BETHLEHEM — Last Friday marked the 105th birthday of Alice Baker, who resides at Atria Senior Living in Delmar. A London native, the birthday girl sat down with us to discuss the last century of her life and share her secrets for making it this far (here’s a hint: it involves a hot beverage and a fiery attitude).
Baker marvels at how old age runs in her family, saying “My father, he lived to 92. I also had twin brothers and one of them lived to 91. He didn’t smoke, but his twin brother died at 54 – smoked like a chimney.”
She recalls when she tired her first cigarette at only 17, and her immediate abhorrence for the act, and remembered having a similar experience with alcohol. “That’s one thing I know, to stay off the booze. Like everybody else I tried it, and I thought ‘oh how can people drink this stuff, get me a cup of tea!’” Still an avid tea-drinker to this day, perhaps the avoidance of such common vices have helped her get this far.
But diet and activity aren’t the only contributing factors to her longevity; she’s a self-proclaimed fighter as well. “Nobody’s ever gotten the better of me. Well one girl and seven brothers, you want to tell me I didn’t have to fight at some point?” Baker mused, as she remembers her family, and her mother in particular: “She was the boss. That’s where I get a lot of my fight from. Well we were two feminines I should say against 8 men – we won.”
Over the last 105 years, Baker has lived quite the life, with her first job starting at only 14 years old (in a field we might have a certain partiality for). “I never remember having a single job, there were always two jobs. I was at work at 14, I worked for the Daily Express newspaper. And that was the second biggest newspaper in London, because we had no radio in those days.” Baker also recalled the newest technology of the time, “That was very interesting. First of all I had to take messages and all that. I remember typewriters coming in you see.”
Still a spry young thing after all these years, Baker has quite a few left in her, as she jokes “Somehow I knew I was going to live to be old, I was getting too much out of life. I’m not ready to die now, I don’t think He’s ready to take me on.”