By Elizabeth Greenberg | NB Indy
In the year 1908, a gallon of gas cost about 20 cents. It was the first time a ball was dropped in Times Square to signify the new year. The Wright brothers took their first passenger up in the air on one of their planes.
This is also the year that Corona del Mar resident Eva Parsons was born.
She celebrated her 105th birthday on July 28, and is still going strong.
“I’m an old lady when I wake up,” Parsons said, “but I’m healthy as I’ll get out.”
Born in Lancing, Mich., and later raised in Rockford, Ill., Parsons quit school when she was 16 to help her family around the house. When her father got a new job in 1925, her family relocated to California and she went back to school.
Her earliest memory of an election was from when she was 8. Though Parsons can’t remember the name of the man her immigrant father voted for, she remembers spelling his name on the sidewalk with chalk.
When she was 19, Parsons married her husband, Lewis, and together they bought their first car.
The couple traveled a lot, mostly to the East Coast because that is where her husband was from. But through all her travels, the farmland has stuck with her the most.
“I always wished I would [have been] born on a farm,” Parsons recalled, “To be out in the open. But we always lived in the city.”
Now, Eva Parsons lives with her son, Richard, and near her other son, Del. She tries to stay healthy by walking to the Oasis Senior Center twice a week for an exercise class. When she was 100, she even walked the Corona del Mar Scenic 5k marathon.
“I do the same thing people much younger than me do,” she mused, “which is always good for me.”
Besides exercise, Parsons has always tried to eat simply and healthy.
“I’ve always felt that I’ve been healthy,” she said, “Never had to worry where the food came from.”
She eats cold cereal for breakfast, does not drink coffee or tea, and never drinks alcohol.
“When I was little, my mother and aunt would drink coffee and told me I could drink it when I got older,” she said. “When I got older, I didn’t like the taste.”
In her spare time, Parsons likes to listen to people read her books. Her eyesight and hearing are poor, but she said that without the books she would have nothing to do.
Parsons has been a member of P.E.O. for 38 years, and hosts chapter meetings in her home once a year. Her chapter sisters affectionately call her “Aunt Eva.” She celebrated her birthday with them this year at Strawberry Farms in Irvine.
Parsons is very grateful for her life, her two sons, and her health. She tries to stay active in church, and spend time with her family.
Being the eldest sibling by 15 years, Parsons has outlived all of them. She “looks forward to seeing them in heaven,” along with her husband, whom she lost 22 years ago.
“The happiest day was when there was peace after World War II,” Parsons stated, “and the saddest day was when [I] lost my husband. We were very close together, and I’m just waiting to see him again.”