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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

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100-year-old says what’s on her mind

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Rose Wexler

TORONTO — At 100 years old, Rose Wexler says she’s in good shape.

“Really, the only thing that is failing is my hearing, and half the time I don’t want to hear what people have to say anyway,” she said in an interview at her Don Mills condominium, where she lives with her caregiver.

She still likes to cook, she said, “but since I pay for the [caregiver], she should do the work. I taught her to make chicken soup, fricassee and roast chicken.”

Born in Toronto on Jan. 3, 1913, Wexler, has two children, five grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren. “I don’t like to brag about what they do. It’s how they turned out that count, and they all turned out well. They come to visit me often.”

She told a joke about three Jewish mothers bragging about their children.

“One woman said her son is an [accountant], one said her son is a lawyer and another said that her four-year-old will become a doctor.”

But seriously, she said, “education is important. It leads you to the right place.”

Wexler said music has always played a big part in her life.

“I play the piano, and I taught it for years. I was a strict teacher. If I didn’t like the way a student talked to me, they were finished. I was popular, though, and had a waiting list. I still hear from some of my students. Now, I’m teaching my great-grandchild to play,” she said.

“Music is important. It has kept me busy and kept me going. I sang for the Holy Blossom [Temple] choir for 30 years, and we even went to Israel to sing.”

She said she likes to stay occupied.

“Keeping busy is what keeps people young. I never sit around and do nothing. I’m up at 8 a.m. every day and in the shower. By 9 a.m., I’m ready to start my day. I read the paper or go to the library downstairs and get a book.”

Even when she wintered in Florida, she did volunteer work, she said. “I couldn’t just sit at the beach. I made a lot of friends that way.”

She has lived in her building for 32 years, she said, and she has neighbours who check on her and offer to shop. “I don’t like to impose on anyone, though.”

Wexler said she waits for her family to call her, rather than calling them.

“I don’t know when they’re busy, and I have nothing to say that can’t wait. I try to be independent, and I always say what’s on my mind.”

Being 100 doesn’t mean that much to her, she said. “I’m just glad I liked what I did, and I didn’t waste my time. I’m grateful for everything, and thank God for what I have.”

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