300 years of birthdays celebrated at Oak Brook village

January 7, 2009 3:44:25 PM PST
A happy birthday to Carolyn Jackson, who turned 100 years old-- and two of her friends, who aren't far behind.Jackson lives at Mayslake Village in Oak Brook, where 550 seniors care for themselves. It's a Franciscan Fathers Community of friends where they celebrate milestones together, including Jackson's 100th birthday.

"Today is the big day. I'm a hundred from here up. From here up, I'm young. I'm a young woman. From here down I'm a hundred years old," laughed Jackson.

Jackson, a mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, has had a full life. She's an artist and fashion designer who still thinks young.

"My mind is active. I try to learn something every day," said Jackson.

There are 80,000 centenarians in America. Two others at Mayslake will soon turn 100. Lynn West, who still drives, has a May birthday. Mary Coughlin's isn't long after.

"The average age of our residents is between 85 and 87. We're about five years above the national average for the ageing population," said Fr. Larry Dreffein, OFM, president, Mayslake Village. "I think for the energy they give to each other."

The seniors exercise, read and watch TV.

"I like to switch the channels around because I think I learn a little bit from each one," said Jackson. But where does she learn the most?

"Channel 7," laughs Jackson.

Three hundred years of birthdays! And many more?