Look how good 100 looks

Allison B. Hudson
Rose Torres at 100 years old.

At age 100, Donaldsonville resident, Rose Torres has seen many changes in her lifetime. Unlike the year of 1908 when Torres was born, today we drive and fly everywhere, we talk on cell phones, and chat over the Internet, but back in 1908, life was a lot slower.

When Torres was born the average life expectancy was 47 years. Only 14 percent of homes had a bathtub, and only eight percent of homes had a telephone. According to statistics from the World Encyclopedia, there were only 8,000 cars and only 144 miles of paved roads in the United States. The maximum speed limit in most cities was 10 miles per hour. More than 95 percent of all births took place at home, and the average wage in 1908 was 22 cents per hour.

Now, a hundred years later, the United States life expectancy rate is 78.1 years for babies born in 2006. Almost all roads are paved, and every home has a bathtub, and over 80 percent of homes have telephones. The maximum speed limit for almost every city is 70 miles per hour, and for the first time in Torres' life, an African American man is running for President.

Torres back then known as Rose Keller was born in Edgard, and a product of Edgard School System, later met her match and married her husband and the couple moved to Belle Terre, then moved on to White Castle, and eventually ended up in Donaldsonville in 1956. Torres worked at Lemann's Department store for over 25 years as a seamstress in the women's department. She did both women and men alterations until the store changed owners. She then began working out of her home up until about ten years ago, when her eyesight fell less than perfect. Other than her eyesight, Torres is in better health than most people a lot younger. Today, Torres only takes one pill for pressure, aside from vitamins, and has a tremendous memory.

Torres is the only one still living from her family. She had three brothers and one sister. Torres has three children: Faye, Judy, and Brenda, who is deceased. She has three grandchildren, five great-grandchildren, and one great-great grandchild. All reside amongst Baton Rouge, Belle Rose, and Mississippi.

"My mother might be old, but she may be in better health than me," laughed Judy, her second oldest daughter.

Although Torres might be old in age, she is still young at heart, and up until about a year and a half ago, Torres lived alone in her home in Donaldsonville. Her daughter Judy thought it would be best to change that and watch over her.

"My eyesight began to get bad, and I couldn't do a lot of things by myself anymore, so my daughter came to help out," said Rose.

Reminiscent through the years, Torres and her daughter Judy laughed about all the good times that her 100-year-old mother encountered in the past. One encounter was a surprise birthday party planned for Torres last year at 99-years-old celebrated in Covington, halfway mark between all of her family.

"I began to look around and recognize everyone's face and I realized they were there for me," Torres said.

Rose Torres celebrated a 100 years young on October 1,2008. Her family and friends celebrated with her at a party held at Ascension Catholic Church Hall, on October 4. Torres and her daughter Judy would like to thank all who made her birthday just that special to attend.

"I had a real good time," smiled Torres.

Special thanks to Mary and Alvin McLeod and Casey McLeod, and thanks also goes to Collette Thibodeaux, Christy McLeod, Tracy and Mary Copelen, Faye Downey, and everyone else who came out.