Betmar Resident Turns 103

Submitted by Rita Jones

When Anne Napoli wakes up each day, she looks forward to the day ahead and plans on making the very best of it.  Anne turns 103 years old on Monday, October 8, 2018, and she will have lots to celebrate.  Her health is very good, she takes no medications, she doesn’t wear glasses, her mind is sharp and she plays bridge every Tuesday with her friends.
Anne grew up in Lexington, Massachusetts, along with her older sister, Harriett.  Anne’s parents emigrated from Amsterdam, Holland, to the U.S. where they met, fell in love and were married.  Her parents provided Anne and her sister with a nurturing and supportive home.
After high school, Anne went to work at Liggett’s Drug Store in Lexington.  She worked at the cigar, cigarette and tobacco counter and filled in occasionally at the soda fountain which is where she met her husband, Joseph Napoli.  He stopped by one evening for a ham and cheese sandwich and Anne prepared it for him.  He came back the next evening for another ham and cheese sandwich and the rest is history.  They were married for 62 years.  In addition to working at the drug store, Anne later worked as a secretary in the Chemical Engineering Department of Polaroid in Waltham, Massachusetts.
When asked what she thought was responsible for her long life, she smiled and jokingly said “gin and chocolate.”  She admitted that even though she no longer drinks, she once had a fondness for martinis.  Anne smoked for 30+ years but quit when she was about 50 years old.  She eats well and never eats between meals.  In addition, she used to love to walk although she now uses a walker for support. She also felt her happy childhood and healthy, supportive parents contributed to her long life.  And lastly, Anne is well cared for and loved by her daughters, Barbara Winslow and Jo-Ann McDermott, who both live in Betmar Acres.
As for the most important invention in her lifetime, Anne’s response was the radio.  She described it as the most amazing big box with dials that brought the music from the airwaves outside into her home. She told the story of the how she and her husband, Joseph, invited other families to their home on Monday nights to listen to the Lux Radio Theater.  Anne would make cookies or brownies, friends and neighbors would bring treats and they would all share food and listen to the hour-long show.  Anne also mentioned that the radio did not carry all the commercials that it does today.
Anne shared a few favorite memories as a child growing up in Lexington.  She remembers the man who brought ice to the family home as there were no refrigerators at that time.  In the winter, the “ice man” showed up with his horse pulling a wagon on runners to drop off the ice.  He would let all the children in the neighborhood tie their sleds to his wagon and he would tow them for a portion of his route. Anne remembers when ice cream cones cost five cents, gas was ten cents a gallon, postage stamps were three cents each, the daily newspaper cost two cents and the Sunday paper cost a nickel.
Anne moved to Betmar Acres from Waterville, Maine, in 2002.  When asked about what she likes best about living in Betmar, Anne replied with a smile and said, “I like the people.  There are many, very caring people who live in Betmar.  They are friends.  They are not just neighbors.  They are friends.”  And when asked about her bridge-playing friends, she replied, “Bridge people are special.”  That’s all she said, but her smile and the sparkle in her eyes said it all.

 

The Bridge Players (From L to R) are Ann Bender, Marcia Hares, Bob Mauger and Anne Napoli

 

Anne with daughter, Barbara Winslow

 

Celebrating her birthday early with a gift from her bridge-playing friends