SCHENECTADY, N.Y. – On Saturday, Schenectady celebrated a woman who has watched the city grow throughout the past century.
Jane Marotta, a life-long Schenectady resident, turned one hundred years old, surrounded by friends and family.
“I'm overwhelmed,” said Jane of the bustling crowd gathered in her honor. “I'm so happy.”
Jane says she is the only one hundred year old person she knows.
An aquatics classmate of Jane's, Cheryl Pollock, calls Jane a ‘positive, intelligent, appreciative and happy person,' with an incredible memory for dates, times and places.
Jane still swims around three days a week, saying that being in the water makes her feel healthy and good.
During the winter of 1913 Jane was brought into the world by a midwife in her family's home. She spent nearly her entire life in this same home, moving away only one year ago.
Jane recalls her family as ‘close-knit,' composed of herself, her parents, a brother and two sisters. They attended church together each week in a warm, bumbling group. On holiday mornings, Jane's mother would wake early, rising with the first light of sun to make her way to the kitchen; she cooked all her meals from scratch, using the barest ingredients.
Jane graduated from Schenectady High School and began working at Ellis Hospital the following year, where she was hired as secretary to the director of nursing. She had never been trained in secretarial work, and felt lucky to have her boss, who was gracious and patient during training.
In 1978, she eventually retired, after familial coercion, and despite her eagerness to continue work.
After retiring, Jane, along with one of her unmarried sisters, began to journey the world. Together they visited every country in Europe.
“Look at you, aren't you gorgeous,” coos a friend of Jane's before leaning down to kiss her and wish her a happy birthday.
“Oh, you're so good to say that,” coos Jane happily in return, beaming.
When asked how she has managed to live so long, Jane responds: ‘a clean, simple life, and one Manhattan each day at 4:00 p.m.'