Anita Maile, 90 years young


1. What is your earliest memory?
It was during the depression and I was about 3 years old. I grew up in Germany and my mother cleaned apartments. I went along with her and the gentleman that lived there had a piano. I was so fascinated by the piano as it was the first one I had ever seen. The nice gentleman sat me on his lap and helped teach me to play and I will always remember that.

2. What was your first job?
I was an assistant clerk in a bookstore. I was allowed to handle the money and that was a big deal! It showed that I was trustworthy.

3. What was the weirdest fad you remember?
We didn’t have trends growing up! I grew up during the War in Germany and we were just trying to live. When I moved to America in the 1960’s, I remember seeing a Mohawk for the first time. We did not have crazy hairdos like that!

4. What life advice would you like to pass along?
This is good advice from infants to old age. Keep going mentally. It is important to keep educating yourself and watch what is going on in life and the world. Take care of yourself and your family, and do it with compassion.

5. What moments in your life are you most proud of?
I have been able to overcome insecurities and improve my language skills. I had 4 years of English before moving to America and I knew that I needed to be fluent. I was determined, but believe it or not I used to be shy because I was scared I would make a mistake.

6. How would you say your dreams and goals have changed throughout your life?
In Germany, I was a professional and worked very hard. I did not intend to marry and have children back then. My goals changed when I moved to America, got married, and had 2 children. It became important to me to establish security as a family. I changed to the organizer and had to hold the family together. My husband was in the military and we moved 12 times in 14 years, so I needed to be there for my children.

7. What invention from your lifetime are you most amazed by?
Definitely the computer. It’s overwhelming and efficient, but in my opinion it is not good because people get so dependent on them and forget to think for themselves.

8. What do you remember most about your grandparents? What were they like?
I absolutely loved my great grandfather and he was a huge influence on me. He was fabulous and ahead of his time, but also tough as nails. He was my encouragement and my guide. He was a businessman and loved to work. He taught me to do the best job you can and to be proud of your work. He lived in the country and was very well respected by everyone far and near.

9. What is your magic potion for staying healthy? What would you attribute your longevity to?
I’m tough and I don’t give in. It is important to work hard physically. I work on everything I can handle. I cook, have a large garden, and clean my own house. Stay physically and mentally active because your body is made to live.

10. If you could go back in time to be any age again, what would it be and why?
One cannot go back in time, but these are my most important memories. I was very happy when my children were born. It felt to me like a fulfillment as a wife and a woman. When I was accepted and became a citizen of this great nation, I was proud and thankful. When my children grew up and became more and more independent, I returned to work full time, enrolled in college, and finished with a business degree. This encouraged me to be competitive and progress in the business world.

10. What are the most rewarding things about getting older?
Learning to understand people and know how to react to them accordingly. The longer you live you should be more understanding, but it’s not possible all the time!

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