The next time your birthday rolls around and you start bemoaning your age, think about Mary Allen. Mary was born in 1906—which makes her 105 years old—and she’s still enjoying life. She’s not alone either, an estimated 70,000 centenarians are currently living in the US.
Washington-based portrait photographer Eli Meir Kaplan had the pleasure of spending the day with Mary Allen as well as with fellow centenarian Vincent Lindyberg. AARP hired Eli to take Mary and Vincent’s portraits for a Bulletin story featuring a luncheon honoring Maryland Centenarians.
Eli enjoyed the experience and had a lot to say about these peppy centenarians:
When I called Vince Lindyburg, 100, and Mary Allen, 105, I was completely stunned by how cognizant they were. Meeting Vince and Mary was both an honor and a strange experience because they were old in a way I hadn’t encountered before. It was odd to see Vince at his retirement community because he seemed to be the only person who was still completely independent even though almost everybody there was younger than him. I was also surprised by how he still pushes himself—he uses email and was reading the Koran.
I got a kick out of how protective Mary was about her image. She only wanted to be photographed from one angle and gave strict art direction. There’s a photo of me removing pillows from behind her at her request, which was a good call. She would also only sit on her couch for a photo if a pillow was put under the cushion so it wouldn’t sag.– Eli Meir Kaplan
With centenarians one of the fastest growing demographics, we’ll soon be seeing a lot more of people like Mary and Vincent. Vincent, who still lives with his wife of 73 years, doesn’t have a miracle recipe for living to 100, but did have a suggestion for AARP:
when you’re retired, get yourself another job and work until you’re over 90 because then you don’t have time to die. Don’t give death a chance to take care of you.”– Vincent Lindyburg
Who knows, maybe you’ll be blowing out 100 candles one day.