If Hester was born in 1905, she is the sixth oldest person in the world; if she was born in 1904, then she is the third oldest person in the world, behind 116-year-old Lucile Randon and 117-year-old Kane Tanaka, from Japan.
But wherever Hester ranks in the Supercentenarians Super League (not an actual league, in case that wasn’t clear), the important thing is that she got to celebrate yet another birthday with friends, family and members of the community driving by her house in Charlotte, North Carolina, honking and waving to mark the occasion.
Ordinarily, Hester’s birthday draws a big crowd, with the family cooking food outside the house, but clearly in the age of Covid-19 a drive-by birthday bash was a better idea.
But if you’re hoping Hester might share a few tips for a long and healthy life then you’ve got another thing coming.
Asked by the Charlotte Observer what the secret was to her old age, she replied: “I don’t know.”
Pushed for a little bit of elaboration from one of her many granddaughters, she added: “I just live right, all I know.”
By the way, when I said she had many granddaughters, that was a bit of an understatement.
Hester got married to John Ford when she was 14 (it was a different time) and gave birth to the first of their 12 children when she was 15.
John died in 1963, when he was less than half of Hester’s current age, but their children have added 68 grandchildren, 125 great-grandchildren, and at least 120 great-great-grandchildren to the family, according to the Charlotte Observer.
Why there isn’t an exact figure on great-great-grandchildren is not clear. Perhaps nobody can be ars*d counting precisely once you’ve passed the 100 mark – hence we don’t know her exact age either.
Speaking at her birthday do granddaughter Mary Hill, an ordained minister, said: “We just thank God for just keeping her here for us, because it gives us hope.
“We would never want her to be here if she was sick. We want her to have a great quality of life in her elder years. We don’t want her to be sick or anything, and trying to hold on.
“We’re just a blessed family.”
Credit: Charlotte Observer
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