100-year-old celebrates 25th birthday

    Philadelphia native Mary Zajkowski was born Feb. 29, 1912. She celebrated her 100th year and 25th birthday Wednesday at the retirement community in Frederick, Montgomery County, where she now lives.

    Twenty-five candles or 100?

    Philadelphia native Mary Zajkowski was born Feb. 29, 1912. She celebrated her 100th year and 25th birthday Wednesday at the retirement community in Frederick, Montgomery County, where she now lives.

    Growing up, Zajkowski says, her family didn’t always make special arrangements to celebrate her birthday during non-leap years.

    “They forgot. They said I didn’t have a birthday — and I didn’t!” she says.

    As Zajkowski and her twin sister, Stella, got older, they would celebrate all through February with dinner dates, leap year or not.

    To mark 100 years, friends and employees at the Frederick Living retirement home in Montgomery County stopped by to wish her well. Some gave her cards that said “Happy 25th birthday.”

    After her brother and sisters passed away, Zajkowski is the only surviving sibling in her family. Her husband died in 1954, and she never remarried. She has a son, four grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.

    Staying active has contributed to her longevity, she said.

    “I like gardening, raising flowers, and I always like to learn something new to do,” Zajkowski said. “I always kept busy. Never sit too much, just keep busy, and that’s how you last.”

    Zajkowski also enjoys having a cup of coffee with Frederick Living employee Emily Messner — even though she was told not to have coffee in her previous retirement home. Zajkowski said she started sneaking a cup of coffee, and it tasted so good she decided to have a cup on occasion.

    “I figure, at this age, it don’t hurt to have something that you want while you’re here, is that right?” she says.

    Zajkowski and her family will celebrate the milestone birthday with kielbasa and sauerkraut, her favorite foods.

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