Eleventy-First Birthday

Esperanza Marrero died on Tuesday at the venerable age of 111. She was the oldest woman in New York state, and lived on the Lower East Side in the Jacob Riis Houses down along Avenue D.

Esperanza Marrero was born on January 19, 1893. That year Grover Cleveland took office as President of the United States. Thomas Edison built the first motion picture studio, Black Maria, in West Orange, New Jersey (and you thought this newfangled Internet stuff was hot); Rudolf Diesel got a patent for, yep, the Diesel engine, and women in Colorado got the right to vote. France conquered Vietnam and declared Ivory Coast as a colony, and American sugar interests overthrew the government of Queen Liliuokalani in Hawaii. Rutherford B. Hayes died; Big Bill Broonzy, Mississippi John Hurt, Andrès Segovia, Jimmy Durante, Ivor Novello, Leslie Howard, Allen Dulles, Hermann Göring and Mao Zedong were born.

A friend is fond of recounting how a centenarian in the theatre was interviewed about the sprawl of his long life. “What made the biggest difference in theatre over the years, for you?” he was asked. He thought, he pondered, and finally he answered. “Electricity,” he said.

In other news, Reuters reports that oral sex can cause cancer of the mouth. That’s the boy kind and the girl kind, if you were wondering. I don’t know whether to be more upset at the finding, or at the fact that someone was studying it and I didn’t get invited.

“It’s for science, honey. I swear.”

Update: In the course of Googling around on the Marrero story, I turned up coincidental coverage of the death yesterday of William Coates, age 114, in Clinton, Maryland. Mr. Coates was probably the oldest man in America. The final tally: 9 kids, 21 grand-kids, and 37 great-grandchildren.

About Linus

The man behind the curtain. But couldn't we get a nicer curtain?
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