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Celebration of five centenarians, all “young at heart”

According to Ellen Gordon, director of resident life at Kaplan, it was the biggest celebration of 100-year-old residents to date in the assisted living community run by the non-profit Chelsea Jewish Lifecare. She said the five people, who participate in daily recreational and social activities, are proof that the aging process can be a process of grace, dignity and humor.

“Each of them has something to teach us,” she said. “They are wonderful.”

At the party, guests of honor were seated at a circular table in the center of the room, surrounded by around 35 of their fellow citizens and staff. Each winner wore a special pin and either a tiara or a bow tie because, as Gordon said, “You are always ladies and gentlemen. “

Left to right: Thelma Taylor, 100, Marty Lawson, 101, and Leon Ditchek, 101. They are all members of the Century Club.
Suzanne Kreiter / Globe Staff

As guests enjoyed appetizers and a birthday cake, Gordon paid tribute to each winner: Taylor for her social commitment and daily exercise; Lawson for appreciating each generation, including the children he volunteered with at the on-site preschool before the pandemic; Ditchek for keeping up to date with the news while retaining his signature sense of humor; Morocco for giving back through volunteering; and Regis to live on his own terms.

Gordon then toasted champagne and sparkling apple cider. As the room filled with neighbors, friends and caregivers raised their glasses, she said, “God bless you and let all of us in this room take lessons from five of them on how to live well our life. life. Yours!”

Between kudos from his supporters, Ditchek said he was as surprised as anyone when he turned 101 on February 28. A native of New York and a World War II veteran, he moved to Kaplan Estates several years ago to be closer to his family in Ipswich.

“I lived on my own and didn’t eat very well,” said Ditchek, who enthusiastically maintained his habit of watching CNN in the assisted living facility. “All the food here is very good.”

In fact, Ditchek has said he’s especially happy to celebrate alongside Lawson, with whom he eats all three meals.

“Marty is a good man,” said Ditchek. “I am honored to be by his side.

“And I’m honored to be here with him,” said Lawson, a retired businessman who turned 101 on Nov. 9. “I never dreamed that I would be 100 years old. I thought 75 would be my limit. I think it’s very appropriate to draw attention to people who have turned 100 and over. ‘appreciate.

Taylor, who turned 100 on March 10, worked in retail and office administration until the age of 85. At Kaplan Estates, she enjoys all daily activities including arts and crafts, current events, and exercise classes.

“I’m lucky. It’s nice to be around people and keep busy, especially at this age,” she said.

“It’s wonderful to come together and see so many of us still active,” added Morrocco, a retired accountant and avid ballroom dancer turned card shark who celebrated her 101st birthday on August 10. The year before, her friends from the Peabody Senior Center, where she volunteered for nearly 30 years, arrived in a van adorned with a photo of Morocco to celebrate with her at Kaplan Estates.

Asked about her secret to longevity, the Moroccan replied: “Good Italian genes!

“You can either do something or sit down. I’d rather have a homework assignment, ”she added, joking that a kid 100“ sounded like 1000. And now I’m so old. Older, in fact!

Marblehead pianist Bill Sokolow closed the party with a performance of “Young at Heart,” after which he drew laughs and cheers for congratulating Regis on passing his age in the lyrics to the song “What if you had to survive until 105 / Look at all you ‘I’ll shoot from being alive.

“You beat the song by two years!” He said to a smiling Regis.

As the winners accepted balloons and plants to take back to their apartments, Morocco took one last look around.

“The party was amazing,” she said. “I am very grateful that I had this time to take advantage of it.”

Cindy Cantrell can be reached at [email protected].

Thelma Tayor, 100, tasted sparkling cider during the party.
Thelma Tayor, 100, tasted sparkling cider during the party. Suzanne Kreiter / Globe Staff
Kay Morrocco, 101, helps Rose Regis, 107, with her badge.  While there are differing opinions on why Century Club members live such long and independent lives, there is general agreement that they are proof that the aging process can be a process of aging. dignity, joy and humor.
Kay Morrocco, 101, helps Rose Regis, 107, with her badge. While there are differing opinions on why Century Club members live such long and independent lives, there is general agreement that they are proof that the aging process can be a process of aging. dignity, joy and humor.

Suzanne Kreiter / Globe Staff


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Rodney N.

The author Rodney N.