maria Manniello

#100 Maria Manniello New Jersey, USA

About Maria

Tell us a little about yourself:
I was born in Quaglietta, Italy, Province of Avellino, Campania. In Italy, I married a kind, wonderful butcher. He died shortly after returning from WWII, and I have been a widow since 44 years old. I have been wearing black since my husband passed away 56 years ago, the traditional attire for grieving widows. I came to the US in 1960 and settled in Ridgefield Park, New Jersey, with my son and his family. I have been with them ever since. I only speak Italian and very, very broken English. I have always taken care of tomato gardens and grapevines as I have a super green thumb. However, after breaking my hip at 94 years old, I cut back on my gardening activities. Recently, considering my age, my back started to crumble in February, 2012. I have found comfort by staying in bed. My mind is active and I have a little hearing loss. At 100 years old, I am experiencing a comfortable and peaceful life. As a feisty, active woman back in the day, I am enjoying being taken care of and have never laughed as much as I have this past year. Being 100 years old is a new beginning, not an end. I love company and am witty and sassy like always.

What one thing are you most proud of in your years so far?
Watching my son and daughter give me five beautiful grandchildren and being able to see my 10 great-grandchildren grow up.

What one thing have you seen in your lifetime which has changed the world the most significantly?
Seeing photographs of my great grandchildren posted on Facebook on my granddaughter’s laptop. Amazing!!!

What piece of advice would you give to your 10 year old self?
Be yourself and don’t listen to anyone. Make your own path and walk on it. Don’t worry what others think or do.

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