Rose Baisley

A people person: 100-year-old Rose Baisley from Garnerville

Photograph by Jennifer May

Rose Baisley, 100, grew up in a small house in Garnerville that was stuffed with nine children. “A lot of us had to sleep in the same bed,” she says. “There was some scrabbling about that.” She has fond memories of playing baseball with her five brothers and other neighborhood boys (and responds with a hearty affirmative when asked if she ever beat them). Baisley worked on and off from the time she was 16, including a brief stint at Iona Island — which was a naval ammunitions depot — during the Second World War. “My husband had a fit and then I couldn’t stand his bickering so after two weeks I left,” she says with a laugh. She and her mate were childhood sweethearts who met at church — she recalls that they were cast opposite each other as the leading man and lady in a play performed there. The couple had three children, and were married for 39 years until his death in 1974. Baisley remembers technological advances coming slowly. “Growing up we didn’t have electricity or gas. I didn’t have a washing machine until 1935, and I don’t think I went on an airplane until I went to Vegas in my 60s.” The centenarian now resides in Pomona, is an avid fan of the Mets (“although I have been around longer than they have,” she says), and socializes with the Haverstraw Senior Citizens Club. The secret to her long life? “It’s most important to be peaceful and happy,” she says. “You never know when you’re going to go, so you might as well be sociable and kind to everyone while you’re here.”

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