108 th Birthday Mary Mc Carthy
By Astrid Barnet / Photo: José Tito Meriño
Surprisingly more people are Iiving to one hundred, but it's still startling to reach 108 years old and greet every day with enthusiasm. Such is the case of Canadian Mary McCarthy who has lived in Cuba in the same mansion she and her millionaire husband moved into 63 years ago. She treats us to her experiences.
Peacocks still strut the one-acre garden under royal palm trees and the house is filled with Napoleon III furniture, chandeliers and a Steinway grand piano.
"Barriers of inactivity and lack of motivation have never found a place in my life. I always avoided people with fatalist or depressing moods and welcomed those who, in the face of problems or difficulties, were able to sally forth triumphant."
"As time went by -already living in Cuba- I undertod that life is a succession of challenges that in themselves are the reasons to live it and enjoy it." I met Spanish-born businessman Pedro Gomez Cueto at the opera in Boston and we married and moved to Havana, a booming city at the time.
"In this beautiful island I lived with and loved this people for their great heart, an enviable cultural treasure and an incredible disposition to turn daily economic hardships into a new challenge."
"I lived the best years of my life with my husband Pedro and my second, platonic, love, the writings of National Hero José Martí".
"I had the opportunity to visit many countries and meet important people. I was sure that a healthy youth and adulthood would likewise provide for an old age. I met Pope John Paul, Queen Elizabeth and former Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien as well as former Cuban President Fidel Castro. I have photos with Fidel Castro on my 100th birthday."
"Being a devout Catholic, I have God permanently at my side as well as Marti and this great Cuban people I never separated from. They have all provided great riches in my life. I still enjoy it. Until God tells me."
McCarthy has been confined to a wheelchair since she fell and broke her hip in 2002.
"I was forgetting something. Human beings have the need to provide lots of love to very special people. In my case those people have been: my husband, Pedro, Alexandra Bugailiskis, former Canadian ambassador in Cuba and my godson Elio García."
"To all of them, the best of my love, on my 108th birthday."