Miss Maxine centenarian deluxe

Optimism, traveling and dancing are her secrets to longevity

Photo by Rusty Strait/The Valley Chronicle
Maxine Schneider, at 100.

■ By Rusty Strait / Senior Reporter

They call her “Miss Maxine” at Citrus Court Assisted Living in Hemet, where she has resided for several years. She has the smile of an angel and a wit as sharp as a razor blade. Nothing gets past her. I had questions and she had quick responses, often with a mischievous twinkle in her light blue eyes. Her hair is as white as a puff of clouds drifting through a summer sky and as soft as cotton candy.
Born in Omaha, Nebraska on Aug. 16, 1917, she quickly reminded me not to consider her family as farmers.
“My daddy was a salesman and my mother took care of the home and me,” she said. “I was an only child.”
She admits she may have been spoiled a bit, but “not too much.”
Married at a young age, she gave birth to any only child, a daughter who also resides in Hemet.
“My daughter is married but she doesn’t have any children of her own.”
She says it would be nice to have grandchildren, “but you know, a lot of folks living here have them, and they are all nice to me. I have nothing to complain about, except I think the world has gone mad. Nothing like it when I was younger.”
In her early life and even after marriage, she loved to go to parties and dances.
“That was great fun when the music was so lovely,” she recalled.
At one time she had a job as secretary and file clerk at Douglas Aircraft Company. “I worked there for several years and liked it. I had some other jobs, but I preferred being home with my husband. He’s been gone now for 10 years and if I had one wish in this world, I would wish to be with him again and that we could live our lives out together. I miss him alot and all the things we did together.”
She was not a “stay-at-home” during her marriage. “Oh, we traveled everywhere. I love to travel and so did he. We went all over the United States and parts of Europe. I’d love to do it all over again, but not alone. I’d like to be with him. We had so much fun.”
Occasionally, she says, her daughter visits her. Not as often as she’d like, but she explains, “She has her own life and lots of things to do. I understand. I’d like to see her more often. I love her and she loves me. That’s really all that matters, isn’t it?”
She says that when folks get older they don’t have as much in common with their children, and that’s OK. Maxine is optimistic about life.
“We ought to pay more attention to the young folks. They need our wisdom, because they are our future. I don’t envy them. They have a mess on their plate. But, I guess we say that about every generation, and yet we seem to survive.
Miss Maxine was queen for a day. She reminds me a lot of my grandmother, with that kind of common sense you don’t get from books. I salute you, Miss Maxine and I hope you live on to celebrate many more birthdays as you blow out the 100 candles that record a lifetime of happiness and good old fashioned living.

Just sayin’.
rustystrait@gmail.com

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