A child born in 1900 had an average life expectancy of 40. Today, more and more people are living to 100 or older. Such is the case of Margaret.

Margaret, a resident of Garden View of O’Fallon, is a 100-year-old native of New York. She moved to O’Fallon last year after she outlived all of her friends and most of her family.

“I lived all my life in New York City, but unfortunately, at 100 years old, I have outlived all my family except nieces and nephews,” she said. “My nephews and nieces have been wonderful. My nephew lives right here and the others live in Illinois but they are in constant check. They couldn’t be better if I was their mother.”

New York is near to her heart. When asked if the city is what she loved most in her life, she replied, Oh, yes!”

“I do think of love as a human,” she said, “not a city or a building or whatever. But I say I love New York. Still, it’s not the same as if I love my mother or my sister.”

When asked what it takes to live a long life, she said, “I have no secret. For years, I was a smoker. I didn’t inhale; that made all the difference. I was a social drinker. I ate what I wanted. So I guess I didn’t try. It just happened.”

But she did walk.

“For the last 14 years of my employment I walked to work,” Margaret said. She worked in Manhattan.

I enjoyed Manhattan. It’s a way of life. There was so much to do.”

She pauses for a moment, before asking, “You know about 9/11, of course, when the planes crashed into the World Trade Center?”

“Two years before that happened, there was a little piece in the New York Times that there was available a showing of the largest collection of [Auguste] Rodin sculptures in the world and it was at 2 World Trade Center,” Margaret said. “It was only open upon invitation or by request. So I wrote a letter and I got a prompt request for an appointment for me and two of my friends to attend. This man, Harold Cantor, owned the firm Cantor Fitzgerald. His offices were on the top floor of 2 World Trade Center and the collection was there.

“In any event, came 9/11 and that whole thing was wiped out, gone. And in those offices of Cantor Fitzgerald, those employees [658 people], died. It was a tragedy but it was personal for me.”

In 100 years, you have a lot of memories – some happy, some sad.