ANTHONY D. AGE 94
I was born in Bloomfield NJ and I lived most of my young life there. I went to Bloomfield High School and got a full athletic scholarship to Providence College in Rhode Island. In my junior year the war broke out and of course I went into the service. When I got out, I realized I had enough credits to go into law school, so that is what I did. I worked as a general lawyer from 1949 through about 1985. I was married, and I have three children. We lived in Verona, NJ for 40 odd years.
I think I have had a very good and lucky life. I have been very fortunate to not have the ailments I see so many others have. Even within my family my only sister was paralyzed when she was 20 years old and lived that way for 20 more years. I was in the service at the time. I learned that she had become ill and they gave her a spinal tap, which caused the paralysis. She had to live with my parents. We took away our dining room furniture and put in a hospital bed. That is where she lived.
I came to this independent living residence after my wife died. I am
going on my 11th year now, and enjoy living here very much. I take part
in many of the activities that are here, and I read a lot, particularly
mysteries, but I will read anything involving politics. In fact I was
on the Verona council for two three-year terms. It was a really great
experience. I was on the public affairs committee and I was the chairman
when we built the Verona pool.
I am really lucky--to be 94 and get around the way I do; sometimes I wonder why. A good many of my friends are gone. We used to have a poker club and every couple of weeks we would meet at each others home. Afterwards we would have coffee and BS sessions. It would last for hours. But I have the ability to make friends easily. I enjoy people. I enjoy listening to them. I think one of the important things to do is listen once in a while so you can learn something.
Looking back, would I have done anything differently? Well, I didnt do that much studying in high school or college. I really didnt buckle down until I got into the service. After the war broke out I was sent to Hawaii three months after Pearl Harbor. After spending 3 ½ years there, I lost a brother in Italy. He was my only brother. I would like to go and see where he lost his life. That is one thing I regret not having done.
Most important to me now is to live a life where if I can be of any assistance to anybody I want to do so. I want to live a good Christian life; perhaps better than I did earlier--not that I did anything so terribly wrong. But just to live a good healthy life and to have the strength and courage to deal with anything that is not positive.
My religious beliefs have gotten stronger. I have a better understanding of it now. I watch more religious activities on TV and I read more religious books and things of that nature. As for my political views, I am pretty conservative and that has not changed.
How does the world seem to me now as opposed to years ago? When I was a young boy and I first got a radio, I would stick my head under the radio and listen all day. But it seems to me the same things that were going on then in different countries are still going on. I dont think the world has changed one single bit, except I think we live in a more dangerous world by reason of nuclear capabilities and things of that nature.
The most startling change I have seen in my lifetime is the way information is available to everybody; the technology is phenomenal. How can you deny the excellence of all the information you get? About three or four years ago my daughter gave me a computer, but I wasnt sure I wanted it because it involved perhaps something that I couldnt operate. In fact my grandson said to his mother, what are you going to give a 90-year old guy a computer for? And that sort of did it. I was at the time happy that I didnt have to learn to use it, but now it is one of my big disappointments.
An important thing I have learned in my lifetime is that you have to be more tolerant and respectful of everybody. Whether they are black or brown or whatever, you have to learn to respect them. The advice I would give to a young person today is to get the very best education you can get and of course use it in the best manner you can to help yourself and other people.
Interview conducted by New Jersey artist Janet Boltax for this exhibition.