A Lady Entering the Second Century

by Daniel Nardini

I am thoroughly convinced that I will never live to be 100 years old. None of my family has ever lived that long, and the odds are certainly against it for me. Therefore, it is no small miracle, even in this age of medicine and science, that if someone does live to be 100 years old or older it is an accomplishment in of itself. The oldest holder for being the oldest person on earth, Violet Brown, is indeed a miracle. Born on March 20, 1900, she has seen a world that has changed beyond description. When she was born in Jamaica, TV and radio did not exist. The car was almost unknown (people even at that time still used horse and wagon), and electricity was not yet widespread. The airplane did not yet exist, and train travel was the only public transportation known (no, no public buses either). Entertainment then was either live stage performances or reading books by gaslight.

Imagine how much the world has changed for Ms. Brown since she was born. We had World War I, World War II, the Cold War, and now we are living in the post-Cold War 21st Century. Radio and then TV were invented. The car came to be mass-produced, and we cannot imagine what life was like before electricity. Humanity has been into space and the Moon, and we are developing space stations to stay in space. We now have commercial flight as well as cars and public transportation such as the bus and high-speed trains. Science has brought us medicine and medical miracles that can preserve life longer, and the improvement in general nutrition means that most people in general will not become weak and vulnerable to disease as was the case when Ms. Brown was born. Technology has given us iphones, the Internet, and telecommunications that can connect just about every part of this world in a matter of minutes and even seconds. That Violet Brown has lived to see this world as we know it now is no small thing. Happy birthday Violet Brown!

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