Not everyone gets to live through a world war, the moon landing, John F. Kennedy’s assassination, and the creation of the internet. But Helen Whitehurst can say she’s been through all of that in her life time.
The Los Osos woman celebrated her 100th birthday on Friday.
“I feel good,” she said.
Whitehurst was born in Lexington, Alabama in 1918 and moved to Texas at the age of 18. Soon after, she became a military wife.
“I’ve been all over. My first husband was an Air Force man.”
The birthday girl drives herself to the Los Osos Community Center each week, where she enjoys free lunches provided by Meals That Connect. The nonprofit organization serves seniors in San Luis Obispo County and threw Whitehurst her birthday party.
“It’s a way to stay connected with people,” said org volunteer Tina Radovich. “They show that social interaction and connection creates a lot of happiness and reduces loneliness.”
It’s a great program for Whitehurst, whose family lives out of town.
Her granddaughter visited from Southern California for the big celebration, though.
“When I was little, about seven years old, she actually did buy me that pony that every little girl wants,” Trisha Fuentez recalled. “And she named a street after me, Trisha Lane, which is in Arizona.”
Fuentez said her grandmother’s secret to longevity is living a clean life.
“I’ve never seen her drink alcohol, I’ve never seen her smoke.”
But the Alabama native attributes her long years to a positive attitude.
“I think I always lived a good life and I treated people well. I didn’t have any hate for anyone.”
Friends at Meals That Connect said saying active has also helped.
“I asked her, ‘What’s your secret to keep on going?'” Norma Alexander shared. ” She said well, ‘I clean my house by myself, I do my yard, I stay active, and I have a parrot. I talk to her.'”
“She’s still driving, if you can believe that!” Fuentez added.
The 100 year-old birthday girl also met her great great grandson for the first time ever during the celebration on Friday.