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Opining of a Cranky Old Man
Columnist Happy Today as Grandmother Celebrates 105
Tomorrow - 105 Must be New 90!
Marianne Linari remains vibrant and continues to
enjoy the influx of family and friends; has 38 great-great
grandchildren, great grandchildren and grandchildren
By Bill Kalmar, Retiree
Bill Kalmar with
105-year-old grandmother, Marianne Linari
May 21, 2009 - On May 22, my grandmother, Marianne
Linari will be 105! Yes, you read that correctly – 105! Mrs. Linari
resides in Eastpointe, Michigan with her 89-year-old sister Anne.
Nonnie (as her 10 grandchildren – 15 great grandchildren – and 13
great-great grandchildren call her) was born in Italy and spent most of
her life in Mulberry, Kansas – a town located in the southeast portion
of the state on the Missouri border.
To this day she remains vibrant
and continues to enjoy the influx of family and friends who stop by her
apartment on a regular basis.
Here’s a brief synopsis of her life:
● John, her husband was the mayor of Mulberry
for many years and owned a feed store in the downtown area. During
summer vacation while I was in grade school, you could always find me
there loading bags of feed into a truck. Prior to his owning a feed
store John worked in the mines in Kansas. My grandfather has since
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● Marianne’s two children, Josephine (my Mom) and
Sergio, have also passed away. Now here is something eerie: John
Linari (my grandfather was born on May 8 and died on May 8. His
gravestone sometimes confuses people in our family who are unaware of
My Mom was born on May 8 and died on May 9 perhaps
not wanting to duplicate her Dad’s route to the afterlife. And of the
eleven grandchildren we have, one was born on May 8 while another was
born on May 22. Must be something about the month of May in our family!
● Within the last year, Mrs. Linari’s landlord
asked her to sign a one year lease on her apartment which she shares
with her sister, Anne. Does the landlord somehow think that Marianne
will renege on her rent and escape into the night! Where does a 104
lady run to!
● Marianne remains healthy with periodic fluid
on her lungs but her spirits are high. Frequent visits from family seem
to buoy her and she remains the matriarch of the family.
Several years ago as she was approaching 100 years
of age, she had a bone density test. The results disclosed that she had
the bones of a 90 year old. Now for most of us hearing that it would be
disconcerting. But when you are almost a centenarian it is encouraging
● We have notified Willard Scott of The Today
Show of Marianne’s impending 105th birthday and he will
recognize her on Thursday, May 21 (the day before her birthday) when he
presents the Smucker’s Centenarian review.
● Nonnie still talks fondly of her years in
Mulberry. And those of us who visited her and Nona John also have vivid
remembrances of our times in their home.
She always made the best peach pies and the most
delicious homemade ice cream, which was enjoyed in early evening as we
sat around the yard smudge pot to ward off mosquitoes. And for those of
us northerners here in Michigan, we were always “good eating” for all
● So it’s a rare family and a delighted family
that has had the enjoyment of a woman who still mesmerizes us with her
stories of her Italian birthplace and of course stories of Mulberry. We
plan to celebrate this latest remarkable event with her and look for
Nonnie with the whole Kalmar family
L Bill Kalmar is retired in Lake Orion, Michigan,
and is the former Director of the Michigan Quality Council. He is a
frequent contributor to SeniorJournal.com. His opinions are his own.
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