December 27, 2009

USA: How to reach 100

. FALL RIVER, Massachusetts / The Herald News / Lifestyle / December 27, 2009 How to reach 100: Centenarians share advice on health, happiness (and Oil of Olay) By Linda Murphy, Special to The Herald News As you search within yourself for a New Year’s resolution this week, keep in mind that the secret to looking good and living a long and happy life may lie in surrounding yourself with loving relationships, pets and, perhaps, lathering on copious amounts of Oil of Olay. With 202 years of wisdom between them, Saul Belson, 100, and Mabel E. Correale, 102, have lived through some of the toughest times in our nation — the Great Depression and World War II — but they’ve outwitted time and the most common sign of aging: wrinkles. Saul Belson, 100, serenades his companion, Ann Rosa, 87, at Sakonnet Bay Manor in Tiverton. Romance is one of the things they say contributes to happiness in old age. Belson, a resident of Sakonnet Bay Manor in Tiverton, attends water aerobics classes there two to three times a week, and when the weather warms up he takes his nine iron out on the lawn to hit a few golf balls. In fact, it was on the front lawn where he met three local teens who “caddied” for him and over time became close friends. “They’ve become my second grandchildren. We’re great friends,” said Belson. “Having people you love is very important.” A widower, Belson has also found a new love in the past couple years: his almost constant companion, Ann Rosa, 87, a fellow resident at Sakonnet Bay. Though they say they have no plans to get married, they spend virtually all of their time together dancing at functions at the center and working on their artwork. Rosa proudly points to one of her oil paintings of a sailboat underway hanging on the wall of Belson’s living room, where his carved bone chess pieces and figurines are also prominently displayed. “Most of the time she’s a pain in the neck,” he said jokingly as he looked affectionately at Rosa. “Companionship changes your life around; it’s a great attribute.” A dental technician in Chicago for most of his career, Belson picked up the sculpting hobby by accident when he was in his 60s. “It all started when my granddaughter was chewing on a bone from a steak,” he said. “I looked at the bone and realized how much it was like ivory.” Belson said it takes him about nine hours to create one of the elaborately carved pieces, which starts with boiling the bone to remove the marrow and finishes with extensively polishing the pieces with the techniques he used as a dental technician crafting dentures for one of Chicago’s largest cosmetic denture companies. Belson emigrated from England when he was only 6 years old with his parents, Russian Jews who fled the country during the revolution at the beginning of the last century. “When I moved here I only spoke Russian and Yiddish,” he said. Belson lived most of his life in Chicago with his wife, Dora, and the couple had two sons, Harold and David, and four grandchildren, three great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild. When his wife died a few years ago, he moved to Tiverton to be near his son Harold, a retired Navy commander. Belson was trained as a navigator for the Coast Guard reserves but said by the time he finished his training, World War II was just ending so he never made it into combat. He said he watches his weight, which hovers around 153, but he also confessed to eating whatever he wants, particularly his favorite meal, fish and chips. Belson said he’s cheated death three times: twice in boating-related incidents and once as a young child when he passed out in the steamy waters at a spa. His perfect health at 100 and spryness of a teen have his doctors mystified. “The doctor said at 100, you’re not supposed to be out dancing.” At 102, Mabel Correale is the oldest resident at Fall River’s Crawford Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, but she doesn’t look a day over 80 with a wrinkle-free complexion that would be the envy of any aesthetician. It’s a quality that her son, Robert Correale of Swansea, and the employees at the center attribute to her near obsession with slathering on Oil of Olay. “If she’s running low she lets me know about it,” he said with slight laugh. “She can’t go without it.” Correale and her husband Frank adopted Robert and their other son, Joseph, who now lives in Colorado. She has six grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren. In 1946 she and her husband, who died in 1965, purchased the Sugar and Spice Bakery in Holyoke, and she was reportedly in high demand for her wedding cakes. In her 70s she married her second husband, Ernest Weidenroth, who shared her love of playing bingo until his death in 1999." But appearances aside, Correale’s secret to a long, happy life may lie with her love of animals. As a young girl growing up on a farm in Bennington, Vt., Correale is said to have spent most of her time with the animals, and her son recalls many a stray dog that she adopted over the years. “We always had pet,” he said. “She loves animals.” [rc] Copyright © 2006–2010 GateHouse Media, Inc.