Philly's oldest residents share secrets to living long, happy lives

Philadelphia honored its residents who are at least 100 years old by throwing them a party at Sugar House Casino.

Justin Udo
May 17, 2018 - 3:46 pm
centenarian celebration

Justin Udo | KYW Newsradio

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) -- Philadelphia honored its residents who are at least 100 years old by throwing them a party at Sugar House Casino.

At 105 years old, Dr. Eli Zebooker was the oldest man at Thursday's celebration. He has a simple philosophy to living a long life.

"Keep breathing," he said. "If you stop breathing, your dead."

Others have more complex rituals...

"My old cure is blackberry brandy."

"I think you have to do what you want to do, and not what they tell you to do."

"Mind your own business, stay out of other people's business, and you'll live a long time."

But many of the centenarians at the event agreed there is one main thing that has kept them alive and happy for so long....work.

"I had to go to work at an early age," said 102-year-old Irene Calerwood, "and I worked hard all my life."

And for most of her life, Calerwood worked as a financial book keeper.

"Until I was 95," she said. "I enjoyed numbers. I enjoyed them from the time I was 10 years old."

Alice Perlmutter worked most of her adult life as a dress designer, and at and 100 years old, she's still working.

"Now I'm buying old buildings that they are trying to throw down and turning them into apartment houses," Perlmutter said. "They're magnificent mansions."

These centenarians join more than 500 other hardworking Philadelphians who are over the age of 100.