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LITTLE MISS ANNA White, shown seated, recently celebrated her 108th birthday. White, a resident on the Skilled Nursing Unit at Catskill Regional Medical Center, is the oldest resident of Sullivan County. White is shown with Danuta Dukieski, rear, a C.N.A. who works on the unit, as well as Alexis Kahn, who is the director of recreation for the unit.

Anna White celebrates 108

By Dan Hust
HARRIS — March 14, 2008 —Anna White recently celebrated her 108th birthday in the Skilled Nursing Unit at CRMC. She was born on March 13, 1900 and is the oldest person in Sullivan County.
Her childhood memories comfort her. She remembers the house that her Grandpa built. She wore “beautiful dresses” made by her mother and her Aunt Lucy. “I liked to dress up; my favorite dresses were blue and pink.”
She wore a blue dress when she tap danced for Teddy Roosevelt. “Yes, he was the president of the United States. My Aunt Lucy was his wife’s seamstress; she put a new dress on me and took me with her when she delivered the dresses,” she related.
“I remember he was really tall, he had a nice attitude and he spoke nicely,” Anna went on. “He said, ‘Come here, you pretty little thing.’ He put me up on a table and I danced for him. I don’t know how old I was, I was little. I’m little now; I always wished I was tall like you.”
She added, “We lived in Princeton, New Jersey, that’s where I was born. We lived in a house my Grandpa built. He was a minister, I know a lot about the Bible. Our house had five bedrooms and two baths, my grandparents had ten children. Grandpa built a barn out back; we had four or five pigs. We had chickens, we ate a lot of chicken and there was a duck pond. We had an apple tree and a pear tree in the yard, we made pies.”
Anna said, “It seems like you can always learn something. My aunt taught me to read. My grandmother taught me to sew. That Singer sewing machine sang. She made everything from underwear out. I’d sew dresses they cut out. I learned how to quilt.”
She learned to cook from her grandparents: “[Grandpa] liked to cook; if he was home he was in the kitchen. He was a minister and Grandma was a nurse at the hospital. Sometimes he’d cook fried chicken in a big iron frying pan. I liked the wings and I loved sweet potatoes baked in the oven. Grandma taught me to bake bread, vanilla layer cakes and pies. There was a lot of eating in that house. My Grandma was always cooking, to me it is good. Cooking keeps everybody together.”
Later on in life, she said, “I had my own beauty parlor in New York City; I can’t remember what I called it. My aunt could take care of hair, I learned from her. She taught me how to press hair. Later, I went to classes; they taught you how to shampoo and everything.”
Anna can’t remember how she ended up in the Skilled Nursing Unit. She likes the staff, especially Danuta Dukieski, C.N.A. “She is good inside and out, she gives me Tootsie Rolls.”
Danuta has known Anna for several years and said, “She used to remember more, the beauty parlor was ‘Little Anna’s’ in the Bronx.”
Anna smiled happily as Danuta adjusted her white cap for photos. At 108, Little Anna still likes to dress up.

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