Bernice Harris, 92 years young


1. What is your earliest memory?
I was 4 years old and I know it to be true because my younger brother and I are 4 years apart and he was just a baby. Well, my dad’s mother rode in the car with us and he sat next to my dad on that drive and it was my turn. I remember getting all worked up because it was my turn and I had been skipped and it didn’t seem like it was a big deal to anyone else, but to my little 4 year old self it was a big deal.

2. What was your first job?
My mother was a telephone operator in Manhattan for King Features Syndicator, and she got me a job working as kind of an errand girl getting coffee, sorting mail and distributing it, etc… I was no older than 16 or 17. I loved it!

3. What was the weirdest fad you remember?
I think it was around the late 1940’s, maybe 1947 or ‘48 I purchased these what felt like rubber panty hose and a girdle. It was a fad and I was young impressionable, I tried it and hated it. It was so uncomfortable, made you sweaty, just terrible.

4. What life advice would you pass along?
I think that people should be more eloquent, crude words seemed to be used like everyday language nowadays and that is not how we should talk to each other. That is not how we should represent ourselves and our families. We can do better as a society.

5. What moments in your life are you most proud of?
I started ice skating at the age of 60. My husband and I took advantage of the free classes at Sertich Ice Rink here in town. Then we took the lessons that the Broadmoor offered and competed together. Those are great memories.

6. What invention from your lifetime are you most amazed by?
The computer is just fascinating! In college everything was hand written and by my senior year it was common that everyone used a typewriter.

7. What is your magic potion for staying healthy? What would you attribute your longevity to?
Volunteering and giving to others. Everything you put into your volunteering experience, you get it back 10 fold. I think that everyone has something to share and to give, whether it’s your time, finances, a skill, what have you. Sharing with your community is important.

8. If you could back in time to be any age again, what would it be and why?
I would love to be 30-35 years of age again. Especially if I could take my knowledge of what I’ve learned with me for my redo. I love my husband and how we met and our love story and I wouldn’t want any of that to change, it was wonderful, he was wonderful. I think I would just make a few different choices along the way, more informed choices.

9. Who influenced you the most?
My husband without a doubt, we were married for 62 beautiful years. I met him when I was a young woman at 17 and married him at 21. He was so smart, that was the most attractive thing about him to me, he was impressively smart. He gave so much structure to my life that I needed, especially when I was young and really was grateful for that.

10. What are the most rewarding things about getting older?
How much you can learn and share. Never put a cap on yourself. Age doesn’t have to be defining in a negative way. I want to be a lifelong student, learning from others and growing more into myself.

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