January 20, 2018

Meet Lucy Bolognese: 100 Years Young!

Born in Brooklyn, New York in 1917, and hailing from a large family of eleven children, this vibrant centenarian and Concord resident shared some of her favorite memories with the sagacity that only comes with a life well-lived: 

Lucy: Growing up in Brooklyn in the early part of the century, we lived in a primarily Italian and Spanish neighborhood.

In those days, everyone got along. Neighbors sat together on their stoops and people greeted one another on the streets. I loved sitting on the stoop with all the younger kids gathered together as I read them stories and helped them with their lessons. The little kids would come to my door looking for me to come out – and they would be upset if I wasn’t home to tell them stories.

At the age of 17 or 18, I worked for the school at the Principal’s office. I was paid $10 a week – quite a lot of money at the time!

When asked about her husband who passed away many years ago, Lucy lights up recalling how they were introduced:

Lucy: He worked with my brother who thought he would be a good match for one of my sisters. And this sister thought he was a good match for her … but he picked me!

We got engaged but then the War broke out. He wanted to get married right away but I decided to wait because of the war. It was hard to be apart, and since we weren’t married all notifications from abroad were sent to his mother so I had to get all my correspondence through my future mother-in-law… Luckily, he served mainly in safe areas and spent much of his time stateside.

When the War was over we got married at St. Mary’s Star of the Sea Church in Brooklyn, which is still around. I wore a white dress that my mother-in-law had made for me. I was in my late twenties when we got married – older than many of the girls in those days.

Lucy is the proud mother of a son, Peter, one granddaughter, two grandsons, and five great grandchildren. It is very moving to see Lucy’s wedding picture lovingly placed in her room to this day. As to what keeps her young:

Lucy: I really never thought I’d live this long, I was scrawny and never a good eater. But I have always kept busy reading, listening to music, dancing and socializing. I did a lot of walking living in the city and loved jumping rope.

Known among Concord residents and staff as a music lover, Lucy’s eyes twinkle at the mention of music:

Lucy: My all-time favorite singer is Connie Francis, I especially love the song “All of Me”.

When asked what her favorite hobby is, Lucy is quick with the answer:

Lucy: Talking! I always liked having friends and had many no matter where I lived. I enjoyed going into Manhattan with my girlfriends for fun outings. I also liked having people over, entertaining and cooking even just for relatives or in-laws. My specialties were chicken cacciatore and steak a pizzaiola. I still love spending time with people!

As for her secret to longevity, this is Lucy at her best:

Lucy: Don’t ever think you are better than anyone else. Never in 100 years have I ever said I hated someone, I never looked at someone and said ‘I don’t like you’. Listen, I’m not perfect, it’s not like I never did anything wrong, but you just don’t hurt other people with hateful words. If you know someone doesn’t care for you, is mad at you, or maybe you don’t get along with them just keep your mouth shut and stay away. No matter what our differences might be, all nationalities, all colors – we are all human.

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