In today’s society, it is not often we can say there are ninety-nine year olds still alive and kicking. Literally! In the case of Mrs. Sarah Turner, this is an understatement. A Bronxite for more than sixty-five years, I had the opportunity to chat with Mrs. Turner about what keeps her going, healthy, and active for someone her age.
Migrating from the south, Mrs. Turner settled in the Bronx in her late twenties.
Over the years, Eastchester Gardens has become a predominately Latino and African American neighborhood. She recalls never fearing for her safety or feeling threatened because everyone treated her with the same amount of respect as she treated them. Currently the oldest resident in her Eastchester Garden Community, Mrs. Turner stands strong at five feet and is an avid community activist. She has received a number of awards and has been honored by Council Member Andy King, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz.
Mrs. Turner is an active member of the Burke Avenue Baptist Church and the local senior citizen community center. She also spends her free time at EMPIRE. A bit naive, I felt inclined to ask exactly what “Empire” was and she responded “The Casino! It's right in Yonkers and I take the 20 bus straight there." Alone?
Paul Lamont Turner, one of the youngest of fifteen grandchildren, can attest, stating, "She is too independent and feisty to need help. She's still young at heart."
"I'm just happy I have lived to see three generations of my family; two children, fifteen grandchildren, and lots of great-grands." Mrs. Turner has no regrets about life. She is a vibrant soul who believes everyone should live life to the fullest. Dancing, laughing, loving and being loved are some of the key tools to happiness according to Mrs. Turner. When asked to share one message to our generation, she says "Have faith, that's what it's all about." Her words, simple yet fulfilling, left a lasting impression on me and I hope sharing her story will leave one on you as well.