Advice for living to 105: Eat your vegetables

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 8, 2011

Even though Friday is her “official birthday,” every day is celebration for 105-year-old Agnes Gatlin.

Gatlin, who will be honored with a party at Savannah Terrace at 2 p.m. Friday, said while “things don’t work quite like they should anymore,” she still looks forward to every sunrise – something she attributes to her father’s love of vegetables.

Savannah Terrace Resident Agnes Gatlin will turn 105 years old on Friday. She will be honored with a birthday party at 2 p.m. on Friday. | Stephanie Nelson /Star-News

“My daddy was a hard-working man,” Gatlin said. “He was a farmer. He wanted us to go to college and get an education so we wouldn’t have to work in the hot sun all day.

“Out of us six children, five of us got a degree,” she said. “I plowed a field one time, and that was enough for me.

“Daddy always had something growing,” she said. “We’d finish one thing and they’re would be another to eat right behind it.

“Nowadays, they put all that stuff on your food,” she said. “I think it’s because of my diet that I’ve lived so long. I’ll tell you the secret – it’s vegetables.

“I watch those other people here and it’s sweet, sweet, sweet or salt, salt, salt,” she said. “People, you can’t eat like that.”

Gatlin graduated from Montevallo with a degree in home economics and got a job working for the state health department in 1930.

“I can still remember sitting on the steps of our dorm’s secret stairwell, writing that letter to ask them for a job,” she said.

She retired in 1973 and returned to Andalusia. In 2000, she came to live at Savannah Terrace, a place she now calls “home.”

“It’s funny,” she said. “I used to could do things so easy, but when I reached 100, things that were easy were harder to do. Peculiar, isn’t it? I finally decided that it wasn’t just one thing either, it was all of them.

“I can’t read, can’t watch TV – my eyesight is bad,” she said. “But all that’s OK. God has been so good to me, and I think (a key to living longer) is if you search for His knowledge, He’ll help you.

“Plus, you got to eat right, too,” she said.