Gin Fizz
Artist: Grace Pullen

MUSEologies thanks Ralph Morrow
For giving us permission to reprint his ARMCHAIR COMMENT

When life gets you down, eat a raisin
Citizen Sports Editor

Key West, Florida
There was a time, for 20 to 30 years, Anna Mae Swenson played poker one night a week with the Poker Pirates in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. “It was just penny-ante”, this sports woman was telling me from her home in Rhinebeck, N.Y. “Nobody got hurt – much.” There were eight of them in the club. Someone once incredulously asked one of the ladies if they really played poker every week. Her response was, “Does the sun rise in the morning?”

Now, she plays contract bridge twice a week. She professes to being an average player. She also rides a stationary bike 10 miles every day to keep in shape; has for 20 years.

Each day, she eats nine golden raisins soaked in gin. What kind of gin? I asked. “It doesn’t have to be expensive,” she said. “just any old kind. I go to the liquor store and tell the girl to find a cheap one for me.”

Mrs. Swenson admits to being a “social drinker”. She used to drive to the liquor store, but gave up driving a year ago, even though her license has another two years to go, because her eye-sight was deteriorating. Otherwise, her health is great. She takes a vitamin pill each day and on Oct. 1, she moved to an assisted living community. She’s still pretty independent.

You see, Anna Mae Swenson, like the rest of us, is getting older. In fact, she’ll be 100 years old Monday (November 3rd, 2008). She’ll be 100, but her mind probably works a lot faster than does yours or mine.

I wished her a Happy Birthday and a hope that she’ll have many more. “I don’t know about that”, she answered. “I’m getting up there.” Mrs. Swenson used to be a frequent visitor to Key West to visit her sister and brother-in-law at 1300 Johnston St. Her sister’s daughter, that’s her niece, Fran Marchbank, put me on to calling her. It was a call worth the time and effort.
The things she has seen - and done.

On the morning she was born, Nov. 3, 1908, Teddy Roosevelt was the president. Before the day was over, election day, William Howard Taft had been selected to take his place.

She lived through World War I, the flu outbreak that cost many lives and the stock market crash of 1929.

With a growing interest in finances, she joined the Poughkeepsie Trust Co. in 1928 and stayed there, through thick and thin, for 46 years.

In her early years, she married Jake Dubois and they had a daughter, Ann Marie. But, within a few years, both husband and daughter were dead. In the late 1940’s, she married again, to Ken Swenson, who died some 40 years ago.

Through it all, Fran Marchbank told me, Mrs. Swenson kept one motto, one attitude:

“When life is tough, don’t look back.
Keep going forward.”

Not bad advice to follow.
Happy Birthday Anna Mae Swenson. May you have many more.

Sports Editor Ralph Morrow’s Armchair Comment appears exclusively each Sunday in The Citizen. He can be reached at 305-292-7777, Ext. 264, at and by Fax at 305-295-8016.


Cheryl @ Mandala Oasis said...

Dear Museologist,
You always have such jewels to share with us. Wow! 100 years old! How marvelous... what a panarama of life she's seen. I'd say her life is "fizzin'" just fine - and thank you for adding some fizz to mine - as you always do. I appreciate your presence in my life.. and online!

sending you much love, hugs...and chuckles... love, Cheryl

Anonymous said...

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