By Elsa Maxey
Ellen Hunt of Sugar Land just celebrated her 101 birthday this month. That means she was born in 1910, more specifically, on April 12. Her whole name, she said, is Ellen Corrigan Cunningham Hunt, a name befitting someone who’s lived over that century mark. Born in Lasco, Scotland, which she has visited three times since her birth, Hunt has lived in Sugar Land for the past 18 years arriving here by way of Massachusetts, New York City, and then Florida. Right now, she’s at Atria Senior Living staying up with current events and offering her opinions about them. But on the week of her birthday, she took a moment to go down memory lane only when asked to share those memories, because she’s about living in today’s world. Just ask her about TV’s Dr. Rosenthal, whose show she recommends, and the advice he has to offer.
Widowed after having married to Bill, her husband, in 1936, she said that one thing she would change about her life upon looking back would be the time of her wedding, from 6:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. and she’d make it less formal, so pay attention, girls.
Did she ever think she was going to get to be 101 years old? You guessed it. No, and she doesn’t have a secret for living as long as she has, except to say that you get to live to be 99 and then you have to be very careful. Good genes, she suspects, but she never smoked nor drank alcohol, not even wine. These days, though, she may be thinking about the possibility of a glass of red wine each day, because Dr. Rosenthal recommends it. She been using a wheel chair, but only since January, she said.
As for the state of the country, she said she’s sad and wonders where the jobs are, like during the time she worked in the 1930’s. She has doubts they will be here again because “they’re going to other countries.” She says she wants to yell at the congressional policy makers to get them to get along and negotiate. They act “like a bunch of babies,” said Hunt, and her advice to them–“Stop spending, the nation’s economy is very much like a household budget.”
When Hunt worked, she made “a lot of money” as the executive secretary to the treasurer of a company and she even had her own office. Forty-five to $50 a week was a lot in the thirties. She’s also accomplished when it comes to music. In the 1950’s, she sang in a choir and was paid as a soprano soloist. Known to be an avid reader, she knits and does it for charity projects, like those caps that go to premature babies and the linings used in soldiers’ helmets.
Reflecting over the moments she shared, “I’ve been very lucky all my life,” she said. For her birthday, she received several beautiful floral arrangements, evidence of her disposition. She says one of the best gifts she’s had is the attention from a special couple, Lee and David Burns, a noble daughter and son-in-law, who also live in Sugar Land. “He even files my tax returns,” she said.
“She’s delightful,” says Jane Wagennar of Atria about Hunt, who kiddingly was told by Hunt that she’s lived on butter and never exercised. “I guess it’s not every day someone turns this old and lives to talk about it,” said Wagennar, and so intelligently.
This 101 year old local resident has 2 daughters, three grandchildren, and three great grandchildren. Her parting words after the interview, “see you next year!”