May 14th was my mother’s birthday. Were she still living, she would be 105 years old. That sounds ancient to me, yet my husband’s mother recently turned 100 and remains strong physically. My growing-up neighbor in my old home town is 107. She doesn’t hear or see well but is able to live on her own with occasional help from a niece who lives next door. I heard last week from a high school friend who reported that his 108 year old cousin is alert and entertaining, a delight to be around. They grew up in a time when women were mostly expected to stay at home as wives and mothers. They worked hard, using old wringer-style washing machines and hung clothes on a line outside to dry. They ironed. They took care of houses full of kids and washed dishes by hand. They cooked from scratch, sometimes elaborate meals for huge families. Some of them worked outside the home — because of financial need, because they possessed a skill essential in some way, or because of a desire to accomplish something different in their lives. They stepped into traditional men’s jobs when the world was at war. They did what needed to be done. There are a lot of centenarian women these days — and girls, you rock!