BEEN THERE, DONE THAT: At 100 years old, Ivers shares secrets to a long, happy life

Name:  Eleanor Ivers

Age: Turned 100 on May 4

Place of birth: Boston

Eleanor Ivers celebrating her 100th birthday on May 4. COURTESY PHOTO

What is your fondest childhood memory? My home was always filled with music. We all played; piano, saxophone, clarinet. So many musicians would come to my house to rehearse together. I also loved my dance classes — tap, ballet and acrobatics.

How long have you lived in Marblehead? 40 years.My dad was a union carpenter and he built our home in East Boston where the race track is now. Later my husband and I moved to New York City for many years. That was extraordinary. Later, to Boston and Brookline and Rockport. I have loved living in Marblehead.

What jobs have you had and what was your favorite? I had a wonderful position as a secretary at Rockefeller Center in New York City. After my children grew up, I returned to Salem State College for my bachelor’s degree. I taught at a Montessori school in Gloucester. It was so rewarding to teach a child to read.

What is the biggest change you’ve seen in the world? The cell phone and the number of cars! Life is going so fast, but the goodness and kindness in people hasn’t changed.

What is your biggest accomplishment? My two children, four grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren!

Who is the most famous person you’ve met? John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline. He was charismatic and strong. Jackie had such grace and courage. We stood with a crowd of people outside Children’s Hospital when JFK came by with his motorcade to visit his newborn son, who didn’t survive. We felt it was important to be there in person to show support for the president and his family in that crisis time.

What moment in history is most vivid in your memory?  World War II, of course, but recently the Boston Marathon bombing. My granddaughter had just finished and I was there with seven family members at the finish line.

What piece of advice do you have for young people today? Go for the things that make you most happy. Try new things. When you have children, treat them as special gifts, because they are.

What’s your secret to living a long life? It was very important to my mother and father that we ate strong, healthy food. My father was born in Genoa, Italy, and so our diet was Mediterranean with lots of farm-fresh vegetables. As an adult, I swam every day (a quarter-mile), played lots of tennis and walked everywhere.

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Leigh Blander is an experienced TV, radio and print journalist who has written hundreds of stories for local newspapers, including the Marblehead Reporter. She also works as a PR specialist.

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