By Tanya Dennis
So what does a one hundred and five year old woman wish for on her birthday? Ann Washington told this reporter that “After one hundred and four years I done give up!”
Mrs. Washington’s quick wit was quickly and clearly evident during the interview, and she’s lived long enough to know exactly what she wants.
“Í love to eat and I love to play games: Bridge; Checkers; Bingo; Whist; Dominos and going to the Casino to play nickel and penny slots are my favorite past times.”
The Berkeley Senior Center in Berkeley hosted a wonderful gala for Ann who lives in her home independently. When asked the secret of her longevity Ann responded, “Good clean living, eating the right food and minding my own business.”
“I eat lots of fruits and vegetables, but don’t care for meat and I’m tired of chicken and fish.”
Sixty guests dined on a tasty turkey dinner, then gathered around the guest of honor and sang “Happy Birthday”. Ann jokingly made blowing signals at the cake across the table as her daughter Eunice La Gone and close friends blew out the candles.
Born in what Ann describes as a “one store town,” Burr Texas, near Horton County Texas, Ann married at age twenty to Willie Jones and subsequently moved to Houston. She was married to Jones for fifteen years, then divorced him and married Willie Washington to whom she was married to for seventeen years before he died. “I like Willie’s” Ann said with a devilish twinkle in her eye.
Willie Washington, a widower with seven children and Ann moved to Oakland in 1944. Ann worked in Practical Nursing and Domestics before retiring twenty-five years ago. She has eighteen grandchildren, and thirty-seven great-grandchildren. Only one daughter is still living. Resplendent in gold brocade, Ann sat regally observing the festivities until the cake arrived. “I eat good, but I really like sweets,” she said with a sheepish expression.
When the dessert arrived, Ann kindly and subtly let me know the interview was over.