June 05, 2013 - When it comes to reaching the astonishing age of 100 years, there's really no closely-guarded secret or magic elixir.
Oxford resident Mildred Pocock celebrated her 100th birthday on May 31 with a surprise party. Beside her is her daughter Mary Makarewicz. Photo by C.J. Carnacchio. (click for larger version)
Just ask Oxford resident Mildred Pocock, who joined the centenarian club on May 31.
"I've tried to take good care of myself," she said. "You've got to eat right. You've got to keep a positive mind. You've got to say your prayers everyday.
"And you've got to love everybody. We've got to love one another."
It was easy to see that everybody definitely loves Pocock judging by the large number of family members, friends and neighbors who packed the elegant dining room at Independence Village of Waterstone, where she's lived for the last 11 years.
"I can't believe I'm here with all these people celebrating my 100th birthday," said Pocock, who attends Christ the King Church in Oxford Township. "It feels wonderful. It was such a big surprise and they're all such wonderful people."
One hundred years of life have not slowed her quick wit or dulled her sense of humor. She's a very animated conversationalist, extremely personable and loves to keep up with current events.
"People want to be like her," said daughter Mary Makarewicz, of Oxford. "They're like, 'How does she do it?' I get those kind of comments all the time."
Prior to landing in Oxford, Pocock was born in Detroit and graduated from Eastern High School in Detroit.
She spent most of her life in Clinton Township (Macomb County) and later spent time in California.
Pocock dedicated her life to taking care of her husband of 58 years, John J. Pocock, and their four children – Mary, David, Timothy and Claudia.
"I think the most important thing are these beautiful children I have for which I'm thankful," Pocock said. "I have two boys and two girls. I had a wonderful husband. What more can you ask for than that?"
Her family later expanded to include 11 grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren.
One hundred years on this planet has taught Pocock that it's important to "take time" to get to know people because "we're all very important." She encouraged others to "set aside" hard feelings and prejudices. "It goes back to that phrase, 'Love one another,'" Pocock said.
She advised young people reading this story to "be honest" and stay active. Her motto in life has always been "Keep on keeping on."
"She never sat down. She was always a go-getter," said Makarewicz, who noted that at age 87, her mother went hiking in Crater Lake National Park in Oregon.
To say that the world and society are very different from when Pocock was born in 1913 would be an understatement.
But the thing she finds most "baffling" is how common plastic surgery has become, particularly for women.
"They're having things cut off and they're having a lot of things added on," Pocock said. "We joke with one another (about it). We say, 'Wait until you hear what they're going to do to guys.'"
Although she's only spent a little more than a tenth of her life in Oxford, she believes it's "a great place to live because the people here are very loving, kind and good."
"This particular establishment (Independence Village of Waterstone) has been very good to me," Pocock added.
CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.