This hour: Stories about people who lived to be 100, and reflections from producer Neenah Ellis on what she learned from these remarkable centenarians.
Helen and Bill Boardman
At an age when most people are simplifying their lives and settling into old age, Helen Boardman was opening a new chapter - traveling to Europe, writing her memoirs, and falling in love (at age 90) with a younger man.
Having no children, and having been shunned by her family for being gay, Ruth Ellis found herself alone in old age. That is, until a brand-new community embraced her, and helped her make the most out of the final years of her life.
Retirement was never in the cards for Abe Goldstein, who taught law at Baruch College in New York well into his 100s.
Roy Larkin Stamper
Cattle rancher, coal miner and preacher are just a few of the vocations R.L. Stamper pursued over the course of his 100 years. In the last years of his life, R.L. believed the Rapture was imminent and he wanted just one more thing: a wife.
Marion Cowen worked in theater and film with some of the great stars of his time and still remembers a few stories, though many memories have faded. Having outlived his entire family and almost all of his friends, Marion's primary end-of-life companion was a beloved 26 year-old cat named Soho.
After her husband died, Anna Wilmot chose not to re-marry, believing "when you've had the best, forget the rest." Although she had many friends who she visited often, she spent most of the last three decades of her life alone. Soltitude didn't bring her down however - on the contrary Anna found many things to love about her life.
This episode of Re:sound was produced by Katie Mingle.
All of the centenarians in this episode of re:sound have passed away. Hear some of their obituaries here, where you can also hear the stories of other centenarians profiled in the NPR series 100 Years of Stories.
Read more about Neenah Ellis' journey in documenting centenarians in her book, If I Live to Be 100.
Hauschka, "Subconscious," Salon des Amateurs, (FatCat Records, 2011)
Matthew Cooper, "Some Days are Better than Others," Some Days are Better than Others, (Temporary Residence, 2011)
Goldmund, "Leading" Two Point Descrimination, (Western Vinyl, 2007)
Various Artists "Come March" Childish Music, (Staubgold Germany, 2005)
Hauschka, "Cube," Salon des Amateurs, (FatCat Records, 2011)
Caroline, "Swimmer (instrumental)", Verdugo Hills, (Temporary Residence, 2011)