At her 100th birthday celebration on Monday at the Windemere Assisted Living facility, Charleane Corrigan said she has a lot to be thankful for.
“I’m amazed; I can’t imagine I’m 100 years old,” Charleane said as she took some time to reflect on her big day. “I feel that I should look and feel different. I feel young.”
Dozens of friends, family, and nursing staff joined Charleane in Windemere’s Wildflower Court to celebrate her centennial. The room was filled with flowers, balloons, and of course an oversized birthday cake. Local guitar player Gary Cogley provided the music.
With four grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren, Charleane said she would describe her life as interesting and good.
From the age of four, Charleane was raised by her grandparents in Waynesville, North Carolina, before joining her father in New York at the age of 14.
Charlene worked as a receptionist in a doctor’s office before she began working for the international humanitarian agency CARE where she spent 17 years working in their personnel department.
“I loved working for CARE,” Charleane said. “I felt like I was doing a lot of good work. And I loved living in New York.”
At 23, Charleane married her husband, a local baseball player.
“He would walk by the museum and he saw me in there and he liked me, so he had a friend that he knew introduce us,” she said. “And we started going out.”
The couple would take long walks around the city, and go to the movies. “My husband was Irish, meat and potatoes,” Charleane said. “So I loved having company so I could make other things. Especially, wet coconut cake. That was my favorite.”
Today, Charleane said she spends her days reading mystery novels, watching classic films, and walking, at least one mile a day when she’s up for it, in addition to getting regular visits from her daughter, Judith Cunniffe of Oak Bluffs.
And Charleane’s secret to a long and healthy life? One word. Coffee.
“I drink at least six cups a day,” Charleane said. “I think it’s good for you. I don’t put sugar in it, I just have milk. I love coffee.”